Breaking Down College Basketball's All-American Candidates
For the first time in a few years there is no clear-cut Player of the Year in college basketball, and it seems there is hardly a lock for the All-American first team as well.
Many players have stepped up big on the national stage this year and earned consideration for the honor. Unfortunately, there are only five spots on the A-A first team, and as of now they are all up for grabs.
I will break down what the top players need to do to be recognized as a first-team All-American. The players are listed in alphabetical order.
Da'Sean Butler —West Virginia
Butler doesn't have a superstar image, which could fool those who follow college basketball loosely. He has made a name for himself this year, and is a great all-around player who can pass, rebound, and shoot.
He exploded Saturday in a comeback victory over St. John's, scoring 33 points and hitting seven three-pointers. He must continue to play consistently and lead the Mountaineers to the top of the Big East to make the first team.
Sherron Collins —Kansas
Arguably the best floor general in the nation, he has hit his fair share of clutch shots. His stats are down this year with the emergence of Xavier Henry, but his production on the court is still strong.
This year for Kansas is similar to two years ago when they won the National Championship; they are deep which is a factor that could prevent Collins from making the first team. So long as Kansas keeps winning, Collins' stock will continue to go up.
Devan Downey —South Carolina
Playing on an average team has prevented Downey from gaining star status in the past, but after leading the Gamecocks to an upset victory over then-No. 1 Kentucky he has proven himself as one of the most electrifying players in college basketball.
His small size makes him vulnerable on defense, and the fact that he plays on an average team in the SEC will prevent him from making the first team, but second-team is a strong possibility.
Wesley Johnson —Syracuse
Jim Boeheim said last year that Johnson was a special player, and would make first-team All-Big East. While he may have suspected it, no one else outside of the Syracuse program expected Johnson to make the impact he has this season.
His length on defense and threat as a perimeter shooter has made him one of the most feared players in the nation. If Syracuse can hold on to win the Big East you can bet Wesley Johnson will be a first-team All-American.
Scottie Reynolds —Villanova
His game-winning shot against Pittsburgh in last season's NCAA tournament was only a sign of things to come this season. The Wildcats suffered their first loss in conference play on Saturday, but Reynolds still played big, scoring 24 points and dishing out six assists.
Same goes for Scottie as did Wes Johnson, if 'Nova comes out on top of the Big East he will most likely find himself on the All-American first team.
Damion James —Texas
Texas has been going through a rough stretch, and James has struggled in some games and kept the Longhorns competitive in others. He leads the Big 12 in rebounding.
Luke Harangody —Notre Dame
Harangody's image suffers from playing on an average team, not to mention the Irish play in the deepest conference in college basketball. His dominance on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor is unmatched, and at 6'7" he usually isn't the tallest player on the floor.
Any All-American voter would be hard pressed to find a way to not put Harangody on the first team.
Jon Scheyer —Duke
After Elliot Williams transferred the Blue Devils were left with two true guards on the roster, neither of whom had played much at point guard.
Scheyer stepped into the role, and has shown that he is not only a lights-out shooter but an excellent passer as well. If Duke wins the ACC you can bet Scheyer will make first team.
Evan Turner— Ohio State
No one in the nation is playing at the same level of Evan "The Villain" Turner right now. After coming back from an injury that sidelined him for six games he has been better than ever.
He is the best all-around player in the nation, and leads his team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals for the second straight year. All he needs to do to solidify himself as an All-American is not get hurt again.
John Wall —Kentucky
The unrivaled number one overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft has lived up to the tremendous amount of hype placed on him, and is arguably the most talented player in the nation.
The freshman has followed suit after Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans and has thrived in John Calipari's system. As long as he stays out of a major slump, he will be named to the All-American first team among many other honors.
Here is my tentative All-American first team:
G—John Wall, University of Kentucky
G—Jon Scheyer, Duke University
G—Evan Turner, Ohio State University
F—Damion Jame, University of Texas
F—Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
Player of the Year: Evan Turner
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