SBN is going to be rolling out All-American teams sometime next week, and so each SBN college site had to send in their picks for first and second team All-Americans, Freshman of the year, and Player of the year. Yours truly was honored with RCT's ballot. With every All-American (seriously, all 15 guys from the first, second, and third teams last year are all gone) there is a wide range of players who are acceptable picks, and as such I rearranged my teams more than a few times. After careful consideration, however, I'm pretty happy with what I came up with:
Player of the Year: Frank Kaminsky, Senior, Wisconsin
Kaminsky was Wisconsin's go to guy last year, and figures to be again this year for a possible national champion. He shot 58% from two, 38% from three, and 77% from the line. He had an absurdly low turnover rate for someone who was featured as often as he was, he was Wisconsin's best rebounder, and their best shot blocker as well. His stats might take a bit of a hit this year as defenses key in on him more, but he's the focal point of my preseason #1 team and a guy who is a matchup problem for whomever guards him at the college level.
Freshman of the Year: Jahlil Okafor, Duke
This was close among three Freshmen, but I picked Okafor because I think Coach K will feature him a little more than the other two will be. He has a prototypical back to the basket game, and although his athleticism doesn't leap off the screen, he isn't a plodder by any means.
First team All Americans
Juwan Staten, Sr Guard, West Virginia
He's been covered ad nauseam here, but Staten gets into the lane better than any guard in college basketball, is efficient inside the arc, knows his limitations outside the arc, and contributes a ton of assists without turning it over. He's a defensible choice for player of the year, and might be the most underrated player in the country.
Marcus Paige, Jr Guard, North Carolina
Paige played in almost 90% of UNC's minutes last year, shot 39% from three, and shot 49% from two as well. He also more than any other elite player in the country was able to take over games. His assist rate wasn't great last year, but I think that's more due to UNC needing his shooting ability more than his passing ability.
Caris LeVert, Jr Guard/Forward, Michigan
LeVert shot 40% from three and 46% from two last year, while contributing both in assists and on the defensive glass. LeVert is a very good perimeter defender as well, but this selection is mostly driven by John Beilein's ability to create stars.
Second Team All Americans
TJ McConnell, Sr Guard, Arizona
McConnell had an assist rate over 30% and turnover rate under 20%, shot 36% from three, and 51% despite standing 6'1", all while playing well above average perimeter defense. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Stanley Johnson, and even Brandon Ashley are getting more preseason ink than McConnell, but a near elite perimeter defender who runs what is projected to be a top 10 offense as well as he does deserves much more hype.
Delon Wright, Sr Guard/Forward, Utah
Wright contributes all over the place. His assist turnover numbers are nearly as good as McConnell's (29.3/18.7) and he shot 62% from two. He also was a capable defensive rebounder and had a top 30 steal rate on defense. Utah looks to take a huge leap forward this year, and Wright will pick up a lot of All American hype due to that.
Karl Towns, Fr Guard/Forward, Kentucky
Towns is a near 7 foot guard who legitimately can play inside and outside. He has experience playing for the Dominican Naitonal Team, and by all accounts is ready to make the transition to college basketball. If he defends and gets enough shots, he looks like he'll be Kentucky's best player.
Cliff Alexander, Fr Forward, Kansas
Another guy we have covered like crazy, if he stays out of foul trouble I think Cliff is going to dominate to the point where he could be considered a legit player of the year candidate. If he does struggle with fouling, Perry Ellis might have a shot at 2nd team honors.
Przemek Karnowski, Jr Center, Gonzaga
I'll probably be the only person with Karnowski on my All-American list, but he shot 58%, was a good rebounder, drew a ton of fouls, and was a very good interior defender. Like Utah, Gonzaga is expected to take a huge step forward this year and with Sam Dower's graduation Karnowski's per game numbers look to see a major spike, which will make him an All American candidate
Since I'm sure people will ask, I'll quickly cover snubs:
Montrezl Harrell - Good defensive player, but gets most of his points due to the work of others and doesn't rebound as well as he should.
Sam Dekker - I really bought into the Dekker offseason hype last year and got burned by it, so it's mostly not wanting that to happen again.
Fred Van Vleet - Really really low usage rate for someone being talked about on this list, and curiously played much worse against power conference competition. I'm not saying if you stuck him in the Big 12 he'd be horrible, but he's definitely not worthy of an All American selection
Ron Baker - Definitely nothing against Baker here. The quality of competition is a concern, but he's really good on both ends of the floor. It's mostly that I like my All American teams to look like actual teams and not have 5 point guards or 5 centers or whatever, and the other wing guys were ahead of him.