UNC Basketball: Brice Johnson named third-team All-American

Brice Johnson makes another All-American team but there’s a catch…

North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brice Johnson has been named a third-team All-American by Sporting News.

The annual awards were released Wednesday morning, highlighted by Sporting News’ first-team selections including Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon, Oklahoma senior guard Buddy Hield, Utah’s Jakob Poeltl, Kentucky guard and SEC Player of the Year Tyler Ulis, and Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine. Valentine is the popular pick for many as National Player of the Year.

Second-team All-Americans include Duke’s Grayson Allen, Providence guard Kris Dunn, Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell, LSU’s Ben Simmons, and Iowa big man Jarrod Uthoff.

Joining Johnson on the third team is Oregon sophomore Dillon Brooks, Kansas senior Perry Ellis, Oakland’s Kay Felder, and Iowa State standout Georges Niang.

Although Johnson needed a first or second team selection to have his jersey honored in the rafters of the Smith Center, he will have several more opportunities to gain that accolade. Awards to be released from the Associated Press, National Association of Basketball Coaches and the US Basketball Writers Association will likely afford Johnson the great honor.

Sporting News first, second and third teams:

First Team

Malcolm Brogdon – Virginia
Buddy Hield – Oklahoma
Jakob Poeltl – Utah
Tyler Ulis – Kentucky
Denzel Valentine – Michigan State

Second Team

Grayson Allen – Duke
Kris Dunn – Providence
Yogi Ferrell – Indiana
Ben Simmons – Louisiana State
Jarrod Uthoff – Iowa

Third Team

Dillon Brooks – Oregon
Perry Ellis – Kansas
Kay Felder – Oakland
Brice Johnson – North Carolina
Georges Niang – Iowa State

In my opinion, Johnson being named to the third team lacks the understanding and acknowledgement of his importance to this particular UNC team. For a player who led the Atlantic Coast Conference in rebounding, field-goal percentage and double-doubles, while anchoring one of the most potent offenses in the country, it causes uncertainty as to what was needed to achieve first-team status (or at least second team).

Sporting News chose to go with four guards and a center on their first team, rather than push the third or fourth best guard down to the second team. Brogdon, Hield, Ulis and Valentine are all fine players, but I’d have put an additional big man in the lineup, and for me it would have been Johnson.

However, I have faith in the aforementioned media outlets to come up with the correct teams once their lists are released.

And who knows. Maybe this will be a little added motivation for Johnson, who already seems to thrive on the doubt and disrespect he receives from the naysayers.