Vols Grant Williams Earns First Team All American Status
(utsports.com) After being tabbed a first-team All-American by the Associated Press (AP) on Tuesday, Tennessee’s Grant Williams earned unanimous consensus first-team All-American status from the NCAA.
“It’s honestly incredible,” Williams said. “I never dreamed of earning this. I am thankful for everyone who has helped me reach this point. I want to thank my teammates, my coaches and the Lord. When you put as much work in and work as hard as I have, it’s a blessing to have that recognized.”
The NCAA uses four different entities to designate student-athletes as “consensus” All-Americans: AP, National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), Sporting News and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).
Williams joins Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Bernard King (1976-77) and two-time SEC Player of the Year Dale Ellis (1982-83) as the only Vols ever to be named a consensus first-team All-American. Ernie Grunfeld (1976-77) earned consensus second-team recognition, as did Chris Lofton in both 2006-07 and 2007-08).
“To be able to join elite players like Bernard and Dale, it’s incredible to think about because not many people have that honor,” Williams said. “I am definitely honored to be there, but there is more work to be done. They both went on to have long and successful careers, and I hope to do the same.”
Williams is just the sixth SEC player to earn consensus first-team All-American status in the last 10 years, and he is the first SEC player to do so since 2016.
The junior forward established himself as one of the nation’s most versatile and efficient players this year, averaging 18.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. He also shot 57 percent from the field and an impressive 82 percent from the free-throw line.
Williams ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in scoring (1st), field-goal percentage (2nd), free-throw percentage (5th), rebounding (7th) and assist/turnover ratio (10th). He has moved into the top 10 on UT’s all-time career lists for blocks (3rd/160), free-throw attempts (3rd/661), free throws made (4th/501) and offensive rebounds (8th/257). He also ranks 12th in scoring with 1,629 career points.
The Charlotte, North Carolina, native helped the Vols (31-6) earn their first Sweet Sixteen bid since 2014 and match the program record for wins in a single season. Williams also played a critical role in this year’s team setting program records for points, field goals made, assists and blocks.
Williams’ list of postseason honors is extensive. He has been named SEC Player of the Year and a first-team All-SEC performer—both for the second straight season. He also was named to the SEC Community Service Team, SEC All-Tournament Team and the USBWA District IV Player of the Year.
Williams is up for consideration for several National Player of the Year honors, being tabbed to the Men’s National Ballot for the John R. Wooden Award, a Citizen Naismith Trophy finalist, an Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist and a Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year finalist.
Williams and Duke’s Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett were the only players in the country to be unanimous consensus first-team All-Americans this season.
2019 Consensus All-America Selections
*R.J. Barrett, Duke
Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
Ja Morant, Murray State
*Grant Williams, Tennessee
*Zion Williamson, Duke
Jarett Culver, Texas Tech
Carsen Edwards, Purdue
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
Markus Howard, Marquette
Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
Mike Daum, South Dakota State
Kyle Guy, Virginia
De’Andre Hunter, Virginia
Dedric Lawson, Kansas
P.J. Washington, Kentucky
Others Receiving Votes
Chris Clemons, Campbell