2011-12 College Basketball: Preseason Player of the Year in Every D1 Conference

Doug Brodess@DougbrodessCorrespondent IJune 1, 2011

2011-12 College Basketball: Preseason Player of the Year in Every D1 Conference

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    NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 27:  Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels in action against Terrence Jones #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the east regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Prudential Center on March 27, 2011 in
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    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

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    University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

    2011-12: Senior

    5'10"  170 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    15.5 ppg

    3.9 rpg

    6.0 apg

    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

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    CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 18: Tu Holloway #52 of the Xavier Musketeers handles the ball against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 18, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Pho
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images


    2011-12: Senior

    6'0" 185 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    19.7 ppg

    5.0 rpg

    5.4 apg

    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

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    GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 13:  Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels shoots against Mason Plumlee #5 and Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils during the second half in the championship game of the 2011 ACC men's basketball tournament at the
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    North Carolina

    2011-12: Sophomore

    6'8" 210 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    15.7 ppg

    5.8 rpg

    1.4 apg

    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

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    Kennesaw State

    2011-12: Junior

    6'7"  230 lbs

    2010-11 Stats:

    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.

    Here's a look at Markeith Cummings as he won the Atlantic Sun's Player of the Week - Feb 8

Big 12: Perry Jones III

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    2011-12: Sophomore

    6'11" 235 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    13.9 ppg

    7.2 rpg

    1.2 apg

    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

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Jeremy Lamb #3 of the Connecticut Huskies dunks the ball against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Tex
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images


    2011-12: Sophomore

    6'5" 185 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    11.1 ppg

    4.5 rpg

    1.6 apg

    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.

    Check out Jeremy Lamb as he bursts onto the national scene

Big South: Stan Okoye

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    Virginia Military

    2011-12: Junior

    6'5" 195 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    16.8 ppg

    8 rpg

    1.7 apg

    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

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    SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 18:  Guard Will Cherry #5 of the Montana Grizzlies goes up for a shot against the New Mexico Lobos during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at HP Pavilion on March 18, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo b
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images


    2011-12: Junior

    6'1" 177 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    14.1 ppg

    3.6 rpg

    4.3 apg

    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

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Forward Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes yells after a dunk against the Florida Gators November 16, 2010 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Ohio State

    2011-12: Sophomore

    6'9" 280 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    17.2 ppg

    10.2 rpg

    1.2 apg

    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.

    Jared Sullinger = Domination!

Big West: Orlando Johnson

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    TAMPA, FL - MARCH 17:  Orlando Johnson #33 of the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos drives for a shot attempt against Scottie Wilbekin #5 of the Florida Gators during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 17
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    UC-Santa Barbara

    2011-12: Senior

    6'5" 205 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    21.1 ppg

    6.2 rpg

    2.9 apg

    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

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25:  Bradford Burgess #20 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams shoots against the Florida State Seminoles during the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 25, 2011 in San Antonio, Te
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Virginia Commonwealth

    2011-12: Senior

    6'6" 225 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    14.3 ppg

    6.3 rpg

    1.7 apg

    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

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    2011-12: Senior

    6'10" 230 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    14 ppg

    9.3 rpg

    0.9 apg

    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

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    North Dakota

    2011-12: Sophomore

    6'4" 170 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    13.3 ppg

    4.6 rpg

    1.1 apg

    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

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    2011-12: Senior

    6'10" 255 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    11.8 ppg

    9.6 rpg

    0.8 apg

    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

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    2011-12: Senior

    6'10" 240 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    16.3 ppg

    10 rpg

    0.5 apg

    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

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    2011-12: Junior

    6'4" 170 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    16.3 ppg

    6.1 rpg

    1.3 apg

    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

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    Kent State

    2011-12: Senior

    6'8" 230 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    15.6 ppg

    8.4 rpg

    1.5 bpg

    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

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    Norfolk State

    2011-12: Senior

    6'10" 240 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    16.4 ppg

    11.1 rpg

    3.4 bpg

    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

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    Missouri State

    2011-12: Senior

    6'6" 232 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    16 ppg

    6.9 rpg

    1.4 apg

    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

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10:  Drew Gordon #32 of the New Mexico Lobos dunks over Travis Franklin #1 of the Colorado State Rams during a quarterfinal game of the Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center March 10, 2011
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    New Mexico

    2011-12: Senior

    6'9" 245 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    13 ppg

    10.5 rpg

    1.3 bpg

    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

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    Central Connecticut State

    2011-12: Senior

    6'6" 195 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    19.5 ppg

    8.9 rpg

    1.6 bpg

    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

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    Austin Peay

    2011-12: Senior

    6'3" 175 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    17.1 ppg

    4.5 rpg

    2 apg

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10:  Jorge Gutierrez #2 of the California Golden Bears lays the ball up in the first half against the USC Trojans in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on March 10, 2011
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images


    2011-12: Senior

    6'3" 195 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    14.6 ppg

    3.8 rpg

    4.5 apg

    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

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    2011-12: Junior

    6'3" 165 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    21.8 ppg

    7.8 rpg

    2.1 apg

    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

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    NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 12:  John Jenkins #23 of the Vanderbilt Commodores reacts after making a three-point basket against the Kentucky Wildcats at Memorial Gym on February 12, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images


    2011-12: Junior

    6'4" 215 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    19.5 ppg

    3 rpg

    1.2 apg

    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

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    Appalachian State

    2011-12: Senior

    6'5" 220 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    16.3 ppg

    5.8 rpg

    1.3 apg

    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.

    Watch Omar Carter as a freshman

Southland Conference: Patrick Richard

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    McNeese State

    2011-12: Senior

    6'4" 208 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    16.1 ppg

    6.4 rpg

    2.5 apg

    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

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    Alcorn State

    2011-12: Senior

    6'2" 195 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    15.9 ppg

    3.4 rpg

    1.1 apg

    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

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    South Alabama

    2011-12: Sophomore

    6'6" 222 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    13.1 ppg

    11 rpg

    1.1 bpg

    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

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    2011-12: Senior

    6'6" 200 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    19.7 ppg

    6.4 rpg

    2.4 apg

    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

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05:  Kevin Foster #21 of the Santa Clara Broncos brings the ball up the court against the Loyola Marymount Lions during a quarterfinal game of the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena March 5, 2
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Santa Clara

    2011-12: Junior

    6'2" 220 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    20.2 ppg

    2.7 rpg

    3.7 apg

    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

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    LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 18:  Dario Hunt #44 of the Nevada Reno Wolf Pack drives past Darris Santee #44 of the UNLV Rebels during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center November 18, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 88-75.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Imag
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images


    2011-12: Senior

    6'8" 230 lbs.

    2010-11 Stats:

    12.4 ppg

    9.7 rpg

    1.7 bpg

    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.