The Associated Press' men's All-America First Team has a distinct Big Ten flavor this year.
The AP named three players from the conference—Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis, Iowa forward Keegan Murray and Illinois center Kofi Cockburn—as first-team selections Tuesday. They joined Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe and Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji.
"I've had to learn from a lot of guys last year just what it takes to be great at this level," said Murray, who is fourth in the nation this season in scoring (23.6 PPG). "I mean, it's kind of like everything just got put together for me, just all the hard work that we put in."
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Joined NBA Today this afternoon to break down some of the top NBA prospects in the NCAA Tournament. Who is the best player in the Big Dance? Iowa forward Keegan Murray, who is making a push for consideration in the top-3 with his play as of late. <a href="https://t.co/iKjnjshwYU">pic.twitter.com/iKjnjshwYU</a>
Cockburn (21.1 PPG) was 12th in the nation in scoring, while Agbaji and Davis tied for 24th at 19.7 points per contest.
Tshiebwe, meanwhile, is the front-runner to be named the Player of the Year after the junior averaged 17.0 points, 15.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks per game for the 26-7 Wildcats, shooting 60.2 percent from the field.
"I just spend more time to do better the things that I'm able to do, like the rebounding and running the floor," Tshiebwe told the AP on Monday. "The rest of the things are coming. ... My offense is getting better, my passing ability's getting better. It's about doing what you do best, [and] keep getting better."
All five first-teamers led their respective squads to this year's NCAA tournament. Kansas is a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, Kentucky is a No. 2 seed in the East, Wisconsin is a No. 3 seed in the Midwest, Illinois is a No. 4 seed in the South and Iowa is a No. 5 seed in the Midwest.
A pair of Gonzaga big men—Drew Timme and freshman phenom Chet Holmgren—highlighted the second team. They were joined by a pair of future top-five picks in the NBA draft, Purdue's Jaden Ivey and Auburn's Jabari Smith, along with Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin.
Duke's Paolo Banchero, Villanova's Collin Gillespie, Ohio State's E.J. Liddell and Auburn's Walker Kessler made up the first four spots on the third team. The fifth spot was a tie between Baylor's James Akinjo and Arkansas' JD Notae.
David Roddy of Colorado State, Armando Bacot of North Carolina, Johnny Juzang of UCLA, Alondes Williams of Wake Forest, Tari Eason of LSU, Zach Edey of Purdue, Max Abmas of Oral Roberts and Ron Harper Jr. of Rutgers were honorable mentions.