Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura makes AP All-America second team, Brandon Clarke on third team

By Jim Meehan

The Spokesman-Review

There’s another Gonzaga streak that doesn’t receive as much attention as the program’s 21 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 straight opening-round wins and five Sweet 16s in a row.

Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura was named to the AP All-America second team and teammate Brandon Clarke earned third-team honors. It marked the fifth straight year and sixth in the last seven that Gonzaga has had at least one player earn AP recognition.

The 6-foot-8 Hachimura led the Zags with a 19.7 scoring average and was second in rebounding at 6.5. The junior forward from Japan made 59 percent of his shots, including 41.7 beyond the 3-point line, and 74 percent of his free throws.

Clarke averaged 16.9 points and 8.6 boards. The 6-8 junior forward led the nation in field-goal percentage (68.7) and total blocks (117). He was third on the team in assists (70) and steals (43).

First-team selections were Tennessee’s Grant Williams, Murray State’s Ja Morant, Michigan State’s Cassius Winston, and Duke’s RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson. The two Blue Devils become the second first-team freshmen duo from the same team, joining Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall in 2010.

Williamson was the lone unanimous selection in the voting of 64 media members.

Hachimura was sixth in voting with 207 points. Winston filled the final spot on the first team with 268 points.

Hachimura was joined on the second team by Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Marquette’s Markus Howard, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Purdue’s Carsen Edwards.

Clarke received 92 points, third highest among third-team members. Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter and Kyle Guy, Kansas’ Dedric Lawson and Kentucky’s PJ Washington made the third team.

Washington’s Jaylen Nowell and Matisse Thybulle were honorable mention.

Gonzaga’s run of AP All-Americans includes Johnathan Williams, 2018 honorable mention; Nigel Williams-Goss, 2017 second team; Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer, 2016 honorable mention; and Wiltjer and Kevin Pangos, 2015 third team.

Kelly Olynyk was a first-team selection in 2013. No Zags made the 2014 team.

Hachimura is a finalist for the Naismith Trophy national Player of the Year and the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year. Hachimura was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year.

Clarke, the WCC Newcomer and Defensive player of the Year, joined Hachimura on the national ballot for the Wooden Award Player of the Year. Clarke is one of four finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year.