Hansbrough earns 2nd team honor

Ben Hansbrough concludes his sterling 2011 season with second team All-America honors.

He was the best regular season player in the nation's toughest conference, and though his tournament fortunes turned decidedly south, Notre Dame 5th-year senior Ben Hansbrough earned his rightful spot among post-season honorees today as a second-team member of the Associated Press's All-America team.

Hansbrough became the 10th Notre Dame player to earn AP honors, joining Kevin O'Shea (1948-50), program rebounding king Tom Hawkins (1958-59), scoring leader and recent Ring of Honor inductee Austin Carr (1970-71), first-round draft pick John Shumate (1974), first-round draft pick and US Olympian Adrian Dantley (1975-76), first-round draft pick Kelly Tripucka (1979), first-round draft pick Pat Garrity (1998), first-round draft pick Troy Murphy (2000-01) and second-round selection Luke Harangody (2008-10).

The Poplar Bluff native was joined on the second team by Kansas forward Marcus Morris, Arizona forward Derrick Williams, San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard, and Wisconsin point guard Jordan Taylor.

First team members include Big East rival Kemba Walker (Connecticut), fellow guards Jimmer Fredette (BYU) and Nolan Smith (Duke), Purdue forward-center JaJuan Johnson, and Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger.

Hansbrough led the Irish in scoring (18.4), assists per game (4.3), steals (1.3), and three-point field goal percentage (43.5%). The 5th-year senior, who played just two seasons for the Irish after transferring from Missippi State following the 2008 season, finished his Notre Dame career with 1,044 points, starting 69 consecutive contests.

The conference's only unanimous all-league selection, Hansbrough improved his numbers in Big East play, averaging 20.7 points (3rd in the league) with 4.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. Hansbrough finished 10th in the conference in overall field goal percentage (50.7%), 5th in free throw percentage (84.9%), and 8th in three-point percentage (43%). The Irish co-captain finished 9th in the conference in steals, 12th in assists, and 14th in assist-to-turnover ratio.

At 6'3" Hansbrough was the shortest player in the Big East to rank among the top 15 in field goal percentage.

His selection marks the fourth consecutive season in which an Irish player was named to an AP first, second, or third team honor, with Luke Harangody garnering 1st and 2nd team mention in 2008 and 2009, then third team honors last year. In addition to Hansbrough, Harangody and Troy Murphy, Chris Quinn (2006), Chris Thomas (2003-04), and Matt Carroll (2003) received AP honorable mention honors under head coach Mike Brey.

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