Brand Named Unanimous All-America Selection
March 9, 1999
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Elton Brand, who missed almost half his freshman season with a broken foot, became a year later the only unanimous choice on the 1998-99 Associated Press All-America team.
Duke's 6-foot-8 sophomore center was joined Monday on the first team by junior forward Richard Hamilton of Connecticut and senior guards Andre Miller of Utah and Jason Terry of Arizona, and junior guard Mateen Cleaves of Michigan State.
Brand, who averaged 17.8 points and 9.8 rebounds for the top-ranked Blue Devils, was named on all 72 first-team ballots by the national media panel to become the fourth unanimous selection of the '90s. The others were Christian Laettner of Duke in 1992, Glenn Robinson of Purdue in 1994 and Tim Duncan of Wake Forest in 1997.
"It's unbelievable. I'm just elated right now. Just to have been considered for a position of first-team All-America is a special, special honor," said Brand, who shot 62 percent from the field. "I knew I worked hard, and the hard work paid off. Growing up it's one of the things you definitely dream of. I'm definitely a team person and the individual accolades come when the team wins."
Brand was an honorable mention All-America last season despite missing 15 games with the injury, but he showed he was healed this summer when he led the U.S. team in the Goodwill Games in scoring and rebounding.
Miller was the second-leading vote-getter in the 5-3-1 process, getting 330 points with 60 first-team votes. The Western Athletic Conference player of the year averaged 15.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.5 steals, and the 6-2 guard was given more credit for his team leadership than statistics.
"It's a real honor. I can't take the credit myself because we have a great team and they deserve the award also," said Miller, an honorable mention last season when the Utes reached the Final Four. "It makes being a leader easy when you have a team like we have."
Hamilton, who won or shared Big East player of the year honors the last two seasons, averaged 21.0 points and 4.8 rebounds this season for the Huskies who were ranked No. 1 for 10 weeks. The 6-6 swingman, the leading vote-getter on the second team last season, had 48 first-team votes and 300 points this season.
"He's worked hard at expanding his total game, and has become one of the top collegiate players in the nation," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "Last year, he just missed being a first-team selection and this year has rightfully earned his spot among the top five players in college basketball."
Terry, 6-2, becomes the third Wildcat to earn All-America honors in the last two years. Former teammates Mike Bibby and Miles Simon were chosen last season.
Terry, the Pac-10 player of the year, led the league in scoring (22.1), assists (5.6) and steals (2.7) the first player to do that since Gary Payton of Oregon State in 1989-90.
"There is no one more deserving for this honor because of what he has had to go through, in that he has had to provide leadership to the three freshmen in our starting lineup," Arizona coach Lute Olson said.
Terry got 48 first-team votes and 293 points, 83 more than Cleaves, who was on 19 first-team ballots.
Cleaves, 6-2, was a second-team choice last season and was named Big Ten player of the year by the league's coaches for the second straight year. He averaged 11.8 points and 7.2 assists as the Spartans won their second straight Big Ten regular-season title.
"I've got to give a lot of credit to my teammates," he said. "If we wouldn't have won a championship, I wouldn't have earned this."
The second team was senior center Evan Eschmeyer of Northwestern, who had one point less than Cleaves, Chris Porter of Auburn, Wally Szczerbiak of Miami of Ohio, Steve Francis of Maryland and Trajan Langdon of Duke, a third-team choice last season.
The third team was Tim James of Miami, Baron Davis of UCLA, Scoonie Penn of Ohio State, Quincy Lewis of Minnesota and Ron Artest of St. John's.
Terry was the only first-team choice who wasn't on the preseason All-America team. TCU's Lee Nailon was the fifth member of the preseason team.
1998-99 All-America Basketball Team
By The Associated Press