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April 14, 2009
The turning point of Memphis' season was easy to spot.
After freshman Tyreke Evans moved to point guard in late December, the Tigers were almost unstoppable. Memphis didn't lose again until a 102-91 NCAA West Region semifinal setback against Missouri that snapped the Tigers' 27-game winning streak.
And you can't exactly blame Evans for that season-ending loss. He scored 33 points as Memphis tried in vain to erase a 24-point deficit.
Evans' emergence made him the obvious choice as the Rivals.com national freshman of the year. Evans, from Aston (Pa.) American Christian School, was named the Conference USA freshman of the week nine times. He ranked third in the conference in steals and seventh in scoring while also placing in the top 15 in field-goal percentage, assists and rebounds.
Evans set a Memphis freshman record with 77 steals, which ranked eighth overall on the school's single-season list. He finished the season with 632 points to rank second among freshmen in school history.
Here's a rundown of the entire Rivals.com freshman All-America team.
SECOND-TEAM FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICA
Particulars: 6-9/225, true freshman
High school: Reno (Nev.) Galena
Particulars: 6-9/205, true freshman
High school: Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More
Particulars: 6-6/205, true freshman
High school: Flushing (N.Y.) Holy Cross
Particulars: 5-8/180, true freshman
High school: South Kent (Conn.) South Kent School
Particulars: 6-5/211, true freshman
High school: Memphis (Tenn.) Craigmont
THIRD-TEAM FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICA
Particulars: 6-8/240, true freshman
High school: Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's Prep
F Gordon Hayward, Butler
Particulars: 6-8/200, true freshman
High school: Brownsburg (Ind.) High
Particulars: 6-5/190, true freshman
High school: Toledo (Ohio) Libbey
G Seth Curry, Liberty
Particulars: 6-3/180, true freshman
High school: Charlotte (N.C.) Christian
Particulars: 6-6/187, true freshman
High school: Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita Catholic