Bleacher Report's 2013-14 College Basketball All-American, All-Conference Picks
Doug McDermott made it easy.
After leading the nation in scoring with 26.5 points per game and surpassing the 3,000-point mark for his career, the Creighton senior was the obvious choice for the Bleacher Report National Player of the Year award.
After that, though, picking our All-American and all-conference teams became tough.
Who should fill the final first-team All-American slot, Russ Smith or Nick Johnson? Did Andrew Wiggins deserve to be named Big 12 Player of the Year after no-showing a handful of games? Who was the country’s most-improved player? What about the best sixth man? And the the best coach?
OK, Gregg Marshall made that one easy, too.
After debating and poring over stats for more than three hours at The Peanut and Kansas City (we included a 30-minute break for wings and BLTs) colleague C.J. Moore and I finally came to an agreement on the best and brightest of the 2013-14 season.
Included in this slideshow is the Bleacher Report All-American team as well as the all-league squad for each of the country's top conferences.
We’re sure you’ll agree with some of our picks. Others, maybe not so much. But that’s what makes it fun.
First-Team All-American: Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
With 2,092 career points, Sean Kilpatrick will be remembered as one of the best players in Cincinnati history. And after leading the Bearcats to a share of the AAC title, he’s finally getting the recognition he’s long deserved on the national level, too.
Kilpatrick will enter the postseason averaging 20.9 points for a Cincinnati squad that is 26-5. He also leads the team in assists with 2.5 per game. Kilpatrick’s numbers are even more impressive when you consider that he plays for a team that is otherwise void of offensive stars.
Even with opposing defenses designed to stop him, Kilpatrick finds ways to score or get to the foul stripe, where he shoots 84.4 percent.
First-Team All-American: Doug McDermott, Creighton
Doug McDermott will become the first three-time first-team All-American since Patrick Ewing and Wayman Tisdale in 1985.
No matter how you watch to judge his senior season, it has been a huge success. The Bluejays finished second in the first year of the new Big East and McDermott torched just about any defense he faced.
And no longer can anyone say his numbers are the result of Creighton's competition. The Bluejays moved to the Big East and McDermott put together the best statistical year of his career. He leads the NCAA in scoring at 26.5 points per game and has been even better in conference play, averaging 27.7 points.
First-Team All-American: Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
Not many players in the country are as clutch as Shabazz Napier, who always seems to be at his best in close games. He hit the game-winner to beat Florida on Dec. 2 and scored a season-high 34 points in an overtime win against Memphis on Feb. 15.
Napier completed the regular season averaging career-highs in points (17.8) and rebounds (6.0) while also chipping in 5.2 assists. Those numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Napier averaged 23.8 minutes a game as a freshman for Connecticut’s 2011 NCAA championship squad.
Napier also deserves credit for staying loyal to Connecticut after academic-progress-rate issues caused the Huskies to be banned from last year’s NCAA tournament. He could’ve elected to play his final two seasons elsewhere, but Napier remained true to his word and remained in Stoors.
First-Team All-American: Jabari Parker, Duke
Duke’s gaudy offensive stats (the Blue Devils average 79.8 points per game) wouldn’t be possible without Jabari Parker, who was a shoo-in for first-team honors.
Parker averages 19.2 points and 9.0 rebounds—both team-highs—while shooting a respectable 47.8 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three-point range.
A 6’8” wing, Parker seems to play his best when the lights are the brightest. He had 27 points against Kansas in the Champions Classic, 23 points against UCLA at Madison Square Garden and a season-high 30 points in the regular-season finale against North Carolina.
First-Team All-American: Russ Smith, Louisville
Russ Smith didn't exactly retire his Russdiculous persona, but he has become a much wiser version of himself in his senior season.
Take Saturday, for instance. Smith, the guy who has always loved to shoot, took only two shots and dished out 13 assists in a blowout win over Connecticut.
Smith has done whatever Rick Pitino has needed him to do this year. He's averaging a career-best 4.8 assists and still leads the Cards in scoring at 17.5 points per game.
And if you're not convinced yet that he's not just a chucker without a conscience, look at his shooting percentages—39.4 percent from deep and 51.7 percent inside the arc. He's evolved into a much headier, patient scorer than the old Russdiculous.
G Kyle Anderson, UCLA, sophomore - At 6’9”, Anderson has a unique skill set for his frame. He averages 6.6 assists as UCLA’s primary ball-handler but also leads the team in rebounds with 8.7 per contest. He ranks second on the Bruins with 14.9 points per game. One of college basketball’s most improved players, Anderson will likely enter this summer’s NBA draft.
G Nick Johnson, Arizona, junior - The Wildcats’ leading scorer with 16.1 points per game, Johnson could’ve easily been a first-team pick. He’s an excellent defender who plays his best in big games but, more importantly, he’s blossomed into one of the best floor leaders in the country. His command of the huddle is one of the main reasons Arizona is regarded by some as the best team in America.
G Marcus Paige, North Carolina, sophomore - The 6’1” point guard is the key reason the Tar Heels were able to avoid the potential distractions caused by the departure of Reggie Bullock and the dismissal of P.J. Hairston. Paige averages 17.1 points and shoots 39.5 percent from three-point range for a squad that has won 12 of its last 13 games. He holds the team together, on and off the court.
G Nik Stauskas, Michigan, sophomore - One season after helping spark Michigan to the NCAA title game, Stauskas has blossomed into the best player in the Big Ten and a potential first-round pick in this summer’s NBA draft. He’s averaging 17.4 points and shooting 45.8 percent from beyond the arc for the Wolverines, who won the league title outright.
G Fred VanVleet, Wichita State, sophomore - One of 10 finalists for the Naismith National Player of the Year award, VanVleet is the leader for the undefeated Shockers. He averages a team-high 5.3 assists per game and ranks third on the squad in scoring with 11.8 points. The Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year has had just four games all season with more than two turnovers.
F Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico, senior - One season after averaging 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds, Bairstow had a monster senior season by averaging 20.3 points and 7.2 boards while also contributing 1.5 blocks. Bairstow helped New Mexico to a 24-6 record and a second-place finish in the Mountain West Conference by reaching double figures in all but one game.
G Tyler Ennis, Syracuse, freshman - There were times this season when Ennis—and not Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker—was the top freshman in college basketball. The point guard averages a team-high 5.6 assists and also contributes 12.3 points per game. His 40-foot game-winner against Pittsburgh was one of the biggest highlights of the season. Syracuse wouldn’t have won its first 25 games without Ennis.
G DeAndre Kane, Iowa State, senior - Other than UCLA’s Kyle Anderson, the 6’4” Kane might be the most versatile guard in the country because of his ability to impact the game in so many facets. He averages 17.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per contest. The Marshall transfer helped the Cyclones win their first 14 games before going 11-7 in the nation’s toughest conference.
G Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, freshman - A preseason first-team All-American, Wiggins struggled with his consistency for most of the season. But he’s been noticeably more assertive the past few weeks—a good sign for the Jayhawks as they enter the postseason. Wiggins is averaging 16.8 points, the best mark ever by a Kansas freshman. And he’s one of the top defensive players in the Big 12. He will likely be one of the top three players selected in this summer’s NBA draft.
G Scottie Wilbekin, Florida, senior - There’s no question who runs the show for the nation’s No. 1-ranked team. Wilbekin averages 12.9 points and 3.9 assists, but it’s the point guard’s leadership and clutch play that benefits Florida the most. Wilbekin has had multiple off-court issues during his time in Gainesville, but he seems to have turned his life around as a senior, something that has benefited a Gators team with an excellent shot of making the Final Four.
Honorable Mention: All-Americans
F Cleanthony Early, Wichita State, senior
F Rodney Hood, Duke, sophomore
F Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin, junior
F Julius Randle, Kentucky, freshman
F T.J. Warren, North Carolina State, sophomore
G Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia, sophomore
G Roy Devyn Marble, Iowa, senior
G Gary Harris, Michigan State, sophomore
G Tyler Haws, BYU, junior
G Xavier Thames, San Diego State, senior
Player of the Year: Doug McDermott, Creighton
The race for National Player of the Year is not even a race. If it were, Doug McDermott would have lapped the field by now.
McDermott has put together a historic career and the finale just keeps getting better. On Saturday night, he scored a career-high 45 points and became the eighth player in NCAA history to reach 3,000 points. He's one of three players to ever score 3,000 and grab 1,000 rebounds.
Considering how basketball has changed with most great players never making it past their sophomore seasons, he could be the last to reach these landmarks.
All that's left now is to see how far McDermott can take the Bluejays in the NCAA tourney and how high he'll end up on the all-time scoring list—he's currently sixth and 238 points behind second place. If Creighton could somehow get to the Big East final and the national championship game and McDermott kept his season average (26.5) the rest of the way, he'd end up as the second-leading scorer in NCAA history.
Coach of the Year: Gregg Marshall, Wichita State
How could anyone win this award other than Gregg Marshall, whose squad accomplished something that hasn’t been done in 23 years? At 34-0, Marshall’s Shockers will be first team to enter the NCAA tournament without a loss since UNLV in 1990-91.
Wichita State is also the first team to finish the regular season unbeaten since St. Joseph’s in 2003-04. That unit, however, lost in the first round of its conference tournament, whereas Wichita State won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament for the first time since 1987.
This isn’t the first time Marshall has made a name for himself on a national stage. It was only a year ago when the Shockers stunned the college basketball world by defeating schools such as Pittsburgh, Gonzaga and Ohio State en route to the Final Four. Wichita State lost 72-68 to eventual NCAA champion Louisville, but Marshall’s team definitely showed it belonged.
This Wichita State team is better last year’s group, but even if the Shockers don’t reach the Final Four, Marshall’s excellence is undeniable. He was at the top of his profession in 2013-14.
Freshman of the Year: Jabari Parker, Duke
Unlike most of the highly-touted freshmen in the Class of 2013, Parker lived up to the hype from the beginning of the regular season until the end. While some first-year players struggled with consistency issues, Parker played at a high level for the entire season.
Parker, who averages team highs in points (19.2) and rebounds (9.0), is projected as a top-three pick in this summer’s NBA draft. He told reporters last week that he hadn’t made up his mind about returning to school, but at this point it’s difficult to imagine him doing anything other than turning pro.
Transfer of the Year: DeAndre Kane, Iowa State
It’s tough to imagine where the Cyclones would be without Kane, who starred at Marshall for three seasons before sparking Iowa State to a 23-7 record. With Kane leading the way, the Cyclones won their first 14 games before tying Texas for third in the Big 12 standings with an 11-7 record.
Kane will enter the postseason averaging a career-high 17.1 points while shooting 49.3 percent from the field. He has 2,008 points in his career, but Kane’s biggest attribute is his versatility, as he also contributes 5.9 assists and 6.7 rebounds, a phenomenal number for a point guard.
Kane’s best game came in a Jan. 7 victory over Baylor, when he flirted with a triple-double by tallying 30 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Craft, Ohio State
With a 23-8 record, Ohio State has been a bit of a disappointment. And Aaron Craft has regressed a tad offensively. He’s averaging 9.4 points per contest after scoring 10 points a game as a junior, and his 4.5 assist-per-game average is lower than his sophomore- and junior-year mark.
On the other end of the court, though, the narrative is the same.
No guard in America is as good defensively as Craft, the Big Ten's all-time leader in steals. The senior is averaging a career-high 2.5 steals per game and continues to shut down marquee players on opposing teams. He had six steals against Iowa and seven against American. On nine occasions, Craft had four or more steals in a game. He’s as pesky as they come.
Sixth Man of the Year: Dorian Finney-Smith, Florida
Dorian Finney-Smith is one of the most difficult match-ups in the country. At 6’8”, the sophomore transfer from Virginia Tech has the size and aggression to mix it up in the paint, where he averages a team-high 6.9 rebounds.
But Finney-Smith is also versatile enough to do damage from the outside, where he’s made 34 three-pointers en route to a scoring average of 9.4 points per game. Finney-Smith might be the X-factor that gets Florida over the hump after three straight losses in the Elite Eight.