C Cody Zeller, Indiana (11 first, 110 pts.)
As Schoch put it, "Were you expecting anyone else?"
The only unanimous first-teamer, Zeller is a perfectly fine choice for National Player of the Year. He may or may not have won if we had voted on that award during this process, but you'd be hard-pressed to find an All-American team that doesn't have him on it.
Zeller scores, rebounds, plays strong defense and even has been working on a jump shot out to three-point range. If the deep balls start falling, opposing coaches would be forgiven for simply giving up. Even with the major influx of talent in Bloomington, the offense still works through Zeller, and an injury would seem to be the only thing to stop him this season.
F Doug McDermott, Creighton (nine first, one second, one third, 99 pts.)
The only other player to appear on every ballot, McDermott was a consensus Player of the Year finalist last season, so why should he miss the first team this year?
Polacek wrote, "I will be legitimately surprised if McDermott doesn’t lead the nation in scoring per game this year after finishing in the Top Three in 2011-12."
The loss of point guard Antoine Young may give opponents a bit more leeway to trap and double McDermott, but if he doesn't have the shot, he won't take it.
That basketball IQ will keep garnering him praise, even if he's only scoring 20 PPG instead of 22.
F Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State (five first, four second, one third, 77 pts.)
Where McDermott selects shots like a veteran sommelier selects wines, Thomas is a bit less discriminating. The look can be Dom Perignon or MD 20/20; he'll still take it. With no William Buford and Jared Sullinger, there will be more shots available than at spring break in Cancun. Look for Thomas to take enough that he'll struggle to walk afterwards.
Thomas averaged nearly 20 PPG in the Buckeyes' run to the Final Four, and that experience should give him a taste of what to expect this season. Personally, I'm expecting close to 25 points a night and certainly a Big Ten scoring title, if not the national crown.
G/F Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA (four first, three second, two third, 64 pts.)
Robert Pace said of Muhammad, "If cleared for eligibility with UCLA, Muhammad will be one of the most explosive players college basketball has seen in recent years. A one-and-done guy for sure."
The first part of that statement hangs like a cloud over the rest. The NCAA is in no hurry to give UCLA a definitive ruling on the eligibility of either Muhammad or classmate Kyle Anderson.
Satsky added, "...he's a poor man's Kobe. Explosive dunker, commendable shooter, unique physical specimen and extremely versatile."
He'll be fun to watch for those who stay up late enough to watch the Pac-12. Will the NCAA let us watch him this year, or do we have to wait to see him put on a cap at the NBA draft? Stay tuned.
G Isaiah Canaan, Murray State (4 1st, 3 2nd, 2 3rd, 64 pts.)
Canaan led Murray on a long undefeated run, branding himself on the national radar in the process. This season, he's lost two talented supporting pieces to graduation and one to a case of road rage in a Wal-Mart parking lot. He may have to average 20 or more to fulfill the hefty expectations this year.
Satsky called him an "elite outside shooter, just needs to gain more maturity as a ball-handler," while Vasta praised his "killer instinct that wants the ball to hit the final dagger in opposing teams' hearts."
All of that will be on full display as he tries to score Murray State a few more NCAA tournament wins.
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