Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Preseason All American Teams

So we are now less than a week away from my favorite time of year, the start of college basketball.  This especially needs to happen because of my dysfunctional Auburn Tiger football team.  Friday night is the start of it all with midnight madness getting things underway.  With that, I am going to give my previews this week.  I am going to first start with a very debatable topic, Preseason All American teams.  With the constant influx of freshmen talent, it is a tough prediction to make as we saw last year with Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist making the 1st team.  This year you hear freshman names such as Shabazz Muhammad (if he even plays) and Nerlens Noel (aka the Flat Top from Everett, MA).  This year, I am going to go against the recent trend and predict no freshman will be on the 1st team.  Without further ado I present my 1st,  2nd, and 3rd Teams as well as Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year.

1st Team
F: Cody Zeller                        One of two consensus 1st Team members (Doug McDermott being the other) has put Indiana back on the basketball map.  The younger brother of Tyler leads this title contending team in points, rebounds, blocked shots while being able to pass and run the floor well.  Player of the Year contender will be on everyone’s ballot for the 1st Team.

F: Doug McDermott               The other shoo in, McDermott is the leader of the lesser known Creighton Blue Jays.  He may never be a great NBA player, but the junior is one of the most complete college basketball players out there.  He gave a much more talented UNC bunch everything it could handle by himself.  This Creighton team is better than last year, so get used to hearing a lot about McDermott.

G: Isaiah Canaan                    This Racer (pun alert) from Murray State is a lot like Chauncey “Big Shot” Billups.  Canaan comes up big when it matters most.  Canaan may be the best college player in Kentucky this year.  Canaan led the Racers to an awesome 23-0 start last year and expect similar results this year as Murray State will be a force again led by the feisty guard.

G: CJ McCollum                     Just ask Duke and Xavier how good CJ is as Lehigh knocked off Duke and put a huge scare into Xavier last March.  I have been watching McCollum since he was a freshman at Lehigh (the perks of Patriot League basketball) and the growth he has made has been tremendous.  Always a great scorer, he has developed into the best rebounding guard in the country and has such quick hands on the defensive side of the ball.  His scoring will get him on this list, but it’s the other things that make CJ McCollum great.

G: Trey Burke                         As a freshman Burke exploded last year for the Michigan Wolverines.  He is back, with a better squad this year and could be a sleeper to win Player of the Year.  Michigan hasn’t been this excited about its team since the Fab 5 days, and Burke is the reason why.  A great playmaker that can also score the basketball, Burke should be a first round pick in June too.

2nd Team

F: Shabazz Muhammad          What a name – Shabazz is about as talented as it gets.  The only reason he is not on the first team, he might not play this year.  Faced with charges of illegal benefits in high school, he may not suit up until January.  But, if he does play, he will lead the UCLA Bruins back to where Bruins fans are used to – the Final Four.  Muhammad can score from anywhere and is extremely athletic.

F: Tony Mitchell                     The Missouri recruit ended up committing to North Texas because of academics, Mitchell is as talented as anyone in the country.  He also could be the most risky pick here as he doesn’t exactly have the best motor out there.  North Texas doesn’t exactly have the most talent around him, so Mitchell will have to lead them to the tourney to be included in this list, but man can he play.

C: Jeff Withey                        Everyone likes to make fun of Withey – they even made a website about his goofy faces he makes.  But what people don’t always talk about his how good of a defender Withey truly is.  He is a legit 7 footer that has shut down some of the best low post players – ask Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller what its like facing him.  Without Thomas Robinson or Tyshawn Taylor in the mix, look for Withey to expand his offensive role this year.

G: Elijah Johnson                    Back to back Jayhawks, does it get any better?  Elijah proved last year he certainly loves the big stage as Kansas wouldn’t have made it to the Championship without him.  No more Tyshawn Taylor, which means Elijah will now be handling the point guard duties.  He is a better decision making than Tyshawn with a much better shot.  Look for Elijah to shoot up everyone’s list this winter.

G: Phil Pressey                        Maybe the best pure point guard in the country (a lot easier without Scott Machado and Kendall Marshall around), Pressey can play.  Without a lot of the seniors from last year’s veteran squad, Pressey is looking to the take the SEC by storm this year.  Look for 8-10 assists per game from this little playmaker.

3rd Team

F: Nerlens Noel                      In Lexington the Unibrow is gone and the Flat Top is in.  Big shoes to fill for Noel, but the Everett native has been blocking shots everywhere he has played already.  Look for that to continue as he looks to lead a very, very, very young Wildcats team with high expectations.  Noel has an extremely high ceiling and may end up making the 1st Team by season’s end.

F: James Michael McAdoo     Zeller, Henson, Barnes, Marshall – all gone.  McAdoo looks to step up in a similar role to Thomas Robinson did last year.  The thing that separates McAdoo and T-Rob is the motor.  That is why T-Rob was 1st Team and McAdoo is 3rd Team.  UNC will lean heavily on this highly regarded sophomore.  He has an NBA ready body but is still raw on the offensive end.  If he gets a little help from his Tar Heel teammates I could see him as a 2nd Teamer.

C: Mike Muscala                    Wow, another Patriot League player on this list.  Has this ever happened?  People forget that Muscala’s Bucknell Bison were the favorites in the Patriot League before CJ McCollum and Lehigh upset them in the Patriot League final.  Muscala played well against Arizona in the NIT last year and will continue to improve this year.  Muscala is a future NBA player who can rebound as well as anyone.  Look for a potential two bid league from the Patriot League this year from Lehigh and Bucknell and just enjoy Muscala and McCollum.

G: Kyle Anderson                  The people of Los Angeles sure are excited about this young prospect Kyle Anderson.  There are already people throwing around Magic Johnson comparisons.  I am not ready to put him in the NBA Hall of Fame yet, but the 6’9 point guard is a matchup nightmare for anyone in the Pac 12.  He has an NBA ready body with outstanding skills.  Will he put it all together?  I can’t wait to find out.

G: Ben McLemore                  Head Coach Bill Self doesn’t go raving about many of his own players as much as he has with McLemore.  Ben is a freshman for the Jayhawks this year, but was in the program last year as he was a partial qualifier.  Well, he is ready to step into the starting lineup.  Think Xavier Henry with more explosion.  Rock Chalk Jayhawk indeed.

Player of the Year:                Doug McDermott
This is really a toss up between McDemott and Cody Zeller.  Both players should be great this year for their respective teams.  Look for McDermott to win the award because he will have to do more for Creighton to be successful than Zeller will for Indiana.

Freshman of the Year:         Shabazz Muhammad/Kyle Anderson
Can you believe this award isn’t going to a Kentucky Wildcat?  Well UCLA’s freshmen class is loaded this year.  If Shabazz plays before January you can lock this award up for him.  If not, I look for his teammate Kyle Anderson to win the award.


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