College Basketball: Early All-American Projections
I don't think it's ever an inopportune time to cover college basketball, even when the season is over.
For me, there's always something to write about or project.
This article projects the 2008-09 All-American teams and a few other individual awards.
First Team All-America
Darren Collison, UCLA Point Guard: Collison made the correct decision in returning to UCLA, because he was simply abused in the Final Four.
Stephen Curry, Davidson Guard: Was there any doubt Curry would make this list? His team won't make another Elite Eight run, but he'll still put up big numbers.
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma Power Forward: Griffin will be a double-double machine in 2008-09, as he'll be the recipient of some great passes from freshman guard Willie Warren.
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame Forward: Harangody should be the focal point of an Irish squad that will be a top ten team and potential Big East favorite. Hey Digger Phelps, don't ride him so much this year, okay?
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina Forward: First Team All-American this past season, as well as Player of the Year. Need I say more?
Second Team All-America
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova Point Guard: Villanova loses no one from the 2007-08 Sweet Sixteen team. Reynolds will lead the team in scoring and assists yet again.
Demar DeRozan, USC Guard: I believe DeRozan will be the freshman everyone talks about in 2008-09. With O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson heading to the NBA, DeRozan should score at will.
Tyler Smith, Tennessee Forward: Smith will have to pick up his scoring in 2008-09 with the departures of Chris Lofton and JaJuan Smith. His all-around game is great, though.
Jon Brockman, Washington Forward: Brockman will lead the Pac-10 in rebounding and possibly scoring. He's one of the best players nobody talks about.
Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut Center: Like Darren Collison of UCLA, Thabeet turned down the riches of the NBA to play at least one more season in college. With Thabeet, UConn should be poised for a national title run.
Third Team All-America
Tyreke Evans, Memphis Guard: Another top freshman guard makes the list. Evans will be one of the top scorers in the country because he'll probably put up 27 shot per game.
James Harden, Arizona State Guard: Harden is a great all-around offensive guard and defender. He'll be a top ten pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
Tyrese Rice, Boston College Guard: Rice will without a doubt lead the ACC in scoring in 2008-09.
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky Forward: Patterson missed all of March because of an injury, and should be back healthy for the Wildcats. He should compete for SEC Player of the Year honors.
Kyle Singler, Duke Forward: Duke is a very balanced team, so Singler's numbers aren't as inflated as they could be at another school. However, he'll have to pick up the scoring because of the departure of DeMarcus Nelson.
Fourth Team All-America
Brandon Jennings, Arizona Point Guard: Jerryd Bayless is gone, but if Chase Budinger returns, Jennings' number of assists should increase. He'll be great for Arizona.
A.J. Price, Connecticut Point Guard: Price's knee is a big question mark since he tore his ACL in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. If he comes back strong, UConn should be one of the best squads in America.
Terrence Williams, Louisville Forward: Williams is a box score filler and that won't change in 2008-09.
B.J. Mullens, Ohio State Center: He's the top incoming freshman according to Rivals.com and will live up to the hype for the one year he's at OSU. His versatility will allow him to put up big numbers.
A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt Center: Shan Foster and his ability to take a game over is gone, so Ogilvy is now that guy. Averaging 20 points per game is not out of the question.
Dominic James, Marquette Point Guard
Jrue Holiday, UCLA Guard
Eric Maynor, VCU Point Guard
Jack McClinton, Miami(FL) Guard
Samardo Samuels, Louisville Forward
Player of the Year
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina Forward
Freshman of the Year
Demar DeRozan, USC Guard
Coach of the Year
Mike Brey, Notre Dame
Most Improved Player
Josh Heytvelt, Gonzaga
*An updated list will surely be posted closer to the 2008-09 season*
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