College Basketball starts today after a long offseason. There are so many questions yet to be answered and so many teams with big aspirations. Who are the best players in college basketball this year? That’ll be answered with College Basketball: Preseason All-Americans.
G: Carsen Edwards, Purdue, Jr.
Although he tested the NBA Draft waters, Edwards decided to return to school. He had a good NBA Draft Combine to cap off a great season of basketball last year. The junior makes the list due to his productivity last year and potential to have a great season this year.
Last season, Edwards averaged 18.5 points and 2.8 assists per game. He had a lot of great teammates, which opened up the floor for him to shine. This season, he’ll be breaking in a lot of new key players for the Boilermakers. While he will be the ultimate focus of every team he plays, he should be able to overcome most defenses if his teammates can hit open shots to help spread the floor.
Edwards has the potential to be in the discussion for National Player of the Year when the season is complete.
G: Kyle Guy, Virginia, Jr.
He may not get much love on other preseason All-American lists, but Guy is one of the best players in the country for his contributions on both ends of the floor. His team will likely also have a successful season, which can only help his case to be on this list.
Guy averaged 14.5 points per game last season, which is crazy given how many opportunities he had to score, given Virginia’s slow pace. They ranked dead last in possessions per game in Division I at 62.1. On any other team, Guy’s points per game average would be significantly higher. He also contributes on the defensive end, as every Virginia player does, with a defensive rating (estimation of how many points allowed per 100 possessions) of 94.7 and one steal a game.
With Virginia sitting near the top of the ACC the last several seasons, it should be expected that Guy will be the best player on one of the best teams in the country.
G/F: R.J. Barrett, Duke, Fr.
There aren’t always freshmen who are on the list of All-Americans, but Barrett has both the hype and the opportunity to be a preseason All-American. He, along with his fellow freshmen, have Duke fans excited about another possible National Championship.
Barrett stands 6-foot-7 and 202-pounds. While he may be more of a small forward, he’ll have to play a lot of guard this season, as Duke is particularly thin at the position and are loaded in the frontcourt. He has the shooting and the ability to drive to the basket necessary to live up to the hype.
He is already the frontrunner to be the number one overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and a solid season should cement that notion.
F: Luke Maye, North Carolina, Sr.
North Carolina will have a lot riding on Maye this season, but he has proven he can handle it. He is the most experienced player on the list and has shown a great level of improvement throughout his college career.
In the 2017-2018 season, Maye averaged a double-double with 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He has the skills to score down low, but can also stretch the floor with his shooting. If some of the other players can produce, some of the pressure will be taken off of Maye, which will be good for North Carolina.
He is on virtually every preseason All-American list and deservedly so, as he has earned it due to his play last season.
F: Grant Williams, Tennessee, Sr.
Winning SEC Player of the Year isn’t an easy thing to do and Williams was able to do it in a much-improved conference last season. Although he is undersized for his position, he outmuscles opponents and produces.
Williams averaged 15.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in his junior season. He was a big part of bringing the Tennessee basketball program back to prominence under Rick Barnes. Although they lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, they did well enough in the regular season to secure a No. 3 seed.
Tennessee returns a lot, and with WIlliams, should expect better results this March.
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