Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shabazz Napier, Amida Brimah Honored by AAC

The AAC's all-conference teams and all-rookie team (or, as I like to call them, almost exact replicas of my predictions on Sunday) were released Tuesday morning. Shabazz Napier was a unanimous first-team all-conference pick, while Amida Brimah made the all-rookie team.

2014 American Athletic Conference All-Conference First Team
Sean Kilpatrick, G, Cincinnati *
Shabazz Napier, G, UConn *
Montrezl Harrell, F, Louisville
Russ Smith, G, Louisville *
Nic Moore, G, SMU
2014 American Athletic Conference All-Conference Second Team
Isaiah Sykes, G, UCF
Justin Jackson, F, Cincinnati
TaShawn Thomas, F, Houston
Shaq Goodwin, F, Memphis
Joe Jackson, G, Memphis
Markus Kennedy, F, SMU

2014 American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team
Amida Brimah, C, UConn
Terry Rozier, G, Louisville
Austin Nichols, F, Memphis *
John Egbunu, C, USF
Chris Perry, F, USF

The conference’s major individual awards – Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Coach of the Year, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man Award and Sportsmanship Award – will be presented at Wednesday’s awards luncheon at the Gibson Guitar Factory in advance of the first American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship.

Napier could win Player of the Year. Or he may not. Or maybe he'll share it with Kilpatrick and/or Smith. I feel Napier should win at least a share of the award, but Napier himself isn't worrying about it.

“I don’t care. I’m more vested in winning championships," he said. "I’m not into individual awards. I’d rather win a championship.”

When it was pointed out that Kemba Walker didn't win Big East Player of the Year, Napier pointed out, “They gave it to Jimmer (Fredette) that year. Kemba was happy to have a championship that Jimmer doesn’t have. It’s OK.”

He was referring to national Player of the Year, of course. But point well-taken. And, it should be noted, that Ben Hansborough did win Big East Player of the Year over Walker in 2011.

Who would Napier vote for?

“It’s definitely up in the air. I think Sean Kilpatrick definitely played well. But he had a lot of help with Justin Jackson. Russ Smith definitely played well, Nic Moore as well. He definitely turned that team around. Different individuals. The big thing is consistency.”

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