Oscar Tshiebwe, Drew Timme Headline 2022-23 AP Preseason All-America Team

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVOctober 24, 2022

DAYTON, OHIO - MARCH 16:  Oscar Tshiebwe #34 of the Kentucky Wildcats against the Saint Mary's Gaels during the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament  at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 17, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe and Gonzaga's Drew Timme highlight the 2022-23 Associated Press preseason All-America team in men's college basketball.

Both big men were unanimous selections on the first team, which also includes North Carolina forward Armando Bacot, Houston guard Marcus Sasser and Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Tshiebwe won the Naismith Award as the best player in college basketball last season after averaging 17.4 points and 15.2 rebounds per game. He is the first AP National Player of the Year to return to school the following season since Tyler Hansbrough in 2009.

Hansbrough didn't win a second player of the year award, but he did lead North Carolina to a national championship as a senior.

Tshiebwe will hope for similar success with the Wildcats, who enter as the No. 4 team in the preseason AP poll despite a shocking first-round exit in the NCAA tournament last season. Further improvements from their star player could be the difference in the upcoming season.

"He's a better passer. He's a better dribbler. He has a better feel. He talks," Kentucky coach John Calipari said of Tshiebwe. "Offensively, he knows the plays better. And he's authentic."

North Carolina is the top team in the preseason poll thanks to the return of Bacot, who averaged 16.3 points, 13.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game last season. The forward had six straight double-doubles during the Tar Heels' run to the NCAA title game, averaging 16.5 rebounds during the tournament.

With RJ Davis, Leaky Black and Caleb Love also set to return, North Carolina should be a tough team to beat in 2022-23.

Timme is looking for more team success after earning second-team All-America honors in the last two years. The senior averaged 18.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season, helping Gonzaga earn the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.

But a Sweet 16 loss to Arkansas leaves Timme searching for more going into this season.

Sasser missed all but 12 games last season with a toe injury that ended his season in December, but he created high expectations after averaging 17.7 points per game in his limited playing time. Houston went to the Elite Eight without him, but the team could be even scarier this season.

Jackson-Davis was overshadowed by the three Big Ten players who made the All-America First Team last year: Johnny Davis, Kofi Cockburn and Keegan Murray. The Indiana forward won't sneak up on anyone, though, after averaging 18.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game last season.