Seniors Kyle Wiltjer of Gonzaga, Georges Niang of Iowa State and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma have been selected to The Associated Press preseason All-American team.
Junior Kris Dunn of Providence and freshman Ben Simmons of LSU round out the team released Monday.
Wiltjer, who averaged 16.7 points and 6.0 rebounds last season, was the leading vote-getter, receiving 51 votes from the 65-member national media panel.
Niang averaged 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists for the Cyclones last season. Dunn averaged 15.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.7 steals while Hield averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Sooners.
This is the third straight preseason All-America team to have a freshman on it. Simmons, a 6-foot-10 native of Australia, is considered by many the top recruit in the country. He had averages of 28.0 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a high school senior in Florida.
Can you taste the college basketball in the air? Well if you can’t, the Associated Press just released their preseason All-American team in case you need to wake up those taste buds a little bit. In addition to being a reminder that the start of the real season is just a few short days away, the AP’s All-American team is a good indicator of who you should be keeping your eyes on this season for some top notch basketball, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Leading the way is Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer. I remember seeing a lot of him in his time at Kentucky, which now seems like a decade ago, but Wiltjer has certainly made a home for himself out there in Washington (or wherever the fuck Gonzaga is) as maybe the best shooter in the country and a legit national player of the year candidate, which would be awesome to see him win because I can’t ever recall another time that a 38 year old, 13th year senior has won the Naismith.
Joining Wiltjer are fellow seniors Georges Niang out of Iowa State and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, which is significant because it’s rare to see that many seniors get some shine in a game that’s becoming more and more dominated by diaper dandies.
I didn’t watch much Iowa St. basketball last season because, to be quite frank the entire state of Iowa just doesn’t exist to me, but from what I did see, it was Niang out there making plays and everyone else just following suit. Niang isn’t the best athlete in the world, but he has a really well rounded game and should capitalize on the success he had last year and reign as one of college basketball’s top players again this season.
Hield, coupled with Isiah Cousins look to emerge as one of the best backcourts in the country down in Norman this year, which would give Oklahoma a serious chance to finish what they started in last year’s Sweet 16 loss to Michigan State. Although to be fair, Oklahoma generally has good players and I always think they’re going to be good only to have them wildly disappoint in March, so take that with a grain of salt.
Rounding out the rest of the AP team are Providence’s Kris Dunn and LSU super freshman Ben Simmons. Personally, I think Dunn might just be the best player in the country. I got to see Dunn play a handful of times last year and the guy has one of the more complete games you’ll ever see from a college guard. At least statistically speaking.
Stats don’t lie (they do. Sometimes, just not in this case. Dunn is the real deal).
And last but not least, you got the guy everyone wants to see, Ben Simmons. Simmons is widely regarded as the best freshman player in the country and has the skills to back it up. Simmons is a crazy athlete who excels in transition and has remarkable passing skills for a guy his size. Some folks are already throwing around that “point forward” term, which is a scary thought considering the guy stands at 6’10. It’ll be interesting to see if Simmons can live up to the hype that’s already been built up considering the guy hasn’t played one minute of collegiate hoops yet, but if recent history tells us anything, I think he’ll do just fine.
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