Making the WBCA all-state team is nice and all, but a spot on the Associated Press team is a bit better.
The AP last week choose Lutheran senior Jacob Ognacevic for its first team and sophomore teammate Casey Verhagen earned honorable mention.
Unlike the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association’s all-state team, which is split into five divisions, the AP picks the best players regardless of school size for one large team.
“It definitely has a lot more meaning,” Ognacevic said. “Just to be considered in the first group with guys like that, with all the divisions considered and I was one of those five, it’s something I’m really proud of. It does hold a lot more meaning to me than D5 all-state, but D5 all-state is also important.”
Ognacevic, the Big East Conference player of the year for the second straight season, led Wisconsin in scoring with an average of 39.4 points per game and ranked second in rebounding with 16.1 per contest this year.
With numbers like that – Ognacevic also became the fourth boy in the state to have a 1,000-point season – he expected to improve on his AP all-state second team showing from a year ago.
“I feel like this year I did everything I possibly could have done in order to get first team,” Ognacevic said. “Just looking back at last year how I got second team with the numbers I did, and a state title, this year is kind of similar with our record. Although the season got cancelled, we were still up there (advancing to the sectional final).”
Verhagen averaged 20 points, nine assists and four rebounds per game.
“It’s a great honor and very rewarding,” he said. “I think another big reward is the fact that it is regardless of the divisions, so having people know that just because I’m going to a D5 school doesn’t mean I can’t belong with some of the best players in the state.”