Beasley named a Wooden All-American

LOS ANGELES, Calif. Freshman forward Michael Beasley was selected to the 10-member 2008 John R. Wooden Award All-America team on Tuesday and was named one of five finalists for the prestigious John R. Wooden Player of the Year Award, which will be given out on April 11 at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.  

 

Beasley was joined on the 10-member All-America squad by Texas’ D.J. Augustin, Davidson’s Stephen Curry, Memphis’ Chris Douglas-Roberts, North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough, Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody, Tennessee’s Chris Lofton, UCLA’s Kevin Love, Memphis’ Derrick Rose and Kansas’ Brandon Rush.  He was selected as one of five finalists for the organization’s Player of the Year Award, along with Augustin, Curry, Hansbrough and Love, and will join the group in Los Angeles for the Wooden Award Gala to be held Friday, April 11 at the Los Angeles Downtown Sheraton Hotel.

 

The group was selected by a panel of more than 1,000 voters, comprised of sports media members and college basketball experts from around the nation, and took into account the player’s performance during the regular season and postseason, his character and academic performance.

 

Beasley is the first Kansas State player to earn recognition from the Wooden Award, which was created in 1976 for the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his university that he is make progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA.  Previous winners include Larry Bird (1979), Michael Jordan (1984) and last year’s receipent, Kevin Durant

 

On Monday, Beasley joined Bob Boozer (1959) as the only players in Kansas State history to earn first team All-America honors from The Associated Press.  He was one of two unanimous selections to the All-America team, joining Hansbrough.  Overall, he is just the fifth player in school history to earn recognition to any of organization’s three All-America teams.

 

The honor was one of many that continue to roll in for the freshman who is already the first player in Kansas State history to earn a National Player of the Year award.  In addition to earning Player of the Year accolades from both CBS Sports.com and Rivals.com, Beasley was recently named one of four finalists for the 2008 Naismith Player of the Year Award presented by AT&T and the Atlanta Tipoff Club.  He, along with fellow finalists Douglas-Roberts, Hansbrough and Love, will travel to the Final Four, where the trophy will be presented on Sunday, April 6 at the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Guardians of the Game awards program. 

 

In addition to his National Player of the Year awards, Beasley has been named National Freshman of the Year by five organizations, including CBS Sports.com, Rivals.com, CollegeHoops.net, The Sporting News and U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).  He has also been selected a first team All-American by numerous outlets, including CBS Sports.com, Dick Vitale, ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and U.S. Basketball Writers Association.  In addition, he was chosen as a first team Freshman All-American by CBS Sports.com and Rivals.com, while teammate Bill Walker was announced to CBS Sports.com’s Freshman All-America third team.

 

The former No. 1 high school recruit posted one of the greatest seasons by freshman in NCAA history, as Beasley averaged 26.2 points on 53.2 percent shooting (307-of-577), including 37.9 percent from 3-point range, with 12.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.2 assists in 31.5 minutes per game this season.  He posted the second-most rebounds (408) by a freshman in NCAA history, trailing just the record of 462 set by Nevada’s Pete Padgett in 1972-73, while he collected the third-most points (866) by a freshman behind LSU’s Chris Jackson (965; 1988-89) and Texas’ Kevin Durant (903; 2006-07).  As of the last NCAA ranking, he still was rated among the top-5 in the nation in both scoring (third) and rebounding (first).  He leads the nation in five categories, including double-doubles (28), 40-point games (three), 30-point games (13), 20-point, 10-rebound games (23) and 30-point, 10-rebound games (13).  He is just the 11th player in NCAA Division I history to post 28 or more double-doubles in a season and the first since Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan collected 29 during the 1996-97 season.     

 

Beasley already holds 30 Kansas State career, single-season and freshman records as well as 17 Big 12 single-game and single-season marks.  He is both the school’s and conference’s all-time single-season leader in scoring average (26.2 ppg.) and double-doubles (28), while he owns school single-season marks for points (866), rebounds (408), most 30-point games (13), most 20-point games (26), field goals made (307), free throws made (216) and free throws attempted (279). 

 

Beasley and company helped Kansas State post a 21-12 overall record in 2007-08, including a third-place finish in the Big 12 with a 10-6 mark.  The Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly 12 years and captured its first NCAA Tournament win since 1988 with their 80-67 victory over USC in the first round of the Midwest Regional in Omaha, Neb., on March 20.  The team has now posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years, while the 10 conference wins tie the 2006-07 squad for the best league record in the Big 12 era.  The third-place finish is the best since the inception of the Big 12 and the highest since the 1988-89 team finished third in the Big Eight.