2012-13 College Basketball: Preseason Player of the Year in Every D1 Conference

Doug Brodess@DougbrodessCorrespondent IJune 20, 2012

2012-13 College Basketball: Preseason Player of the Year in Every D1 Conference

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    Even though the 2012 NBA Finals are not over yet, is it too early to think about who will be the outstanding players of each college basketball conference in the 2012-13 season? Nah!

    Each conference has a "best player" heading into next season...a Preseason Player of the Year.

    The following is a list of the top player in each of the 32 Division I conferences for the 2011-12 season.   

America East Conference: Chase Plummer (UMBC)

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    Chase Plummer was a good player on a bad University of Maryland Baltimore County (4-26; 3-13 AE) team.

    If the 6'6" sophomore post, who averaged 15.4 ppg and 7.4 rpg in 11-12, takes another big step forward next season, the Retrievers won't be dwelling in the America East cellar for long.

    The fact that Plummer put up these kind of numbers while many times being triple-teamed makes them that much more impressive.

Atlantic 10: Chris Gaston (Fordham)

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    Chris Gaston returns to close out what has been a fantastic collegiate career at Fordham.

    Going into his senior season, the 6'7" forward has scored over 1,400 points and grabbed over 900 rebounds.

    Gaston, who led the A-10 in rebounding last year (9.9 RPG) and was the conference's No. 3 scorer (17.1 PPG), looks to help a very young Rams' (10-19; 3-13 A10) roster get out of the conference cellar.

Atlantic Coast Conference: C.J. Leslie (NC State)

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    One of the big reasons that the Wolf Pack made it to the 2012 Sweet 16 is the elevated play of C.J. Leslie.

    The 6'8" rising junior forward led Mark Gottfried's balanced attack in scoring (14.7 PPG) and was the Pack's No. 2 rebounder (7.5 RPG).

    Leslie looks to come into his own as NC State could very well enter 2012-13 as the favorite to win the ACC title for the first time since 1987.

Atlantic Sun: Torrey Craig (USC Upstate)

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    Even though he was just a sophomore this past season, USC Upstate's Torrey Craig was named to the

    2012 Lou Henson All-American Team for the top mid-major players in the nation.

    The 6'6" forward led the Atlantic Sun this past season in scoring (16.8 PPG) and was the conference's No. 2 rebounder (7.9 RPG).

    The Spartans (21-13; 13-4 Atlantic Sun) could be good for the next couple seasons. Most of their statistical leaders in 2011-12 were freshmen or sophomores.

Big 12: Pierre Jackon (Baylor)

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    After starring at College of Southern Idaho (JC), Pierre Jackson had an exceptional first season for Baylor (27-7; 12-6) as the Bears made an Elite Eight appearance.

    In the 2011-12 season, Jackson was the No. 3 assists man (5.8 APG) in the Big 12 and the team's leading scorer (14 PPG).

    With the departures of Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller, Scott Drew will count on the 5'10" guard to continue to run the show and score at a high level while reloading with the No. 5 recruiting class of 2012.

Big East: Vincent Council (Providence)

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    Vincent Council may be one of the best under-the-radar guards in the nation, and Providence might be the most improved college basketball team in 2012-13.

    If Council played for someone other than the Friars (15-17; 4-14 Big East), he would be considered one of the top floor leaders in the country.

    As a junior, the 6'2" guard from Brooklyn led the Big East in assists (7.5 APG) and his team in scoring (15.9 PPG). Council also pulled down 4.1 RPG.

    Because Ed Cooley is bringing in the No. 6 recruiting class of 2012, Council should have plenty of options to work with as Providence looks to move out of 15th (of 16 teams) place in the conference.

Big South: Stan Okoye (VMI)

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    Stan Okoye returns for his senior season having scored 1480 points and pulled down 672 rebounds in his first three years at VMI.

    Okoye was the Keydets leading rebounder (7.2 RPG) and No. 2 scorer (17.1 PPG) in 2011-12.

    The 6'5" forward has put up 25 career double-doubles on one of the highest scoring teams in the country (79.7 PPG).

Big Sky: Will Cherry (Montana)

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    Will Cherry has been racking up awards since he arrived on campus in Missoula three years ago.

    Cherry has been selected to the Mid-Major Freshman All-American team by CollegeInsider.com, twice to the Big Sky All Conference team and was named the conference's 2012 Defensive Player of the Year.

    The 6'1" guard from Oakland actively impacts the game on both ends of the court. 

    In 2011-12, he averaged 15.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.3 APG and 2.6 steals per game (No. 6 in the nation).

    Watch for the Grizzlies (25-7; 15-1 Big Sky) to make it back to the NCAA Tournament again in 2013.

Big Ten: Cody Zeller (Indiana)

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    One of the big reasons that Indiana got over the hump last year was because of Cody Zeller.

    As a freshman, the 6'11" post player led the Big Ten in field goal percentage (62.6 percent), and was the Hoosiers top scorer (15.6 PPG) and rebounder (6.6 RPG).

    Zeller's game doesn't supply Sports Center with many mind-blowing highlights. He simply gets things done and leaves the Top Ten list to others.

    Indiana will start the 2012-13 season ranked either No. 1 or 2 in the nation and as favorites to win the Big Ten. 

Big West: D.J. Seeley (Cal State Fullerton)

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    D.J. Seeley came into the Big West with a bang, being named the 2012 conference Newcomer of the Year.

    The 6'4" transfer from Cal led the Titans in scoring (16.8 PPG) and was No. 2 in rebounds (5.4 RPG).

    In 2011-12, Seeley had 12 games of 20 or more points and shot 43.4 percent from beyond the arc.

    Keep track of Cal State Fullerton this year. If they can blend their four JuCo transfers with Seeley and Kwame Vaughn (15.4 PPG) they are going to be a tough team to handle.

Colonial Athletic Association: Frantz Massenat (Drexel)

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    In spite of winning the CAA regular season and posting a 29-7 record, the Drexel Dragons came up short of making the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

    Don't blame, Frantz Massenat, Bruiser Flint's PG. He led the conference in 3-point shooting (44.2 percent and the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) and assists (4.8 apg).

    Because he plays outside of the media spotlight, the 6'4" multi-talented rising junior is one of the best floor generals in the country that few people know. 

    Massenat was named to the 2012 Lou Henson All-American team.

Conference USA: Keith Clanton (Central Florida)

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    Keith Clanton paced the Knights (22-11; 10-6 Conference USA) in scoring (14.6 PPG) and rebounding (8.1 RPG) this past season.

    The 6'8" rising senior, a 2012 first team all-conference selection, has all of the tools to be one of the better bigs in the country.

    Clanton is only the second player in school history to be given this honor since UCF entered the league in 2005.

Great West: Jeremy Robinson (Chicago State)

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    Don't mess with Jeremy Robinson! He's a tough-as-nails power forward looking to have a big-time senior season.

    The 6'9" rising senior was the Great West's No. 3 scorer (13.6 PPG) and No.3 rebounder (7.5 RPG).

Horizon League: Ray McCallum (Detroit)

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    Even though Ray McCallum was one of the best point guards in the Class of 2010, he decided to stay home and play for his dad at Detroit (22-13; 11-7 Horizon).

    The versatile 6'2" rising junior was the No. 2 scorer (15.6 PPG) and No. 3 in the assists (3.9 APG) in the league.

    McCallum was named to the 2012 Lou Henson All-American Team for the best players from mid-major schools and was a 2012 All-Horizon League first-team selection.

Ivy League: Kyle Casey (Harvard)

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    Kyle Casey helped Harvard continue its magical ride in the 2011-12 season.

    Casey, an All-Ivy League first teamer, led the Crimson (26-5; 12-2 Ivy) in scoring (11.3) and was their No. 2 rebounder (5.5 RPG). 

    Because of Casey and a stellar recruiting class, look for Tommy Amaker's squad to still be the team-to-beat in league play.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: George Beamon (Manhattan)

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    George Beamon has led the MAAC in scoring for two consecutive seasons, scoring over 1,100 points in the last two years.

    The 6'4" rising senior wing was the No. 4 three-point shooter in the conference (42.8 percent).

    Beamon, who led the Jaspers in rebounding (5.6 RPG)  and steals (1.5 SPG), was selected as an All-MAAC first teamer in 2011-12.

    Watch for Manhattan to challenge for the conference title and get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.

Mid-American Conference: Rian Pearson (Toledo)

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    Rian Pearson is a versatile guard who gets a lot of things done.

    The 6'4" guard tied for the league lead in scoring (16.4 PPG), was third in rebounding (8.3 RPG) and tied for sixth in steals (1.6 SPG).

    Pearson ranked second in the conference in 2011-12 with 10 double-doubles.

    The entire Rockets' roster that went 19-17 (7-9 MAC) last year will return to challenge for the conference title.

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: Tahj Tate (Delawarer State)

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    Tahj Tate, the 2012 MEAC Rookie of the Year, was the No. 5 scorer (16.1 PPG) in the nation among D1 freshmen.

    The 6'4" guard led the Hornets in scoring and was their No. 2 assists man (2.7 APG).

    Because of a pre-conference schedule that featured road games against teams such as Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Georgia, George Washington and North Carolina State, DSU posted a 15-14 record.

    Tate's outstanding performance should help the Hornets challenge for the conference title.

Missouri Valley Conference: Doug McDermott (Creighton)

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    Doug McDermott, a 2012 first team All-American, returns to lead Creighton for at least one more season.

    The rising junior was both the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and the MVC Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

    McDermott finished his 2011–2012 season as the No.3 scorer in the nation, averaging 22.9 PPG.

    His 801 points, 307 field goals and 48.6 percent shooting accuracy from three-point range were all school records for a single season.

    The sky is the limit for this 6'7" forward.

Mountain West Conference: Jamaal Franklin (San Diego State)

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    Jamaal Franklin is one of the best shooting guards on the west coast.

    As a sophomore, Franklin was named as the 2012 MWC Player of the Year, leading the conference in scoring (17.2 PPG) and was the conference's No. 4 rebounder (8.4 RPG).

    The 6'5" guard is a relentless penetrator who can finish in traffic and get to the line at will.

    With Franklin's return, the Aztecs look to be a favorite to win the Mountain West and make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

Northeast Conference: Julian Boyd (LIU)

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    As a junior, Julian Boyd was named the NEC Player of the Year, scoring 17.4 PPG and pulling down 9.5 RPG.

    At 6’7” and 230 lbs, Boyd is able to do damage both inside and on the perimeter.

    Over his first three years in Brooklyn, he has racked up 1,231 points, 754 rebounds and 29 double-doubles.

    Look for LIU to win the NEC again and make another March Madness appearance in 2012-13.

Ohio Valley Conference: Isaiah Canaan (Murray State)

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    Much to the delight of Murray State fans everywhere, Isaiah Canaan is returning for his senior season.

    In 2011-12, the 6'0" guard led the Racers on a magical ride (31-2; 15-1 OVC), scoring 19.2 PPG and handing out 3.7 APG.

    Canaan is a sharpshooter, knocking down 47.3 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

    Although MSU is losing some key starters, look for Murray State to be back in the NCAA Tournament again in 2013.

Pac-12: Shabbaz Muhammad (UCLA)

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    Predicting a freshman to be a major conference's Player of the Year is usually not advisable...

    ...but Shabazz Muhammad is just that good.

    Muhammad comes to UCLA as the top perimeter player in the Class of 2012.

    While he won't have to do it all himself, the 6'6" beast will help the Bruins (for one year, at least) get back into the national conversation.

Patriot League: C.J. McCollum (Lehigh)

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    How do you top taking down Duke in the NCAA Tournament? C.J. McCollum is going to see what he can do to continue to elevate the Mountain Hawks to new heights in 2012-13.

    McCollum has already been the Patriot League Player of the Year as a freshmen (2010) and a junior (2012).

    Last season, the 6'3" guard led the PL in scoring (21.9 PPG), was the No. 2 rebounder (6.5 RPG) and was No. 5 in assists (3.5 APG).

    McCollum should be in the running for several national awards this season.

Southeastern Conference: Kenny Boynton (Florida)

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    Kenny Boynton is one of the top returning scorers in D1 hoops.

    In his first three seasons in Gainsville, the 6'2" guard has tallied nearly 1,600 points.

    In 2011-12, Boynton averaged 16.3 PPG, hitting on 41 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

    Even with the loss of Erving Walker and Bradley Beal, look for Florida to challenge for the SEC title.

Southern Conference: De'Mon Brooks (Davidson)

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    De'Mon Brooks returns to Davidson as the 2012 Southern Confernce Player of the Year.

    The 6'7" forward led the Wildcats in both scoring (16 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg).

    Brooks is the kind of player that could help Davidson not only tear through the Southern Conference but also make a nice run in the NCAA Tournament next March.

Southland Conference: Antonio Bostic (Stephen F Austin)

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    Antonio Bostic is the only non-senior of the 2012 All-Southland Conference First Team.

    The 6'2" guard from Shawnee, KS averaged 11.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 2.8 APG.

    SFA should be ready to challenge for the league title in 2012-13. 

Southwestern Athletic Conference: Kelsey Howard (Jackson State)

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    Kelsey Howard had a nice first season for the Jackson State Tigers.

    The 6'3" sophomore guard from Vicksburg averaged 14.6 PPG and 4.1 RPG.

    The Tigers have almost nowhere to go but up in 2012-13, after logging a 7-24 record (5-13 SWAC) in 11-12.

The Summit League: Nate Wolters (South Dakota State)

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    Nate Wolters is a do-everything guard for SDSU.

    The 6'4" guard was the No. 9 scorer in the nation (21.9 PPG)

    Wolters led the Jackrabbits in scoring, rebounding (5.1 RPG), assists (5.9 APG) and steals (1.7 spg).

    The 2012 Lou Henson All-American selection was one of the main reasons that South Dakota State not only made it to the 2012 NCAA Tournament but also gave Baylor a run for its money in the opening round.

    Look for them to play a similar role in this year's March Madness.

Sun Belt Conference: Tony Mitchell (North Texas)

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    Tony Mitchell will be one of the best forwards in the country in 2012-13.

    The Missouri transfer didn't disappoint in his first year playing for the Mean Green.

    Mitchell led UNT in scoring (14.7 PPG), rebounding (10.3 RPG), blocks (3.0 BPG), shooting percentage (56.7 percent) and three-point shooting (43.9 percent).

    Watch for North Texas to be an under-the-radar team come March Madness. They could surprise some power conference schools.

West Coast Conference: Matthew Dellavedova (St. Mary's)

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    Matthew Dellavedova is one of the most versatile guards in the country.

    The Australian native was the WCC's leading assist man (6.4 APG), as well as being the league's No. 2 scorer (16.7 PPG).

    Dellavedova was a 2012 Lou Henson All-American selection, won the 2012 West Coast Conference's Player of the Year Award and was a Bob Cousy Award (top PG) finalist.

    St. Mary's may not duplicate their 2011-12 season (27-5; 14-2 WCC) next year, but the Gaels will be right in the thick of things in one of the most competitive leagues in CBB.

Western Athletic Conference: Preston Medlin (Utah State)

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    The biggest challenge in picking a POY for the WAC is figuring out what schools actually make up the conference.

    After sorting through it all, Preston Medlin looks to be a great candidate.

    Medllin averaged 16.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 3.3 APG while shooting 50.0 percent from the field, 43.5 percent from 3-point range and 79.5 percent at the free-throw line for the Aggies.

    The 6'4" guard was the first USU sophomore to be selected for first team all-league honors.