If you’re an honorable mention All-American, do you still list yourself as an All-American on your resume? I mean, most news outlets only list the First and Second Teams, and the players mentioned honorably are covered only in their hometown papers and blogs.
I say “Hell Yes”. There are roughly 4,000 players in Division 1 Basketball, and around 50 of them are named All-Americans by the Associated Press. That’s just over 1%.
Booker Woodfox, the Jays’ guard from Lewisville, Texas, was named an All-American on Monday, placing him among the Top 1% of players in Division 1 hoops. I’d say that’s cause for celebration, even if it is “just” an honorable mention. There’s a litany of players considered among the Bluejay Bouguoise who weren’t All-Americans (at least, not as named by the Associated Press, which is the only one that really matters, despite the litany of lesser awards listed in the media guide).
Sir Rodney Buford was. Kyle Korver was.
But Nate Funk and Anthony Tolliver were not. Ben Walker and Ryan Sears were not. Chad Gallagher and Bob Harstad were not.
Booker Woodfox is, and forever will be, an All-American.
Think about that for a second. Last Fall, imagine yourself standing in the Jaybacker Room, or alternatively at the Homy Inn, drinking a beer and discussing Bluejay Hoops. If the topic of “Who will be the next All-American?” came up, who would your answer have been?
And think about what that answer would mean were it to come true. The last two All-American Jays are royalty. Any discussion of Jays Greats in the Altman era is Buford, Korver, and Everyone Else. The next All-American would be the third in that era, and would have to join those two Royal Blues among the royalty, wouldn’t he?
I had just such a discussion last November, and I can tell you this: my answer was most certainly NOT Booker Woodfox. The MVC Sixth Man of the Year, yes, a good outside shooter, yes, but MVC Player of the Year? Or (sheesh) All-American?
Nope. Wouldn’t have said that, because I enjoy beer too much and if I had said it would be Booker, no sane bartender would have served me another drink. They’d have cut me off and made sure my friends drove me home. It was that crazy in November.
Flash forward to now, and it still seems wonky.
When Booker was named POY, I banged out a lengthy piece about his journey to becoming, as I wrote, “One of the Creighton Immortals.” If you haven’t read it, you should; it made that honor seem astonishing considering the player he was as a junior. And a lot of that article could be copied-and-pasted into this one, because being named All-American is a similarly surprising, but very deserved, honor. Instead, I’ll just include the final portion of that article:
Booker’s ceiling turned out to be enormously higher than anyone imagined, including Dana Altman. Asked about it in the World-Herald, he shook his head and replied, “No” when asked if he thought Booker would turn into a MVC Player of the Year talent.
“After I saw him shoot the ball, I knew this was a no-brainer. But I knew he was going to be a liability on defense, and we’d have to work through that. And he has. He’s worked hard defensively just to try to do a better job. To shoot the percentages that he did this year and to come on as strong as he did last year, I can’t say I saw that. To become the kind of shooter he’s been for us, wow. He hits tough shots, shots on the move. He’s hit so many big ones for us.”
From unknown to MVC Player of the Year in 23 months. From mystery recruit to one of the all-time great Jays, the best player on a team that has the opportunity to be one of the best in school history by season’s end.
He was only here for two seasons, so his name won’t be near the top of many statistical categories in the Bluejay record book. But his shooting percentage will rank as among the best all-time, and he’ll be listed along with Bob Harstad, Chad Gallagher and Kyle Korver as the only Jays to win MVC Player of the Year honors.
And he’ll be listed alongside Rick Apke, Benoit Benjamin, Rodney Buford, Kyle Korver, Vernon Moore, Bob Portman, and Paul Silas as the only Jays to be named All-Americans by the Associated Press. Count ‘em: there have been seven prior to this year.
Booker Woodfox is the eighth, and he will forever be mentioned as one of the All-Time Greats to have worn a Creighton uniform. A deserving honor for a fine young man who also happens to have been, in 2009, one of the elite college basketball players in America.
I’m not sure what else to say other than, “You bet.”