's All-Americans: Indiana's Zeller tops list


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By Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish | College Basketball Insiders

A year ago, the argument centered around whether to put Thomas Robinson or Anthony Davis on the All-America first team. Gary Parrish wanted Davis and Jeff Goodman's choice was T-Rob. They wound up being the top two players in the country.

This year the issues were whether talented UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad should be included among the elite group with a potential NCAA suspension looming for potential impermissible benefits -- and which point guard was deserving: Missouri's Phil Pressey or Michigan's Trey Burke.

So we compromised.

Goodman was given his choice of Pressey as the top floor leader in the nation while Parrish got his wish -- Muhammad on the first team despite the fact he could well miss double-digit games. Parrish's contention is that, even if he does miss games in November and December, the 6-foot-6 Muhammad will be the best player on a Top 10 team come conference play.

Shockingly, we agreed on just about everything else. Here are the results of our preseason honors: Preseason National Player of the Year: Cody Zeller (Indiana) -- He'll be the preseason pick for this award by just about everyone because he's the best player, potentially the top overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and plays for arguably the top team. Zeller does everything for the Hoosiers -- he scores, rebounds, defends, runs the court and leads by example. If there's a weakness, it's that Zeller isn't selfish enough. He needs to take more shots -- and if he does, he should be a 20 and 10 guy almost every single night. Preseason National Freshman of the Year: Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA) -- This one all depends on how the NCAA investigation shakes out. This is not a strong freshman class and Muhammad is physically ready to come in and dominate from the outset. He's a man who does most of his damage driving to the basket, but he's also a capable perimeter shooter -- and one of the most competitive kids in the country. His biggest competition could come from someone in Lexington -- Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress or Archie Goodwin.

All-America first team
F - Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6, 225, Fr., UCLA
He's arguably the most talented wing in the country, but he could wind up missing a significant portion of the season as part of an ongoing NCAA investigation into potential impermissible benefits. Muhammad is a big, strong kid who plays hard and competes on every possession. Parrish wanted him on the first team, while Goodman didn't believe he was worth the risk since he'll likely sit out a chunk of the season.
F - Doug McDermott, 6-8, 225, Jr., Creighton
Sure, he plays in the Missouri Valley. But McDermott can play -- and he's proven it each of his two seasons in college. He can shoot it from deep (49 percent from beyond the arc) and is also one of the most reliable finishers around the basket. He averaged nearly 23 points per contest last season and more than eight boards per game.
C - Cody Zeller, 7-0, 240, Soph., Indiana
The youngest of the Zeller Boys is also the most talented. He lived up to the hype in Bloomington, averaging 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds. Zeller runs extremely well, is a force on the defensive end and can also score in the post and also on the perimeter. There's truly not much the Hoosiers star can't already do -- and he's only going to get better as his body continues to develop.
G - Isaiah Canaan, 6-1, 195, Sr., Murray State
He may not be a true point guard, but he's a shot-maker and also averaged nearly four assists per game for the Racers -- who were the last unbeaten team in the country last year. Canaan shoots the ball extremely well, but he does more than just score.
G - Phil Pressey,5-11, 175, Jr., Missouri
Goodman lost on Muhammad, but won with Pressey -- who is the ultimate point guard in terms of getting his teammates easy, open looks. Case in point: Marcus Denmon from a year ago. Pressey is a capable scorer, but that's not where he's a difference-maker. He has a chance to lead the nation in assists as he applies pressure to opposing defenses -- especially in the open court -- with his speed.

All-America second team
F - Mike Moser, 6-8, 210, Jr., UNLV
Was one of the nation's top rebounders a year ago, and has developed into a quality scorer. He's long, can run the floor -- and is versatile. He'll get an opportunity to showcase his versatility this season as he'll move from the power forward spot to the wing.
F - Tony Mitchell, 6-8, 235, Soph., North Texas
Was supposed to go to Missouri, but didn't qualify and that's why he's in the mid-major ranks. But Mitchell can play anywhere. He's super-athletic, goes hard and is more skilled than people realize. He averaged 14.7 points and 10.3 boards for the Mean Green after missing the first nine games of the season.
C - Nerlens Noel, 6-10, 228, Fr., Kentucky
It'll be all about the flattop this season in Lexington instead of the Unibrow. Noel isn't quite Anthony Davis, but as far as shot-blocking is concerned, he's not far off -- if at all. Noel may not be as polished on the offensive end as Davis, but he could be on par with AD as far as a defensive presence in concerned.
G - Trey Burke, 6-0, 190, Soph., Michigan
Came out of nowhere a year ago to establish himself as one of the elite point guards in the country. The entire offense was built around Burke last season and he took advantage, averaging 14.8 points and 4.6 assists per game. Burke will have no shortage of weapons this season with the addition of a strong freshman class, but his leadership may be as important as anything in Ann Arbor.
G - Jamaal Franklin,6-5, 195, Jr., San Diego State
Was a non-factor as a freshman, but quickly became a star for the Aztecs last season. He's athletic, tough and has tremendous work ethic. He'll get a chance to slide over to the wing -- his natural position -- after being forced to play power forward much of last year.

All-America third team
F - Deshaun Thomas, 6-7, 215, Jr., Ohio State
Tinkered with the idea of leaving after last year, but now he'll be the go-to guy for Thad Matta. Thomas can flat-out score. He averaged 24.3 points in the first three games of the NCAA tournament and has the ability to get baskets from just about anywhere on the court.
F - James Michael McAdoo, 6-9, 230, Soph., North Carolina
Only averaged 6.1 points and 3.9 boards per game last season, so it may look strange -- but McAdoo had to wait his turn behind veterans Tyler Zeller and John Henson. Now it's his turn and he'll be productive immediately. He's big, strong and athletic -- and has a high motor.
C - Trevor Mbakwe, 6-8, 245, Sr., Minnesota
It's still unclear how the athletic big man's knee will respond after the season-ending injury just seven games into the season. He was averaging 14.8 points and 10 boards per game at the time and is a relentless rebounder who could make the Gophers legitimate Big Ten contenders -- as long as he's at or near 100 percent
G - Aaron Craft, 6-2, 195, Jr., Ohio State
He doesn't look the part, but Craft can play. He brings everything to the table -- defense, leadership, passing, intangibles -- except for a consistent perimeter shot. Craft will need to be more assertive on the offensive end with the departure of Jared Sullinger and William Buford.
G - Michael Snaer, 6-5, 202, Sr., Florida State
One of the best two-way players in the country. He's a lock-down defensive player and more than capable of going for 20-plus points on any given night. Snaer will be the Seminoles leader and should team with Ian Miller to form one of the most potent backcourts in the country.

All-America fourth team
G - Kyle Anderson, 6-9, 235, Fr., UCLA
There will be no better passer in the country this season. Anderson is a 6-foot-9 point forward. Sure, he needs to work on his quickness and perimeter shot -- but Anderson simply makes everyone around him better. That's a gift -- and a rarity these days.
F - Otto Porter,6-8, 205, Soph., Georgetown
Long and talented, Porter was a virtual unknown since he never played AAU ball. He's a high IQ player who does everything well. He makes shots from mid-range, rebounds, defends and makes quality decisions on the court. With Jason Clark and Henry Sims gone, the Hoyas are now Otto's team.
C - Jeff Withey, 7-0, 235, Sr., Kansas
One of the top defensive players in the country, Withey will need to be more productive on the offensive end. He's long, experienced and competes. Withey should have an expanded role now that Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor are gone. He still needs to gain more confidence with his low-post game.
G - C.J. McCollum6-3, 185, Sr., Lehigh
His length and fluid game make him a difficult matchup. Just ask Duke -- as he put 30 on the Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament. McCollum is a scorer and it's too bad we won't see more of him this season due to him playing in a relative obscurity of the Patriot League.
G - Marcus Smart, 6-4, 225, Fr., Oklahoma State
I'm not sure if he's a point guard or a two-guard, but the kid is just a flat-out player -- and he wins. Smart is a tremendous athlete who plays every possession as if it's his last. He rebounds well, scores when necessary and is capable of running the team -- which he'll do this year for Travis Ford in Stillwater.

All-Freshman first team
F - Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6, 225, UCLA
The McDonald's All-American will almost certainly miss some games because of extra benefits he received in high school. But he'll play at some point, we think. And when he does he'll look like the best wing in the country regardless of class.
F - Alex Poythress, 6-7, 239, F, Kentucky
Poythress is among the reasons Kentucky probably won't miss all those early entries to last June's NBA Draft. He's one of three Wildcats who could earn First Team All-American honors.
C - Nerlens Noel, 6-10, 228, Kentucky
Noel's recruitment has kept NCAA investigators busy but it remains unclear if any eligibility issues will keep him off the court. At this point, the assumption is that he'll play. When he does he'll block shots like Anthony Davis.
G - Marcus Smart, 6-4, 225, G, Oklahoma State
Smart was the leader and star of USA Basketball's U-18 team that won a gold medal this summer. He'll play point guard at Oklahoma State and be the reason for the Cowboys' return to the NCAA Tournament.
G - Kyle Anderson, 6-9, 235, PG, UCLA
Anderson is a uniquely skilled point forward who handles the ball well and sees the court terrifically. Exactly how Ben Howland decides to use him will be one of the sport's fascinating developments.

All-Freshman second team
G - Ben McLemore, 6-5, 195, SG, Kansas
McLemore missed last season because of academic issues but established himself in practices as a future first-round pick. He should be Bill Self's best player. He could lead the Jayhawks to the Final Four.
F - Isaiah Austin, 7-1, 220, C, Baylor
Austin is the latest in a line of elite recruits to choose Baylor. He'll play away from the basket some despite his long frame, make shots and then be drafted in the lottery of next June's NBA Draft.
C - Steven Adams, 7-0, 250, C, Pittsburgh
Adams, a native of New Zealand, provides Jamie Dixon with an explosive post presence who can dunk and rebound. He'll be among the reasons why Pittsburgh doesn't string consecutive disappointing seasons.
G - Yogi Ferrell, 6-0, 178, PG, Indiana
Kentucky won a national championship last season with a freshman point guard. Don't be surprised if Indiana does the same thanks to Ferrell on the perimeter and Cody Zeller inside.
G - Archie Goodwin, 6-4 ½, 198, SG, Kentucky
Goodwin is a big and strong guard who is usually in attack mode. He's a better prospect than the two guards -- Darius Miller and Doron Lamb -- that Kentucky placed in last June's NBA Draft

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