I tweeted the following when the AP preseason All-Americans were announced last week:
Among the replies was one from somebody defending the writers by insisting that "freshmen are complete unknowns" who "have to prove it." Such is silly on two levels.
- Freshmen are not complete unknowns.
- Preseason honors should be projections more than awards for something earned.
The first point is self-explanatory, I think, because if freshmen are "complete unknowns" then how is it that those who cover the sport seriously-- in addition to NBA scouts -- have seen all of the top freshmen many times? As for the second point, well, let me ask this: has a preseason Freshman of the Year ever "proved" anything at the Division I level before being named a preseason Freshman of the Year? Of course not. But those honors are still bestowed based on educated guesses. Preseason All-American teams should be handled similarly, and, in truth, they usually are -- proof being that freshman Andrew Wiggins was voted an AP preseason All-American before ever playing a game at Kansas.
Bottom line, like I said, the AP voters simply missed on Randle.
If you didn't know it then, you know it now.
The 6-foot-9 forward from Texas averaged 22.5 points and 15.0 rebounds in two wins -- a blowout of UNC-Ashville on Friday night followed by a blowout of Northern Kentucky on Sunday afternoon -- and is thus the CBSSports.com College Basketball Player of the Week. His performances rank among the best two-game starts in Kentucky history and yet still do not accurately reflect what's possible for the future lottery pick.
"He should be averaging 20 rebounds a game right now," said UK coach John Calipari.
What's scary is that that's probably true.
"Julius Randle is a specimen," said UNC-Asheville coach Nick McDevitt. "He is very, very good. Rarely do you see a guy with that kind of size and athleticism and skill level. Coach Cal's going to have fun coaching him."