The Hoops Manifesto has teamed up with the best hoops writers in cyberspace to vote on our 2011/12 preseason NCAA All-American teams. These teams will be updated monthly going forward until the end of the college hoops season next spring. Here's the 15 best players, in our estimation, heading into the NCAA season, which tips off next week.
Voters: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, Perry Missner & Ryan Curi from College Fantasy Hoops Insider, Kevin Cacabelos of Seatown Sports, Ray Bala who writes The Can Ball Reporton Raptors HQ, Raphielle Johnson from CollegeHoops.net, Adam Francis from Raptors HQ and Jamie D. Gilkey of Suns Stuff't.
First Team All-Americans
Jordan Taylor - Guard - Wisconsin - Senior
2010/11 - 18.1 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.1 rpg
Tu Holloway - Guard - Xavier - Senior
2010/11 - 19.7 ppg, 5.4 apg, 5.0 rpg
Terrence Jones - Forward - Kentucky - Sophomore
2010/11 - 15.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg
Harrison Barnes - Forward - North Carolina - Sophomore
2010/11 - 15.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.4 apg
Jared Sullinger - Forward - Ohio State - Sophomore
2010/11 - 17.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.2 apg
Synopsis: And the sophomores shall inherit the NCAA basketball earth (at least this upcoming season). Six out of our 15 choices for preseason All-Americans are second-year players, with three leading the way on our First Team. Jared Sullinger proved to be a man among boys last season, and the newly slimmed-down sophomore version is already striking fear into the hearts of teams on the Buckeyes' schedule this upcoming season. North Carollina's Harrison Barnes famously became the first-ever freshman named a preseason AP All-American last season, then struggled to live up to such lofty expectations. However, after the critics buried him and most of the nation stopped paying attention, Barnes really came into his own and was dominant at times late in the season. Terrence Jones will have to fight for minutes and touches with another talented freshman class in Lexington, but his unique package of inside-outside skills should allow him to rise above the fray. The "old men" on our First Team are senior point guards Jordan Taylor and Tu Holloway, who are expected to continue to fill up all columns of the stat sheet again this season for Wisconsin and Xavier, respectively.
Second Team All-Americans
Ashton Gibbs - Guard - Pittsburgh - Senior
2010/11 - 16.8 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.4 rpg
John Jenkins - Guard - Vanderbilt - Junior
2010/11 - 19.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 100-245 3Pts
Jeremy Lamb - Guard/Forward - Connecticut - Sophomore
2010/11 - 11.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.6 apg
Perry Jones III - Forward - Baylor - Sophomore
2010/11 - 13.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.2 apg
John Henson - Forward - North Carolina - Junior
2010/11 - 11.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.2 bpg
Synopsis: Jeremy Lamb's up and down freshman year definitely finished off on an upswing, as his strong play in the NCAA Tournament helped UConn capture the title. If the Huskies are going to come anywhere close to a repeat performance this season, the bulk of the responsibility will lay on Lamb's slender shoulders. Perry Jones III was projected to be a top-three pick in last June's draft - instead he's the key cog for a Baylor team that big things are expected off. Speaking of big expectations, for once big things are expected from Vanderbilt this year, led by sharp-shooter John Jenkins. Long and athletic John Henson will be the defensive anchor for a North Carolina frontcourt that we deemed the best in the nation. And as the only returning Pitt player who average double-figure scoring last season, Ashton Gibbs will be running the show for the Panthers this season.
Third Team All-Americans
Austin Rivers - Guard - Duke - Freshman
2010/11 - N/A
Kendall Marshall - Guard - North Carolina - Sophomore
2010/11 - 6.2 ppg, 6.2 apg, 2.1 rpg
William Buford - Forward - Ohio State - Senior
2010/11 - 14.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.9 apg
Anthony Davis - Forward - Kentucky - Freshman
2010/11 - N/A
Tyler Zeller - Center - North Carolina - Senior
2010/11 - 15.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Synopsis: The only freshmen on our list show up on our Third Team: Doc Rivers' son Austin is a supremely confident scorer and the most complete offensive player in this year's freshman class; Kentucky's Anthony Davis is being compared to a young Kevin Garnett (not too much pressure there, right Anthony?!). The third and fourth Tar Heels to make our list are Kendall Marshall, who helped resurrect the team's season last year after taking over the point guard reigns, and Tyler Zeller who supplies the team with a lowpost scoring punch. And Ohio State's William Buford should get plenty of open looks with big man Jared Sullinger collapsing defenses.
Check back with The Hoops Manifesto every Sunday (starting this week) as we unveil our weekly Fab Four Plus One: the four best teams in the NCAA right now, plus the best non-BCS team in the nation.