The accolades are piling up for Kemba Walker. Already named first-team Big East, and first-team All American by the Sporting News, Walker can now add Associated Press first-team All American honors to his resumé. He is the first Huskies player to earn the distinction since Emeka Okafor in 2004 (speaking of Okafor, he's following the 2011 team closely).
Along with Walker (who received 51 of 64 votes), seniors Jimmer Fredette (BYU, 64 votes), Nolan Smith (Duke, 61 votes), and JuJuan Johnson (Purdue, 44 votes), and freshman Jared Sullinger (Ohio St., 58 votes) rounded out the first team.
"It feels good, especially because I wasn't a preseason All-American," said Walker in the AP press release. "I just wanted to come into the season and try to win as many games as we could. From winning, it really helped me be a better player and just get more recognition."
And in a shocking admission, coach Jim Calhoun was quoted as saying that Kemba was "without a doubt the most important player to his team this season. I can't imagine where we would be without him." That doesn't sound like him at all.
Despite the award, there is the lingering issue of how, after all UConn has accomplished (mostly because of Kemba, by the way), only 51 of 65 voters thought Walker was worthy of first-team status. It boggles the mind, frankly, particularly since no one had the Huskies in the Final Four (notable exception: the Boston Globe, who must have somehow gotten their hands on a time machine), much less winning the Big East Tournament.
So if UConn, now three weeks into the NCAA Tourney and still playing, still need motivation, there it is.