2011-12 College Basketball: Preseason Player of the Year in Every D1 Conference
The 2011-12 College Basketball season doesn't officially start for four-plus months.
Over this time, players will elevate their individual games through putting in hours in the gym and in the weight room.
While coaches are limited to what they can do to lead workouts, that doesn't mean that the 346 Division I coaches won't lay out a very detailed offseason plan for their players and for their teams.
Each conference has a "best player" heading into next season...a Preseason Player of the Year.
Most of the time, it is a returning player. In some uncommon cases, it could be a college transfer or even an incoming high school player.
The following is a list of the top player in each of the 31 Division I conferences for the 2011-12 season.
America East Conference: Chris De La Rosa
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
5'10" 170 lbs.
Even though UMBC struggled through a 5-25 season (4-12 AEC), the Retrievers will look forward to what senior point guard Chris De La Rosa will do next season.
De La Rosa (second team all conference selection) was the assists leader and was the No. 3 scorer in the America East.
The following is an interview with and game footage of Chris De La Rosa
Atlantic 10: Tu Holloway
6'0" 185 lbs.
Tu Holloway made a lot of people in the Musketeer Basketball world happy when he announced that he was returning for his senior year at Xavier.
Holloway, selected as a 2010-11 Third Team All-American by The Associated Press and the A-10's Player of the Year, will be one of the top guards in nation.
He is the real deal, an excellent combination of scorer and playmaker who is willing to go to the boards.
Xavier has been 77-25 during Holloway's three years in the program.
Atlantic Coast Conference: Harrison Barnes
6'8" 210 lbs.
Before he ever played a game in Chapel Hill, Harrison Barnes was selected as a preseason All-American, and the expectations among the Tar Heel faithful went through the roof.
After a sluggish start, Harrison Barnes became one of the big reasons why North Carolina made it to the Elite Eight of last year's NCAA Tournament.
With Barnes, and his fellow frontline friends (John Henson and Tyler Zeller) withdrawing from the NBA Draft, UNC looks to be one of the favorites to make it to the 2012 Final Four.
Here are highlights from Harrison Barnes' 40-point freshman year outburst against Clemson
Atlantic Sun: Markeith Cummings
6'7" 230 lbs
Pts: 18.3 ppg
Reb: 5.0 rpg
Markeith Cummings returns to Kennesaw State as the Atlantic Sun's leading scorer.
At the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, Cummings was named to the All-Atlantic Sun Conference Second Team for the second straight year.
Big 12: Perry Jones III
6'11" 235 lbs.
Perry Jones III will not only be the top player in the Big 12 in '11-12, but he will be one of the leading players in college basketball.
For his size, Jones has an exceptionally versatile skill set, able to operate down low or step out and hit jumpers.
While Baylor had a disappointing season last year, watch for Scott Drew and his bears to be a Top 25 team or better as things get rolling in this coming October.
Take a look at PJ3 doin' his thang!
Big East: Jeremy Lamb
6'5" 185 lbs.
While Jeremy Lamb had a good freshman year at UConn, he had an exceptional NCAA Tournament (16.2 ppg; 58 percent from the floor; 63 percent from beyond the arc).
While Huskies will definitely miss Kemba Walker, they have definitely found someone who can step into the role as their go-to scorer in Lamb.
Big South: Stan Okoye
6'5" 195 lbs.
Stan Okoye may only be 6'5", but he plays bigger.
Okoye rung up 11 games of 20 points or more in 2010-11, putting up nine double-doubles this past season.
Big Sky: Will Cherry
6'1" 177 lbs.
The Grizzlies are going to really rely on this versatile backcourt leader.
Cherry can do it all and will have a break-out season as a junior.
Sit down and see Will Cherry in action!
Big Ten: Jared Sullinger
6'9" 280 lbs.
Jared Sullinger was not only one of the best freshman in the nation in 2010-11...he was one of the best players overall.
His decision to come back surprised many, because he was projected to be the top pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Ohio State will challenge for the NCAA Championship with Sullinger taking over the middle.
Big West: Orlando Johnson
6'5" 205 lbs.
It was a huge boost to UCSB basketball when Orlando Johnson decided to return to campus for his senior year.
Johnson has been a two-time Big West scoring champion, and the Gauchos have been to the NCAA Tournament the last two years.
Johnson was the Big West Player of the Year in 2010.
Colonial Athletic Association: Bradford Burgess
6'6" 225 lbs.
While everyone in the college basketball world learned about VCU and Shaka Smart this past March, Bradford Burgess broke onto the national scene as the Rams made their unbelievable run during the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Burgess is an outstanding scorer with a very nice touch from beyond the arc (43 percent).
Conference USA: Cameron Moore
6'10" 230 lbs.
Cameron Moore will be one of the top Big Men in the country next year.
Moore showed everyone that he could be a force to reckon with, putting up 13 double-doubles in 2010-11.
Great West Conference: Troy West
6'4" 170 lbs.
Troy Huff is already considered one of the best players in Fighting Sioux history and he's just getting started.
The long, skilled combo guard finished up his freshman year by scoring in double figures in 16 of his last 18 games.
Horizon League: Eli Holman
6'10" 255 lbs.
The Titans are looking for big things from their big man, Eli Holman.
As a junior, Holman led the league in rebounding, and rang up 13 double-doubles.
Ivy League: Greg Mangano
6'10" 240 lbs.
To say that Greg Mangano had a great junior year would be an understatement.
He led the Ivies in rebounding and blocked shots and was second in scoring.
Mangano has been invited to participate in the Team USA open tryouts over the summer.
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: George Beamon
6'4" 170 lbs.
George Beamon is the top returning scorer in the MAAC.
He went for at least double-figures in all but three games for the Jaspers in 2010-11.
Mid-American Conference: Justin Greene
6'8" 230 lbs.
Justin Greene was the MAC Player of the Year for the 2010-11 season.
He was the only player in the MAC to rank in the top 10 in points, rebounds and blocked shots.
He also posted 11 double-doubles on the season.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: Kyle O'Quinn
6'10" 240 lbs.
Kyle O'Quinn had a breakout year in 2010-11.
The 6-10 post player ended the season ranked fourth in the nation in blocked shots (3.4), fifth in rebounding (11.1) and eight in double-doubles (19).
O'Quinn was the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2010-11.
Missouri Valley Conference: Kyle Weems
6'6" 232 lbs.
Kyle Weems was the 2010-11 MVC Player of the Year.
Weems, also an All-MVC first-team selection this year, ranks among the Valley’s top 10 players in 11 of 13 statistical categories, including second in scoring and third in rebounding.
Mountain West Conference: Drew Gordon
6'9" 245 lbs.
Drew Gordon made an immediate impact on both the Lobos line-up and the Mountain West.
Though the UCLA-transfer had to sit out the first semester, Gordon still put up 12 double-doubles in 2010-11.
Northeast Conference: Ken Horton
Central Connecticut State
6'6" 195 lbs.
Ken Horton looks to have a monster senior season.
As a junior, Horton lead the conference in scoring and blocks, and was second in rebounding.
Ohio Valley Conference: TyShwan Edmondson
6'3" 175 lbs.
TyShwan Edmondson has made an impact since transferring from St. John's.
He was the OVC's second leading scorer this past season, and looks to have an explosive 2011-12 season.
Pacific 10 Conference: Jorge Gutierrez
6'3" 195 lbs.
In a "normal" Pac-12 season, Jorge Gutierrez might be considered a solid returning senior. But because of the massive departures within the conference, Gutierrez vaults up to the top spot in the conference that welcomes Utah and Colorado in for the first time.
Gutierrez is the scoring and assists leader from the 2010-11 Bears team that looks to be the favorite to win the conference title.
Patriot League: C.J. McCollum
6'3" 165 lbs.
As a freshman, C.J. McCollum became the first player in Patriot League history to be named the league's Player and Rookie of the Year.
As a sophomore, he elevated his game further, increasing his scoring and rebounding even further.
Southeastern Conference: John Jenkins
6'4" 215 lbs.
John Jenkins was the 2010-11 SEC leading scorer. Jenkins made 100 shots from beyond the arc last season.
Along with a strong supporting cast, the Commodores may be ready to challenge for the conference title.
Southern Conference: Omar Carter
6'5" 220 lbs.
Omar Carter has been a nice addition to the ASU program.
After playing two years at Charleston Southern, Carter has helped the Mountaineers with his strong inside/outside game.
Southland Conference: Patrick Richard
6'4" 208 lbs.
Patrick Richard was the leader of the Cowboy squad that won the school's twelfth conference championship and sixth Southland Conference title.
He was a first team all-conference and all-Louisiana pick along with being named to the NABC all-district squad.
Southwestern Athletic Conference: Marquis Baker
6'2" 195 lbs.
Marquis Baker is an outstanding scorer who went for at least 20 points in nine different games.
Baker hit his career-high (32 points) against Big-12 opponent Nebraska.
Sun Belt Conference: Augustine Rubit
6'6" 222 lbs.
Under-sized for a center, Augustine Rubit is still one of the most dominating players in the conference.
Rubit led the conference in rebounding, and averaged a double-double in his first season for the Jaguars.
The Summit League: Alex Young
6'6" 200 lbs.
Alex Young led the conference in scoring and tied for third in steals with 45.
Young was the only player in The Summit League to rank among the top 15 in scoring, rebounding and assists in 2010-11.
Young has been selected two straight years as an All-Summit League selection.
West Coast Conference: Kevin Foster
6'2" 220 lbs.
Kevin Foster led the WCC in scoring.
Foster hit for at least double-figures in all but two of the Broncos 2010-11 games.
Foster helped Santa Clara defeat Iona for the CollegeInsider.com tourney final, the Broncos first-ever postseason, non-conference tournament championship.
Western Athletic Conference: Dario Hunt
6'8" 230 lbs.
Dario Hunt led the 2010-11 WAC in rebounds and blocked shots per game.
Hunt had 14 games where he had at least 10 rebounds.
As an All-WAC Defensive Team selection, Hunt will be counted on again to be a force in the middle next season.