One of the nation's top players this year, Rafael Araujo was a second-team All-America selection by Basketball Times. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
Senior Recognized as No. 2 Center after Connecticut's Omeka Okafor
PROVO -- BYU senior Rafael Araujo has been named to the Basketball Times All-America Second Team, the monthly magazine announced Wednesday.
Regarded as the nation's No. 2 center by Basketball Times, Araujo earned second-team honors while Connecticut center Omeka Okafor received first-team accolades and Duke center Shelden Williams was selected to the third team.
Araujo led the Cougars in scoring this season at 18.4 points per game and pulled down a team-leading 10.1 boards per game, which ranks 11th nationally. He has the fourth highest combined points and rebounds averages in the nation this year.
The MWC Co-Player of the Year, Araujo also topped BYU in steals (1.4 spg) and blocks (0.8 bpg) and led all MWC players in steals in league action. The 6-foot-11 280-pound native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, recorded 16 double-doubles games, the fifth best single-season total all-time at BYU, while leading the Cougars to a 21-9 record and their second straight at-large NCAA Tournament berth.
Araujo is joined on the second team by Wisconsin point guard Devin Harris, North Carolina wing Rashad McCants, Providence forward Ryan Gomes, and Mississippi State forward Lawrence Roberts.
Basketball Times honored Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph's as Player of the Year and Stanford's Mike Montgomery as Coach of the Year.
Nelson and Montgomery were part of magical seasons that took unbeaten teams into the final week of the regular season. Nelson's Hawks became the first team to finish a regular season unbeaten since Nevada-Las Vegas in 1991. Montgomery's Cardinal was 26-0 going into its final regular-season game despite being without All-America forward Josh Childress for nine games and starting power forward Justin Davis for another 10. Montgomery also was named BT's national coach of the year in 2000.
Nelson, a 5-foot-11 point guard, retuned for his senior season after testing the NBA draft last summer and averaged 20.2 points and 5.2 assists per game.
Nelson is joined on BT's All-America first team by teammate Delonte West, Stanford's Childress, Oregon forward Luke Jackson and Connecticut center Emeka Okafor.
Okafor, a 6-10 junior, would have been a consensus player of the year if not for Nelson. Okafor also had an outstanding season, adding an offensive game of 18.8 ppg to an already impressive career as a rebounder (11.7 per game) and shot-blocker (4.3).
West, a 6-4 junior, shot better than 50 percent and averaged 4.8 assists -- remarkable figures for an off guard -- while averaging 18.8 points for the Hawks.
Childress, a 6-8 junior, edged Jackson, a 6-7 senior, as the Pacific 10 Conference's Player of the Year. Childress averaged 15.7 points and 7.5 rebounds. Jackson averaged 21.8 points and 7.3 rebounds.
The third team includes guards Julius Hodge of North Carolina State and Blake Stepp of Gonzaga, forwards Francisco Garcia of Louisville and Curtis Withers of Charlotte and Duke center Shelden Williams.
Chris Paul of Wake Forest was named Freshman of the Year and was joined on the All-Freshman first team by Sean Banks of Memphis, Luol Deng of Duke, Kris Humphries of Minnesota and Curtis Stinson of Iowa State. Steve Hawkins of Western Michigan was named Rookie Coach of the Year.
Araujo is the 19th Cougar basketball player to earn All-America honors and the first since 2001 when Mekeli Wesley earned Associated Press honorable mention honors. Araujo was also named an honorable mention AP selection Tuesday, as Okafor was the only center selected to the three AP teams.
In addition to being named MWC Co-Player of the Year, Araujo was earlier named to the USBWA District 8 Team and NABC District 13 First Team while being listed as a Wooden Award candidate. He was named MWC Player of the Week three times this season. He recorded career highs of 32 points and 17 rebounds in BYU's win over now No. 3 Oklahoma State and finished his season with 24 points and 12 rebounds against defending national champion Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
For further comment on Basketball Times' All-America teams, contact Managing Editor John Akers at 612-825-6378. Readers can subscribe to Basketball Times or purchase the April honors issue by going to www.basketballtimes.com or by calling 910-295-5559.