Temple senior guard Shizz Alston was named a first-team all-American Athletic Conference selection on Monday in a move that was widely expected. What was surprising is that the 6-foot-4 Alston wasn’t a unanimous choice for first team.
Three players were unanimous first-team choices -- Jeremiah Martin of Memphis, Corey Davis of regular-season champion Houston, and Jarron Cumberland of Cincinnati.
The all-conference teams were selected by the league’s 12 head coaches.
The player of the year will be announced on Wednesday. A league spokesman said the all-conference voting is separate from the player of the year voting, which means Alston should be in the running.
During the regular season, Alston was tied with Martin for the conference scoring lead; both average 19.7 points per game. Alston is first in free-throw percentage (.906), third in assists (5.1 per game), eighth in steals (1.5 per game), and 15th in three-point shooting percentage (.351). He has made at least one three-pointer in a school-record 42 straight games.
“It is nice to get this, but the [NCAA] tournament is still the first thing on my mind and our goal is to win the conference tournament,” Alston said in a phone interview.
Temple is the No. 3 seed in the AAC tournament and will open play Friday with a 9 p.m. quarterfinal against the winner of No. 6 Wichita State and No. 11 East Carolina in Memphis, Tenn.
While Alston’s focus is on the NCAA’s, he said he used a preseason snub as motivation this year. Alston was not named on the preseason first- or second-team all-conference squads. (There was no preseason third team.)
“I wasn’t on the preseason first or second teams so I kind of felt disrespected by that and I wanted to come out and make a statement,” Alston said. “I felt I have done that this year.”
Temple 6-8 junior Quinton Rose, who was a preseason first-team choice, earned second-team honors. Rose is averaging 16.5 points.
Shizz Alston, Temple
Jarron Cumberland, Cincinnati*
Corey Davis, Houston*
Jeremiah Martin, Memphis*
B.J. Taylor, Central Florida
Armoni Brooks, Houston
Aubrey Dawkins, Central Florida
Markis McDuffie, Wichita State
Jahmal McMurray, SMU
Quinton Rose, Temple
Jalen Adams, UConn
David Collins, South Florida
Tacko Fall, Central Florida
DaQuan Jeffries, Tulsa
Laquincy Rideau, South Florida
Dexter Dennis, Wichita State
Jayden Gardner, East Carolina*
Tyler Harris, Memphis
Nate Hinton, Houston*
Alexis Yetna, South Florida*