InsideHoops.com NCAA All-Americans
We've wrapped up preseason play, and the conference clashes
are under way. Through the first two months of the season,
this are the nation's 25 best players. This is based on how players performed in games so far. As the season progresses, plenty of stars have a chance to move up, or down.
InsideHoops.com First Team
G- John Gilchrist, Maryland
G- Luther Head, Illinois
G/F- Rashad McCants, UNC
F- Hakim Warrick, Syracuse
C- Ike Diogu, Arizona State
Though opinions can always differ, I personally feel the
first five are pretty much no-brainers.
Gilchrist has been the hardest player to guard this season,
and has been putting Maryland on his back. The nation's best
combination of playmaking, scoring, defending, and even
rebounding. He's become much more efficient with the ball as
well, improving his A/TO rate from 1.6/1 last season to
2.4/1 this year.
Head has become the best player on the nation's best team;
no wing guard in the nation is currently playing a more
complete game than Head, who has become the go-to scorer (as
if Illinois has needed one thus far), the defensive stopper,
the top perimeter shooter, and much more involved in the
ball-handling, even though he plays with a pair of top-
McCants' numbers are a bit lower than last year, but he'd be
averaging well over 20 ppg on most teams. UNC's killing
teams so badly, and they're so stacked, that they don't need
it out of him, but it's basically common knowledge at this
point that he's the best perimeter scorer in the country.
He's been superbly efficient.
Warrick has expanded his game, stretching the range on his
jumper. He keeps Syracuse nationally prominent when without
him they'd be a somewhat normal team.
Diogu is, simply put, the nation's most dominant player. If
he was 6'11" instead of 6'7", he'd be a future NBA Hall of
Famer. So far this year, he's scored 273 points and taken
124 shots from the field. You do the math.
InsideHoops.com Second Team
G- Nate Robinson, Washington
G- J.J. Redick, Duke
G/F- Kennedy Winston, Alabama
F- Wayne Simien, Kansas
C- Josh Boone, UConn
Robinson is the nation's most explosive player, spearheading
one of the nation's best transition offenses. Like Head,
he's stepped up his game by going from a freaky athlete on
the basketball court to a great basketball player who
happens to be a freaky athlete as well.
Redick is leading the nation's best conference in scoring.
He's still the nation's top deep threat, but now has a more
well-rounded game. His ball-handling has gone from quite
deficient to pretty solid.
Winston is much like McCants, in that he's one of the
nation's top wing scorers that could be putting up better
numbers if he wasn't surrounded by so many good scorers.
He's the best player on an underrated 'Bama team that could
make some noise again come March- only it won't be a
surprise this time.
Simien would be a first-teamer if he wasn't injured. He's
become the best rebounder in the country.
Boone's stats are virtually identical to Okafor's numbers
last year. He's not nearly as strong as Emeka, nor quite as
athletic, but he's on his way to becoming just as effective
of a college player. I was skeptical when Jim Calhoun was
predicting such big things for him, but he's lived up to his
InsideHoops.com Third Team
G- Chris Paul, Wake Forest
G- Deron Williams, Illinois
G/F- Joey Graham, Oklahoma State
F- Ryan Gomes, Providence
C- Lawrence Roberts, Mississippi State
Paul was dominated at Illinois and maybe hasn't been as
amazing as pretty much everyone - myself included - thought he
would be. But he's still been very good by any objective
Same goes for Williams. Hasn't stepped up his game quite as
much as many thought he would, but he's still a better
player than last year despite a long-range shooting slump
(he's hitting 33.3% from beyond the arc). Despite Head's hot
start, Williams is still the most important Illini, who are
not nearly as good without him on the floor.
Graham, much like Williams and Paul, hasn't quite exploded
like some thought he would. But he's still been excellent
for one of the nation's top teams since moving from the post
to the wing. Despite being upset by Gonzaga (who's pretty
damn good), and despite the loss of Tony Allen, the Cowboys
are a better team for his move to small forward.
Providence hasn't been very good thus far, but Gomes isn't
to blame. He's a returning first-team All-American, and at
worst, he's every bit as good as last year. Despite being
forgotten about due to Providence being off the radar, I
can't drop him much further than this. He's expanded his
game even more this year from the little I've seen of him,
to the point where I think he can be a small forward at the
Roberts was the SEC's best player last year, and still is
this year. He's averaging career highs in points, rebounds,
assists and steals, a very well-rounded big man. He's even
posted a triple-double.
The rest of this feature comes Wednesday morning. Stay tuned for teams four and five.