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Friday, October 19, 2007

Gary Parrish, - Preseason All-Americans

Preseason All-Americans: Keeping it real
Oct. 16, 2007
By Gary Parrish, Senior Writer

We've been over this before.

But it's probably worth another reminder.

Because I don't do All-America teams like most others.

Instead of just throwing five players on a team regardless of position or skill-set, I try to assemble teams that could actually function on the court. In other words, every team must have someone who is truly a point guard, someone who can truly make shots, someone who can truly penetrate and someone who can truly provide a post presence by rebounding and dunking. Anything short of that and the team is flawed. So with that in mind, I present the Preseason First-, Second- and Third-Team All-Americans ... plus 10 other guys I wish I had room to place somewhere.

First team

Expect Chris Lofton to get back to his usual routine at Tennessee. (US Presswire)
Derrick Rose, Memphis: Rose will not have the stats to justify this accolade as a freshman. I admit that up front. But Mike Conley Jr. only averaged 11.3 points and 6.1 assists last season at Ohio State, and was there any doubt in March that he was the best point guard in the nation? Of course not. Because sometimes stats don't tell the whole story, particularly when a point guard is surrounded by great players and would just as soon create for them as he would himself. Conley had great teammates last season. Rose has great teammates this season. The former played for a national title. I'm guessing the latter will have a similar impact.

Chris Lofton, Tennessee: Lofton was cut from Team USA this summer because he was, by all accounts, awful at the workouts, nonexistent even. For whatever reason, the senior guard never got comfortable. But he'll be back to his old self now that he's back at UT, which is to say he'll regularly sink impossible shots and do damage to SEC foes.

Brandon Rush, Kansas: Rush likely won't be ready to start the season. But by December he should be fully recovered from a torn ACL, and then the junior wing will be on his way to possibly lead Bill Self toward his first Final Four.

Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina: I never knew how much fans despised Hansbrough until I ranked him as the top big in the nation. Lots of haters out there. But I honestly can't understand how anybody could dispute his relevance as a dominant college basketball player. He has only been held to single digits in points six times in 69 career games, and it's worth noting three of those six came late last season after Hansbrough suffered a broken nose.

Roy Hibbert, Georgetown: Hibbert is the best, most experienced true center in college, and he's coming off a Final Four. That's good enough for me to place the senior on the first team, and now it's time to see if returning to school was indeed a smart gamble that'll pay off by way of another Final Four.

Second team

Ty Lawson will team up with Hansbrough for another Tar Heels run. (US Presswire)
Ty Lawson, North Carolina: Lawson shunned the chance to be a lottery pick after last season. Oddly, he'll still be leading a team of pros.

Drew Neitzel, Michigan State: Neitzel probably won't have to do everything for Michigan State this season. But if it comes to that, he has already shown he's capable.

Eric Gordon, Indiana: When I revisit this in March it's possible I'll look back and wonder why I didn't have this freshman on that first list.

Michael Beasley, Kansas State: Beasley will post huge numbers for the Wildcats, then cash in and become a top five NBA Draft pick after just one season.

Brook Lopez, Stanford: Lopez is out until December because of academics. But when he returns he'll prove worthy of this spot.

Third team
Darren Collison, UCLA: Collison is great on offense, great on defense and the point guard who could lead the Bruins to their 12th national title.

Sean Singletary, Virginia: Singletary is a do-everything guard, the kind who will keep Virginia in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament berth despite the loss of backcourt-mate J.R. Reynolds.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis: Douglas-Roberts doesn't seem to mind all the attention Rose is getting, and the reason is because he knows his teammate is capable of making him look like a first-round draft pick this season.

D.J. White, Indiana: White was as impressive as anybody who wore the Team USA jersey this summer. Paired with Gordon, he could help the Hoosiers to a Big Ten title.

Kevin Love, UCLA: Love is the ball-demanding, great-passing, hard-working post player that Ben Howland has been missing.

Ten other guys I wish I had room to put somewhere
1. O.J. Mayo, Southern California
2. D.J. Augustin, Texas
3. Darrell Arthur, Kansas
4. Brandon Costner, North Carolina State
5. Derrick Low, Washington State
6. Chase Budinger, Arizona
7. Kyle Weaver, Washington State
8. Marcelus Kemp, Nevada
9. Josh Heytvelt, Gonzaga
10. Scottie Reynolds, Villanova

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