For the second consecutive year, three players who were selected to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Basketball Teams as high schoolers are in the Final Four.
Two of those players are back for the second consecutive year: North Carolina teammates Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson — members of ALL-USA’s second and third teams in 2014, respectively.
Jackson 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.
The Tar Heels’ leading scorer at 18.2 points per game, Jackson has been named to the Wooden All-America team and received first-team honors from the NABC and The Sporting News and second team from the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Pinson played for Wesleyan Christian in High Point, N.C., as a high schooler and was part of consecutive North Carolina 3A state title games. He averaged 23 points as a senior.
Pinson missed the first half of the season with North Carolina because of a broken foot. He played in 19 games and started 11 and has averaged six points and four rebounds.
The non-North Carolina representative is Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, who made the ALL-USA second team in 2013 at Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). He has the unique distinction of being the first four-year player at Findlay.
As a senior, he averaged more than 18 points and five assists per game for a Findlay Prep team that went 35-1 with its lone close coming in the National High School Invitational semifinals (now known as the DICK’S Nationals). His teams lost just eight games in four years and won two NHSI titles.
On the season for the Zags, he averaged 16.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.6 assists off on 49 percent shooting and made the Wooden All-America team. He is among the five finalists for the Wooden Award.
He came up huge last weekend in the regionals as Gonzaga punched its ticket to the Final Four. Against West Virginia in the semifinals, he played super defense on the final possession, preventing the game-tying three-point. Against Xavier, he had 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Most importantly, he did not turn the ball over.