Preseason All-Americans: Sullinger or Barnes for POY?


By Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman College Basketball Insiders

The biggest argument was about Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson.

Which one belonged on the First Team?

Ohio State's Jared Sullinger averaged 17.2 ppg and 10.2 rpg as a freshman. (Getty Images)  
Ohio State's Jared Sullinger averaged 17.2 ppg and 10.2 rpg as a freshman. (Getty Images)  
Gary Parrish wanted Davis because the projected No. 1 pick in next June's NBA Draft is the top talent on one of the nation's best rosters; Jeff Goodman wanted Robinson because the Kansas junior should flourish now that the Morris Twins have exited Lawrence. So Parrish and Goodman debated via email and iPhone, and they ultimately compromised. Parrish agreed to put Robinson on the First Team if Goodman would drop his argument that North Carolina's Harrison Barnes should be the Preaseason National Player of the Year over Ohio State's Jared Sullinger. Goodman obliged. So Robinson is on the First Team and Davis is on the Second Team, and this is pretty much how the past few weeks were spent.

The results of Parrish and Goodman's debates are below. Preseason National Player of Year: Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)

Sullinger averaged a double-double as a freshman and is one of those rare guys who matches potential with production. He's big and strong and a beast in the paint -- an intelligent player who doesn't force bad shots when he's double-teamed, a quality teammate who leads by example and with words. There may be players with skillsets better suited for the NBA, but Sullinger is the nation's best college basketball player. Preseason National Freshman of Year: Anthony Davis (Kentucky)

Davis made a rise up the recruiting rankings a little more than a year ago unlike anything we've seen in recent history. The Chicago native went from a mostly unknown prospect to the No. 1 player in the nation just about as quickly as the growth spurt which transformed him from a point guard into a long and skilled big man capable of doing just about anything on the court. He should be the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NBA Draft based on potential. He could be what gives John Calipari his first national championship.

All-America first team
Jordan Taylor -- Guard -- Wisconsin
Taylor doesn't blow you away with his athleticism, but he just does everything well. He can score and distribute, and he knows how to win. He'll enter the season as the elite floor leader in America, but he'll have some competition throughout the year from guys like Tu Holloway and Kendall Marshall.

John Jenkins -- Guard -- Vanderbilt
Jenkins is best shooter in the country, but he's no longer one-dimensional. He's expanded his game and is now able to score in a variety of ways, though he's still best when drilling shots from deep.

Harrison Barnes -- Forward -- North Carolina
Barnes got off to a slow start last season but finished strong and helped the Tar Heels win the ACC title. He hit his stride shortly after Kendall Marshall moved into the starting lineup. He should pick up right where he left off.

Thomas Robinson -- Forward -- Kansas
Robinson only played about 15 minutes per game last season, but he'll get the chance to be "The Guy" this year now that the Morris Twins have left. He's relentless and should be good for plenty of double-doubles this season.

Jared Sullinger -- Center -- Ohio State
Sullinger was a double-double machine a year ago right from the start, and there's no reason to think he won't be better this season now that he's a year older and without some of that baby fat that's long defined him. That's a scary proposition for opposing big men É and the Big Ten in general.

All-America second team
Kendall Marshall -- Guard -- North Carolina
Marshall is a true floor leader who makes his teammates better. He averaged 7.7 assists per game after moving into the starting lineup last season and was the clear reason why North Carolina went from an underachieving team to ACC champs.

Tu Holloway -- Guard -- Xavier
Not unlike our guy on the first team, Jordan Taylor, Holloway doesn't blow you away with his physical attributes. But he's smart, crafty and tough, and he'll lock guys down on the defensive end. He can fill whatever void Chris Mack needs from the point guard position.

Anthony Davis -- Forward -- Kentucky
Davis is long, talented and versatile. The Chicago native can play on the perimeter, go into the paint and put it on the floor. He'll be a nightmare for opponents even if it takes some time to get acclimated.

Perry Jones -- Forward -- Baylor
Jones will miss the first five regular-season games because of an NCAA suspension, but that won't prevent him from making Baylor relevant in the Big 12. He's super talented and a future lottery pick.

John Henson -- Center -- North Carolina
Henson's offensive game is still a work in progress, but he's the most dominant defensive player in the nation thanks to his ability to block and alter shots.

All-America third team
Ashton Gibbs -- Guard -- Pittsburgh
Gibbs has led the Panthers in scoring each of the last two years. He can shoot from deep and is also capable of running the team. He's one of the more underrated guys in the nation and among the leading candidates for Big East Player of the Year.

Austin Rivers -- Guard -- Duke
The son of NBA coach Doc Rivers can score in just about any way you can imagine. He also has that killer instinct, but he'll need to learn how to defend and take quality shots.

Jeremy Lamb -- Forward -- Connecticut
Lamb emerged in the NCAA tournament as Kemba Walker's likely successor as Jim Calhoun's go-to guy. He averaged 16.2 points in the Huskies national title run and has only begun to scratch the surface of his potential.

Terrence Jones -- Forward -- Kentucky
Jones was the Wildcats' top player the first half of the season, but then he grew inconsistent. Still, the versatile lefty is exceptionally talented, and he just needs to mature. The addition of Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist and Kyle Wiltjer should help him do exactly that.

Trevor Mbakwe -- Forward -- Minnesota
Mbakwe isn't overly skilled, but he can really get after it and rebound the ball. His athleticism and ability to go after the ball are his strengths. That's why he's capable of getting a double-double every night.

All-America fourth team
Aaron Craft -- Guard -- Ohio State
Can you tell we love point guards who know how to play? Craft is one of those guys and his role will expand with the loss of David Lighty and Jon Diebler. He distributes, scores when needed and plays tough man-to-man defense. The key for Craft will be keeping defenses honest by making his share of perimeter shots.

Terrence Ross -- Guard -- Washington
Ross was a role player last season while playing in the shadow of guys like Isaiah Thomas, Matthew-Bryan Amaning and Justin Holiday. But the talented wing averaged 15.3 points per game in the Pac-10 tournament, and that's a scoring average that might be duplicated or bested this season.

Elias Harris -- Forward -- Gonzaga
Harris struggled early last year because of injuries, but the skilled German came on strong towards the second half of the season. If he stays healthy, he's one of the top forwards in the country.

Reeves Nelson -- Forward -- UCLA
Nelson nearly averaged a double-double last year and his numbers are likely to increase with the departures of Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee. He's fun to watch -- especially on the offensive end.

Tyler Zeller -- Center -- North Carolina
Zeller led North Carolina in scoring a year ago and will benefit from Kendall Marshall as much as anyone. He score on the block, and he also runs the floor extremely well.

All-freshman first team
Josiah Turner -- Guard -- Arizona
Turner should have the ball in his hands from the start in Tucson. He's strong, athletic and loves to attack.

Austin Rivers -- Guard -- Duke
Rivers is big-time scorer who can shoot it from deep and also get to the basket with ease.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist -- Forward -- Kentucky
Kidd-Gilchrist is always around the ball thanks to his great motor and athleticism.

Andre Drummond -- Forward -- Connecticut
Drummond is skilled and ultra-talented. He could be a star -- but only if he loses his reputation of not playing hard every possession.

Anthony Davis -- Forward -- Kentucky
Davis is long, skilled and versatile. He might not post huge numbers, but that's only because the Wildcats are loaded.

All-freshman second team
Myck Kabongo -- Guard -- Texas
Kabongo is a super-quick ballhandler who just knows how to run a team. He also has the personality to lead these young Longhorns immediately.

Marquise Teague -- Guard -- Kentucky
Teague is the younger brother of NBA guard Jeff Teague. He's fast like his brother and thrives in transition.

Brad Beal -- Guard -- Florida
Beal is a smooth wing player who can really shoot the ball. He has a game like NBA star Ray Allen's game.

Adonis Thomas -- Forward -- Memphis
Thomas might not put up huge numbers, but it won't be due to a lack of talent. With Will Barton, Joe Jackson and Tarik Black, Thomas will be eased into the mix. But he'll be a difference-maker on both ends of the court.

Le'Bryan Nash -- Forward -- Oklahoma State
Nash is a physical specimen who has the skills to be a high lottery pick out of Travis Ford's program.
2011-12 Season Preview
Oct. 13Preseason Top 25 (and one) Nov. 1Top freshmen
 Projected NCAA tournament field Nov. 2Top transfers
 Goodman and Parrish bracket picks Nov. 3Under the radar players
Oct. 14Team profiles: 'Cuse | UConn | UK | UNC Nov. 4Breakout players
Oct. 17Preseason All-Americans Nov. 5Best shooters
Oct. 18Top 100 players Nov. 6Best defensive players
Oct. 19Positional rankings: Point guards Nov. 768 things ...
Oct. 20Positional rankings: Wing men Nov. 8Ranking the preseason tourneys
Oct. 21Positional rankings: Big men Nov. 950 can't miss games
   Nov. 10Coaches on the Hot Seat

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