2019-20 CBS Sports All-America teams: Obi Toppin, Markus Howard lead star-studded list
Toppin and players from the Big Ten dominated our year-end awards for the sport
The 2019-20 college basketball season ended early and abruptly -- officially at 4:16 p.m. ET on Thursday via an announcement from the NCAA.
It's still wild to consider.
Twenty-four hours earlier, sports in this country were mostly running normally -- save the Ivy League Tournament that was canceled Tuesday, which, with the benefit of hindsight, suggests we should listen to Ivy League officials next time they tell us they've determined playing basketball is too risky because, quite clearly, they knew what they were talking about. Either way, it's all over now. We'll never watch a 2020 NCAA Tournament. We'll never crown a 2020 champion. This college basketball season ended on the second Thursday in March instead of the first Monday in April. Read that sentence again. It's crazy.
Regardless, the season is indeed over. So it's time to name the CBS Sports All-America teams as voted on by our panel of writers. The results of the voting are below.
2019-20 CBS Sports All-America First Team
Opponents double-teamed him. They face-guarded him. And yet Markus Howard still turned in one amazing performance after another en route to leading the nation in scoring. The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 27.8 points while making 41.2% of the 10.1 3-pointers he attempted per game. That's incredible. Yes, it's true, Marquette went 1-6 in its last seven games; that's what cost Howard a real shot at National Player of the Year. But the Golden Eagles were still a projected NCAA Tournament team. And that's good enough to make it reasonable to vote Howard a First Team All-American.
Oregon won the Pac-12 title outright largely because of the stellar play of Payton Pritchard -- the four-year guard who averaged 20.5 points and 5.5 assists while shooting 41.5% from 3-point range. When the Ducks needed him to go big, he could go big. He scored 38 points in a win over Arizona and 29 points in victories over Stanford, Arizona State and Texas Southern. The 6-2 guard averaged 25.5 points in Oregon's final six games, five of which were wins. If not for the season being cut short, Pritchard would've finished as a 2,000-point scorer. His number should someday hang inside Matthew Knight Arena.
Dayton would've been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament provided the Flyers won the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Considering they went 18-0 in league play, it's not a stretch to suggest they would've done it. And the main reason they were in this position is Obi Toppin -- the breakout star of the 2019-20 season. In a span of three years, this 6-9 forward went from a zero-star recruit coming out of high school to the best player on one of the best teams in the nation. He averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 63.3% from the field and 39.0% from 3-point range. Assuming he enters the 2020 NBA Draft, Toppin will be a top-10 pick.
We compiled a list in the preseason of the top 101 players in college basketball; Luka Garza was not on it. And before you call that a ridiculous oversight, understand that I don't remember a single person complaining in real time because, at the time, Garza was a reasonable omission. The 6-11 big only averaged 13.1 points and 4.5 rebounds last season -- but those numbers jumped to 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds this season while he made 54.2% of the 17.1 shots he attempted per game from the field. Garza scored at least 20 points in 16 straight games to close the season. He had Iowa safely in the bracket.
Kansas was set to enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed and favorite to win what would've been Bill Self's second national championship. There are lots of reasons for that -- not the least of which is Self himself. But the biggest reason, both figuratively and literally, is Udoka Azubuike. The 7-foot, 270-pound center averaged 13.7 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting a national-best 74.8% from the field. He got 23 points and 19 rebounds in a late-season victory at Baylor, 31 points and 14 rebounds three games later against TCU. Simply put, nobody was more physically overwhelming for opponents down the stretch than Azubuike. He earned this honor in the final weeks of the regular season.
2019-20 CBS Sports All-America Second Team
Despite battling several different injuries this season, Myles Powell managed to lead Seton Hall to its fifth consecutive 20-plus win season, averaging 21.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Powell's flair led the Pirates to their first conference regular-season title since 1993.
Devon Dotson | Kansas | G | Sophomore
Kansas will officially finish as the No. 1 team in college basketball, and Devon Dotson's got his fingerprints all over that. He led the Big 12 in scoring and steals -- and finished fifth in assists for a Jayhawks team that was the betting favorite to win March Madness.
Vernon Carey | Duke | C | Freshman
Being an instant impact freshman at a place like Duke is somewhat expected, but Vernon Carey exceeded lofty expectations by putting up bigger scoring and rebounding numbers than Jahlil Okafor did while operating as Duke's best player. What he brought as a physical presence down low as a scorer, rebounder and rim protector made Duke a dynamic team that would have been a real threat to win the national championship.
San Diego State was the last undefeated team in college basketball and on track to be a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament thanks to Malachi Flynn's incredible season. The Washington State transfer averaged 17.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game while hitting 37.3% of his shots from beyond the 3-point arc. His shot-making and facilitating was among the biggest reasons SDSU boasted a top-10 offense all season.
Gonzaga won the WCC by multiple games as Filip Petrusev powered the Bulldogs in his breakout sophomore season, averaging 17.5 points and 7.9 boards per contest. He finished in the top five in the following WCC statistical per-game categories: points, rebounds and field-goal percentage.
2019-20 CBS Sports All-America Third Team
It certainly did not go how he envisioned, but Cassius Winston's senior season stood out for what he overcame and how it ended. Winston stayed with the Spartans following his brother's death and shot an impressive 43.2% on a career-high 5.6 3-point attempts per game, leading Michigan State to six wins its final seven games as the Spartans rallied for a share of the Big Ten title.
Immanuel Quickley joined the pantheon of great UK guards coached by John Calipari with an unbelievable sophomore year jump. The SEC Player of the Year went from averaging 5.2 points per game as a freshman to leading the Wildcats to an SEC title by scoring 16.1 points per game this season.
Jalen Smith was good as a freshman -- but he took the kind of second-year jump that could make him a first-round NBA Draft pick. The 6-10 forward added the bulk needed to improve his rebounding from 6.8 per game to 10.5. Offensively, he improved his 3-point accuracy from 26.8% to 36.8% and helped the Terrapins claim a share of the Big Ten title.
Tre Jones | Duke | G | Sophomore
Tre Jones showed the type of player he is in February when he led the Blue Devils to an improbable comeback at North Carolina with 28 points and a series of clutch plays at the end of regulation and in overtime. The sophomore point guard finished the season averaging 16.1 points, 6.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Yet another sophomore who took a quantum leap this season, Daniel Oturu single-handedly kept the Gophers in some games during the brutal Big Ten slate. He finished the season averaging 20.1 points and 11.3 rebounds while also demonstrating the ability to step out and hit 36.5% of his 3-pointers.
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