David West knows how to get the most, whether it's points on the court or votes off of it. He became the first Xavier player to earn Associated Press all-American honors yesterday as the leading vote-getter on the 2002-03 team.
The three-time Atlantic 10 player of the year was joined on the first team by fellow seniors Nick Collison of Kansas and Josh Howard of Wake Forest, along with junior Dwyane Wade of Marquette and sophomore T.J. Ford of Texas.
Collison, Wade and Ford will play Saturday in the Final Four.
West's most remarkable performance came against Dayton on Feb. 8, when he scored 47 points and had 18 rebounds, just missing a double-double in each half.
West, the only preseason all-American to earn the postseason honor, received 64 first-team votes and 344 points from the 72-member national media panel that selects the weekly AP top 25. Each voter picked three teams and players received points on a 5-3-1 basis. The voting was done before the NCAA tournament.
The 5-foot-10 Ford averaged 15.0 points and 7.5 assists to lead the Longhorns to a No. 1 seed in the tournament, and then to the Final Four, the school's first since 1947. An honorable mention pick as a freshman, Ford became the first Texas player to be selected for the first team since Chris Mihm in 2000.
Howard was the ACC's player of the year, averaging 20 points and 8.1 rebounds to lead the Demon Deacons to their first outright regular season league championship in 41 years and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. The 6-6 forward received 47 first-team votes and 303 points to become the first Wake Forest all-American since Tim Duncan in 1997.
Collison gives Kansas an all-American for the second straight year (Drew Gooden was selected in 2002 as a junior). The 6-9 Collison averaged 18.4 points and 9.3 rebounds, helping the Jayhawks win the Big 12 regular season title, and earn a No. 2 seed in the tournament and a second straight Final Four appearance.
Wade was the first Marquette player to make the first team since Butch Lee in 1978. The 6-4 Wade averaged 21.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists to lead the Golden Eagles to the Conference USA championship, and then to the school's first Final Four since coach Al McGuire's team won the national title in 1977.