As the NBA draft, NCAA Tournament selection show and early-round upsets continued claiming their fellow members, only three former American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Basketball selections are left standing in the Final Four.
North Carolina teammates Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson — members of ALL-USA’s second and third teams in 2014, respectively — and Villanova’s Jalen Brunson, an ALL-USA third team honoree last year, are the lone survivors.
For Jackson, the Final Four is a trip home after he played for the Home School Christian Youth Association in Tomball, Texas, about 40 minutes from Houston. He averaged 31.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 blocks in 40 games as a senior •
Pinson played for Wesleyan Christian in Greensboro, N.C., as a high schooler and was part of consecutive North Carolina 3A state title games. He averaged 23 points as a senior. His personality has come through in the NCAAs, where he has become a big star of the press conferences.
The two have been invaluable during UNC’s dominant run through the first four games of the tournament, averaging a combined 17.3 points, seven rebounds and 4.3 assists as the Tar Heels outscored opponents by an average of 16 points. Heavy favorites against Syracuse on Saturday night, they appear poised to make a run for the title.
And there’s a chance Brunson could meet his fellow ALL-USA selections in the championship game, as Villanova dominated its first three games before upsetting top overall seed Kansas in the Elite Eight. Only a freshman, the son of former NBA player Rick Brunson has averaged 8.5 points, 2.3 assists and two rebounds in the tourney.
Brunson, from Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.), averaged 23.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game as a senior, leading Stevenson to the Illinois 4A title.