Updated: West Linn's Payton Pritchard named consensus first-team All-American
While his team's success mattered most, there wasn't an individual award that Payton Pritchard didn't win during his star-studded basketball career at West Linn High School.
During his four years on court for the Lions boys team, Pritchard led his team to four consecutive state titles and piled up the individual honors along the way.
He was a three-time Three Rivers League Player of the Year. He was a three-time unanimous selection to the Class 6A all-tournament team. He was a three-time Oregon Player of the Year. He was the Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year in 2015-16, a McDonald's All-American nominee and played in the Nike Hoop Summit.
Some things never change.
Pritchard has continued that trend during his stellar career at the University of Oregon, adding the latest and greatest award to his trophy case on Tuesday, March 24, when he was named a consensus first-team All-American — Oregon's first in 80 years.
Pritchard was named a first-team All-American by the National Association of Basketball Coaches on Tuesday and that honor — which matches previous awards from the Associated Press and Sporting News — lifted him to consensus All-American status. He was also named a second-team honoree by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Pritchard, who received his AP honor on Friday, March 19, was the Ducks' first-ever AP first-team All-American and just its second-ever consensus first-team All-American.
On Friday, Pritchard — a 6-foot-3 senior point guard — talked about his attitude toward individual awards and what they mean to him.
"I know I've been making most of the first teams — I think I've made them all so far — so if I could make every one of them and be a consensus first-team All-American, that would obviously be big-time," he said. "That would be great."
With his shortened senior season now fading into the rearview mirror — the Ducks won the Pac-12 title, but saw statewide COVID-19 restrictions end their season before the team's Pac-12 tournament opener on March 12 — Pritchard took a moment to look back on his incredible senior season and career.
As a senior, Pritchard started all 31 games for the Ducks, averaging a career-high (and team-best) 20.5 points per game on 47% shooting from the field, 42% marksmanship from 3-point range and an 82% success rate at the foul line. Beyond that, he also contributed 4.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
It was clearly his best season at Oregon.
"You know, it's been the greatest four years of my life. It was the best decision of my life to go to Oregon," Pritchard said. "And to stay all four years and go through some ups and downs, I grew so much as a person."
Along the way, he helped lead the Ducks to a Pac-12 title — the second of his tenure — a 24-7 overall record, the No. 13 ranking in the country and the top seed into the aborted Pac-12 tournament.
In response, Pritchard was showered with awards (and nominations for awards) in great number once again. In addition to being named a first-team All-American, Pritchard's honors include: Pac-12 Player of the Year; All-Pac-12 First Team; Naismith Trophy finalist; Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award finalist; Wooden Award National Ballot; Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason List; and first team All-America by the Sporting News, CBS Sports, Bleacher Report and NCAA March Madness.
"At the end of the day, it's a great feeling to win them and you want to win them, but it's not the end of the world," he said. "I know it's not in my control so I'm not going to get upset about it, but it would be great to win and I would love to win them. I've got a couple more coming up and so we'll see what happens."
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