Forget preseason hype, the charges of East Coast bias or Los Angeles bias, the charges of players at small schools beefing up numbers against weaker competition or counter charges of small school stars being overlooked because few see them on TV. For the second straight year (see 2013 team here), Breitbart Sports is the first major outlet to announce the All-American team (1st through 4th team) just one month before the brackets of Selection Sunday.
Rather than a subjective selection of which player “looks better” on the court, or has the most potential to be better in the NBA, the Breitbart Sports All-American team is a precise measurement of the top player you could put on the floor at all five positions based on how many points he has added (or subtracted from their opponents) adjusted for their level of competition.
1st Team All-Americans
Doug McDermott’s 39-point performance and game-winning shot in a 63-60 win over St. John’s moved him past Billy Baron and into 1st place in Offensive Value Add. McDermott was already the only player in Value Add history to finish in the Top 5 offensively more than once (he was 3rd in both 2012 and 2013). McDermott’s 7.48 Offensive Value Add (see www.valueaddbasketball.com) means he is worth an additional seven or eight points a game with his offense alone over what a solid replacement player would produce in his place.
While McDermott is a near lock to be voted the National Player of the Year after a history making career, Utah’s Delon Wright is so much stronger on the defensive side (beats McDermott 66-7 in steals, 30-3 in blocks and even 134-132 in defensive rebounds despite playing guard) that he comes in as the top overall player as he is making just under 60 percent of his shots from the floor while dishing out more than five assists a game. While Value Add spotted him early in the season, Bleacher Report jumped on the bandwagon Thursday by calling him, “the best prospect you’ve never heard of.” Well, maybe non-Breitbart readers have never heard of him.
Many were surprised when Breitbart Sports announced UConn’s Shabazz Napier was the 2nd team All-American point guard last season, but since then the national media has caught onto his dominant play and he is even now projected as a 2nd round NBA pick despite being undersized. This year he comes in as the only repeat All-American as the 1st team point guard.
Larry Nance completes and incredible trio of dominating defenders on the first team as one of only four players in the country with a Defensive Value of below -3.0, meaning he takes away more than three points a game from the other team. Nance lands on the first team after leading Wyoming to a stunning upset of San Diego State. At 6-foot-8, the son of the former NBA star by the same name rejecting three of San Diego State’s shots and hit 5 of his 7 two-point shots to give the Cowboys a 68-62 win.
Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky rounds out the 1st Team as the top center in the country in a season dominated by guards. The 7-footer is one of few truly dominant big men in a season in which the “freedom of movement” refereeing has let faster guards like Wright get to the hoop at will from the perimeter and teams no longer have to rely on powerful post play to get the ball to the rim.
The All-American selections are based on up-to-date Value Add rankings, but selected by position. Each team has the top available point guard, another player who could play shooting guard, a third-player who can play as a big, third guard or as a small forward (Switchable), on true forward and finally a player who could play center.Because the new rules have favored guards this year, guards Juwan Staten (West Virginia), Lamar Patterson (Pitt) and Joseph Young (Oregon) rank in the top 20 but were behind guards on the four top teams.
Below is the 1st Team All-American Squad:
|Position||VA||1st Team All-American||Team||Offense||Total||Yr|
2nd team All-Americans
The two big men on the 2nd Team All-American team are expected to be first round picks in the NBA draft. KJ McDaniels of Clemson should be a small forward in the NBA, and Montrezl Harrell of Louisville is one of the few dominant centers in the country. Billy Baron has Canisius rolling as one of the top assists men in the country and fifth in the country in scoring. He would have two overpowering guards who can play forward in Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick and UCLA’s Jordan Adams if the 2nd Team All-Americans actually took the floor.
|Position||VA||2nd Team All-American||Team||Offense||Total||Yr|
3rd team All-Americans
The 3rd team All-Americans are led by Xavier Thames, the shooting guard who has taken San Diego State into the top five in the country. Alabama’s Trevor Releford continues to run an incredible point guard operation despite a struggling team, and Syracuse’s Trevor Cooney has been dominant. However, the two likely 1st round draft picks on the 3rd team are the big men in sophomores TJ Warren of NC State and Willie Cauley-Stein.
|Position||VA||3rd Team All-American||Team||Offense||Total||Yr|
|2-SG||5||Xavier Thames||San Diego St.||5.71||7.36||Sr|
|4-F||11||TJ Warren||North Carolina St.||5.07||6.58||So|
4th Team All-Americans
Alan Williams has single-handedly made UC-Santa Clara a possible at-large team. Williams is in the top 1% of defensive rebounders, top 2% of shot blockers and foul drawers, and among leaders at www.kenpom.com in shooting, offensive rebounding and even steals at 6-foot-7. However, the final three spots on the 4th team are claimed by potential lottery picks in guard Tyler Ennis of Syracuse, forward Jabari Parker of Duke and center and potential No. 1 pick Joel Embiid of Kansas.
VCU’s Briante Weber may have the lowest offensive Value Add of any All-American ever, as his 1.82 indicates he is probably worth less than two additional points over a replacement player on the offensive side of the ball. However, he is “havoc” on defense. In the 11 years tracked by www.kenpom.com, only three players have ever stolen the ball on seven percent of all opponents’ trips down the floor. Those three players are Weber this year, Weber last year, and Weber the year before (okay, I know it’s really just one player). With him taking away four points a game on the defensive end, his overall Value Add makes him the equal of almost every offensive star in the country just as Ozzie Smith’s glove made him the equal of many slugging stars in baseball for years.
|Position||VA||4th Team All-American||Team||Offense||Total||Yr|
|4-F||14||Alan Williams||UC Santa Barbara||3.68||6.38||Jr|