Whenever talk of the best college basketball player this season came up, so did two names: Michigan State's Denzel Valentine and Oklahoma's Buddy Hield.
They were unanimous selections Tuesday to the Associated Press' All-America team.
Both led their teams to successful seasons, and their numbers lifted them above all the other players.
Valentine, the Big Ten player of the year, averaged 19.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists. Hield, the player of the year in the Big 12, averaged 25 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
"I don't know many guys that have improved in every aspect of the game like he has," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said of the 6-foot-5 Valentine, the school's first All-American since Draymond Green in 2012. His importance to Michigan State showed when he missed four games during the season with a knee injury.
Hield, Oklahoma's first All-American since Blake Griffin in 2009, became a highlight reel staple with his ability to shoot from long range and with defenders right on him. The 6-foot-4 Hield shot 46.4 percent from 3-point range.
"He has had a fantastic year and has been very consistent," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said of the Bahamas native who was a third-team selection last season. "He worked hard and has that passion and focus that makes him what he is."
In the age of one-and-dones, Valentine and Hield were joined on the All-America team by fellow seniors Brice Johnson of North Carolina and Malcolm Brogdon of Virginia. Kentucky sophomore Tyler Ulis rounded out the team.
NIT: David Skara sank the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 20 seconds left, and top-seeded Valparaiso (30-6) held off BYU 72-70 in New York to reach Thursday's championship game. The Crusaders will face fourth-seeded George Washington (27-10), a 65-46 winner over San Diego State.
MICHIGAN: Sophomore center Ricky Doyle was granted a release from his scholarship and will transfer.
VCU: The school restructured coach Will Wade's contract, set to run through the 2020 season, and extended it through 2024.
NBA DRAFT: Kansas junior guard Wayne Selden and Notre Dame junior guard Demetrius Jackson announced plans to enter the draft and hire agents.
SAINT LEO WOMEN: Missy West, Saint Leo's head women's coach for the past two seasons, stepped down to pursue other career opportunities.