Published on August 6th, 2012 | by Bryant West, Columnist0
College Basketball Predictions: Pre-Season All-American
There will always be surprises and no preseason predictions will ever be 100 percent correct, but here is my best shot at predicting the awards coming out next season.
All-American 3rd Team:
Guard Myck Kabongo, Texas (So.)
Kabongo averaged just 9.6 points on 39.1 percent shooting last year, but he also averaged 5.3 assists per game and showed he did have NBA level skill. If he works on his shot, I fully expect Kabongo to show his true potential and end up as a top point guard in the nation.
Guard C.J. McCollum, LeHigh (Sr.)
An NCAA Tournament darling, McCollum could have gone into the NBA Draft and been a late 1st round pick. Instead, he returns to LeHigh for another run at the college game and a chance to make himself a top 20 pick next season. He averaged 21.5 points and 6.5 rebounds on 45.5 percent shooting—I expect those numbers to climb even higher.
Forward Mike Moser, UNLV (Jr.)
I’m surprised Moser when back to school. After averaging 14.1 points and 10.6 rebounds last year, he was a sure fire top-20 pick. UNLV has added even more inside talent, but expect Moser to be among the most consistent big men this year.
Forward Patric Young, Florida (So.)
Young was woefully inconsistent last year for Florida, (10.3 points, 6.4 rebounds) but the Gators need him to take over if they plan to be relevant this season. He has all the tools to do just that.
Center Jeff Withey, Kansas (Jr.)
I may be too high on Withey (he is very raw offensively), but he was as dominant defensively as anyone in the NCAA Tournament last year. Kansas lacks the star power of the past, and Withey may be their best hope as a strong season. He averaged 9.3 points, 6.3 boards and 3.3 blocks last season.
Hit the jump for the rest of Bryant’s All-American projections…
All-American 2nd Team:
Guard Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State (Jr.)
With the loss of Kawhi Leonard in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Aztecs were supposed to be gutted. Franklin (17.4 points, 7.9 rebounds) led a well-rounded squad that should be even better this year. He needs to improve his jumper, but he’s among the best guards in the NCAA.
Guard Nate Wolters, South Dakota State (Jr.)
One of the most underappreciated players in the country, the electric scoring guard averaged 21.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds last season. His small conference will hold him back a bit, but in terms of stats, he should be at the top of the league.
Nash had a disappointing freshman season, averaging just 13.3 points and shooting 39.4 percent from the floor. He’s got excellent all-around potential, and I predict he’ll prove it this year with a dominating season for the Cowboys.
Forward James McAdoo, North Carolina (So.)
You can make the case for McAdoo as a 1st teamer easily (I battled between him and Muhammed) because he has the biggest chance to explode of anyone on this list. Last year he was held back in playing time behind John Henson and Tyler Zeller—this year he’s the star. He’s got serious NBA talent.
Center Gorgui Dieng, Louisville (Jr.)
The Louisville season rests on the big broad shoulders of Dieng, who dominated the NCAA tournament last season and proved he could be in the elite class of NCAA big men. He averaged 9.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks last year—but if he doesn’t average a double double I’ll be shocked.
All-American 1st Team:
Guard Isaiah Canaan, Murray State (Sr.)
It was incredibly tough to decide between Canaan and Wolters for this spot, but I’ll go with Canaan. First, I think that Murray State will have a better record and will get more attention. Canaan may not get the same stats as Wolters, but he’ll play against better competition. Last year he averaged 19.0 points, 3.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds on 48.4 percent shooting—expect all those numbers to raise even higher this season.
Guard/Forward Doug McDermott, Creighton (Jr.)
McDermott is the one player who won All-American 1st team last season who didn’t enter the NBA Draft, and he’ll win it again this year. He averaged 22.9 points and 8.5 boards a contest. It’s a shame his team lacks any other big talent, but he can carry the Bluejays to the tournament by himself.
Forward Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA (Fr.)
Muhammad could probably enter the NBA right now and do just fine. Like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist last year, Muhammed will dominate with tough defense and an unparalleled work ethic. He’ll be UCLA’s focal point offensively and he’ll need to prove he has a consistent jumper.
Insanely smart and quick, Zeller was able to blind us all to the fact last year that he was pretty dang raw. With a year of experience and plenty of practice time, Zeller will easily improve on his 15.5 points/6.6 rebound/62 percent shooting freshman season. His incredible offensive abilities will make him a top 10 pick in the 2013 draft easily.
Center Nerlens Noel, Kentucky (Fr.)
Like Anthony Davis before him, I expect Noel will explode into a college superstar right off the bat. He’s a defensive titan and a die-hard worker. He may struggle to score when he gets to the NBA but he shouldn’t have any big problem in college. Don’t sleep on Kentucky this year.
Other Names to Watch:
Guard Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary’s (Sr.)
Guard Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan (Jr.)
Center Josh Smith, UCLA (Jr.)
Center Isaac Austin, Baylor (Fr.)
Forward Adonis Thomas, Memphis (Fr.)