Basketball Times Honors Stepp
March 24, 2004
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The honors continue to roll in for Gonzaga senior guard Blake Stepp.
The Eugene, Ore., native was named to the Basketball Times All-America third team on Wednesday. It was his the third All-America honor for the two-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year. He was named to the Associated Press All-America second team on Tuesday, and earlier in the month had been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-America second team.
Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph's was honored as the Basketball Times Player of the Year and Stanford's Mike Montgomery as its 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.
Basketball Times' second All-America team consists of Wisconsin point guard Devin Harris, North Carolina wing Rashad McCants, Providence forward Ryan Gomes, Mississippi State forward Lawrence Roberts and Brigham Young center Rafael Araujo.
Joining Stepp on the third team were guard Julius Hodge of North Carolina State, 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.
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