Breitbart Sports released the first Basketball All-American teams in 2013, 2014, 2015, with surprise choices like Shabazz Napier and Frank Kaminsky well before they were discovered nationally during tournament runs. Breitbart Sports recently named its first preseason All-American team, with Kris Dunn of Providence the runaway Player of the Year.
Reid Forgrave of Fox Sports picks Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet as Player of the Year, while NBC Sports and CBS Sports pick Dunn, and the Big Lead and ESPN pick LSU’s Ben Simmons. Dunn received 150 “votes” for his two 1st place rankings, 145 points for being 6th at www.valueaddbasketball.com, 149 points each for being picked second by Fox Sports and ESPN and 147 points for being picked 4th by the Big Lead for 890 of 900 possible “votes.” Maryland point guard Melo Trimble finished second with 868 votes.
A separate post lists the All-Conference players using the same methodology, and the top ranked teams are updated here.
|1st Team All-American||College||Pos||Ht||Votes||Place|
|Kris Dunn (POY)||Providence||PG||6’3||890||1|
|Ben Simmons||Louisiana St.||SF||6’10||862||3|
In the photo the first row across the top is the first team by position,with Kris Dunn in the top left, then Buddy Hield, etc.
NBC Sports says of Dunn, “He’s the best player in the country and it’s really not all that close.” He placed 2nd in the nation in assists (7.6 per game) in addition to his 15.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Dunn’s year-by-year Value Add Rank improved from 1042th as a freshman to 780th as a sophomore to 104th as a junior and now he projects to finish 6th for his senior year. At www.kenpom.com he was 1st in assists and 5th in steals last season.
Dunn’s career path in Value Add is very similar to the other seniors to make this list, based on www.valueaddbasketball.com. The seniors who made this list averaged ranking as the 1,194th best player their freshman season, then improved to 278th their sophomore year, 119th their junior year and are now projected to be ranked 19th this season. We will list the progression for each preseason All-American below.
All-American 1st Team Backcourt: A backcourt of Dunn and Oklahoma’s muscular Buddy Hield would be physically able to dominate the boards against most forwards—as both averaged about 5.5 rebounds a game. Hield returns as Big 12 Conference Player of the Year (POY) and incredibly strong, defends at the wing and added 17.4 ppg. In Value Add he has improved 1029th to 276th to 115th to projected 23th. At www.kenpom.com he is top 7% in low turnovers and free throws (82%).
1st Team Forwards: All-American 1st Team Versatile, Twin Towers. Ben Simmons and Kyle Wiltjer, both 6-foot-10, would provide the ultimate match-up problems if they were forwards on the same team—as Simmons handles the ball well enough to run the offense like the LeBron James “point forward,” and Wiltjer can slip out to the three-point arc as one of the top 1% of all three-point shooters at 46%.
NBC Sports predicts Simmons will set a record for triple doubles. Tim Quarterman will help him set up plays at LSU. Value Add, always skeptical of freshmen, projects him 35th. At www.kenpom.com he will not have stats until he plays.
Wiltjer’s Value Add by season improved from 878th to 496th his first two years at Kentucky, then 83rd to projected 11th. At www.kenpom.com he is to 1% in shooting, three-pointers, low turnovers and overall offense.
Once Skal Labissiere adjusts to college, he will dominate inside and he can pull out and hit a jumper. Value Add projected 27th. At www.kenpom.com he will not have stats until he plays.
|2nd Team All-American||College||Pos||Ht||Votes||Place|
|Ron Baker||Wichita St.||SG||6’4||811||11|
|Denzel Valentine||Michigan St.||SF||6’5||792||13|
The second column is the 2nd team All-American, starting with Melo Trimble in the middle row to the far left, then Ron Baker to his right, etc.
Melo Trimble ranked as the 2nd best player in the country, but with Dunn and him at point guard he slips to second team. A freshman who hit 41% of his three-pointers and 86% of his free throws to net 16.2 ppg will be scary good as a sophomore. Value Add 88 to projected 7. At www.kenpom.com he is top 1% drawing fouls and free throw percentage (86%).
As a true shooting guard Ron Baker is the best in the country, while we have Hield the edge for perimeter defense and better ability to drive. The win over Kansas has Baker and VanVleet flying high, whatever order you put them in. Value Add 759 to 56 to 91 to projected 14. At www.kenpom.com he is top 1% low turnovers, in 2014 top 2% free-throw percentage.
The latest underestimated Spartan is Denzile Valentine. Value Add seasons have improved from 507th to 351st to 189th to 36th. At www.kenpom.com he is top 5% assists, free0throw percentage and three-pointers.
Big Lead compares Jaylen Brown’s inside-outside play to a young Antonie Walker. Value Add projects him at 26th—very high for a freshman. At www.kenpom.com he will not have stats until he plays.
Jakob Poeltl should dominate after a year of working with Utah coach and former NBA big man Mark Few. Poeltl’s Value Add was 533rd his first year, and he is projected at 37th. At www.kenpom.com he is top 2% blocked shots and 11th of all players in offensive rebounding.
|3rd Team All-American||College||Pos||Ht||Votes||Place|
|Fred VanVleet||Wichita St.||PG||6’0||833||8|
Finally the third team is the bottom row, starting with Fred VanVleet to the far left of the bottom row, then Malcolm Brogdon to his right, etc.
Fred VanVleet may be the best player in the country—he only falls to 3rd team point guard in a tough choice with the two other point guards who also might be the best in the country in Dunn and Trimble. He started slow last year, but went onto lead Wichita State to a tournament upset we predicted against a Kansas team that had refused to schedule them for years. His Value Add improved by season from 1444th to 15th to 38th to projected 4th. At www.kenpom.com he was in the top 1% in assists and top 2% in steals two years in a row.
Malcolm Brogdon never ranks quite as high on Value Add as observers swear that he is. His Value Add in 2012 was 1,479th, and after skipping 2013 he improved to 55th, then slipped back a little to 215th and is projected to be 9th this year. At www.kenpom.com he is top 1% in free throws two straight years (88% made both years).
Back from injury and skipping the NBA, a lot is riding on Caris Levert. His Value Add went from 2415th to 195th then dropped to 1087th due to being out most of last season. He is projected to be 50th this year. At www.kenpom.com he is top 3% steals.
Nigel Hayes was incredibly underrated last year as a player that could bull to the basket or pull up and hit a three-pointer (39%). But with Dekker and Kaminsky gone and coach Bo Ryan adjusting to a 30-second shot clock, he could rise to the top or flounder. His Value Add improved from 556th to 127th to a projected 3rd.
If Domantas Sabonis can keep producing at the same rate for 32 minutes a game (instead of 21 like last year), then he puts up 15 points and ten rebounds a game and the Zags are unstoppable around the basket. His Value Add was 987th, and he projects to jump to 17th. At www.kenpom.com he is top 1% in offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding, and two-piont field goals.