2019-20 CBS Sports Preseason All-America teams: College basketball's best and most talented players
Michigan State's Cassius Winston and Marquette's Markus Howard lead the CBS Sports All-America teams
The 2019-20 college basketball season will get underway in less than three weeks with the Champions Classic serving as the sport's biggest early event. On that night, inside New York's Madison Square Garden, four of the 15 players who earned CBS Sports Preseason All-American honors will be on display.
As always, it should be awesome.
As always, I can't wait.
And there's no better way to get pumped for that November launch than to unveil the complete CBS Sports Preseason All-American teams, which look a lot different from last season's CBS Sports Postseason All-American teams -- mostly because only two All-Americans from last season (Michigan State's Cassius Winston and Marquette's Markus Howard) returned to school. So there were lots of open spots to fill.
Who filled them?
The three teams are listed below.
Note: The CBS Sports Preseason All-America Teams were voted on by college basketball writers at CBSSports.com and 247Sports as well as broadcasters and analysts from CBS and CBS Sports Network.
2019-20 CBS Sports Preseason All-America First Team
Cassius Winston | G | Michigan State | Sr.
The reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, Cassius Winston is the only returning player named to the CBS Sports All-America First Team last season. So his inclusion here was automatic. The 6-foot point guard averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 assists last season while shooting 39.8% from 3-point range. If Tom Izzo gets his second title this season, Winston will be a big, and probably the biggest, reason why.
Seton Hall will lean heavily on Myles Powell, who averaged 23.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in 36.0 minutes per game last season while shooting 36.3% from 3-point range and scoring at least 15 points in 31 of 34 appearances. He was terrific from start to finish and should be again this season. If so, don't be surprised if the Pirates win the Big East and enter the NCAA Tournament with a real shot to make the Final Four for only the second time in history.
Markus Howard | G | Marquette | Sr.
When Markus Howard gets going, nobody in college basketball is more fun to watch. The 5-11 guard averaged 25.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists last season while shooting 40.3% from 3-point range. He scored a career-high and Big East-record 53 points in a January victory over Creighton -- and eclipsed the 35-point barrier six times in 34 games. Is he the most efficient player in the country? No. But don't discount the fact that Howard has a chance to shoot Marquette to the NCAA Tournament this season for the third time in a four-year career.
Earlier this year, Jordan Nwora seriously considered remaining in the 2019 NBA Draft but ultimately decided to withdraw and return to Louisville -- where he now has a chance to lead the Cardinals to an ACC regular-season title and then some. The 6-7 wing averaged 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds in 31.9 minutes per game last season after averaging just 5.7 points and 2.2 rebounds as a freshman. That improvement from one season to the next was among the best jumps for any relevant player on any relevant team.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. | F | Florida | Jr.
Kerry Blackshear was the biggest prize on the graduate-transfer market — and a huge get for the Gators. It's a development that made Florida a real challenger to Kentucky at the top of the SEC and, on paper, a Final Four contender. The 6-10 forward averaged 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds last season while helping Virginia Tech make the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year. He will be the centerpiece of what should be Michael White's best team to date.
2019-20 CBS Sports Preseason All-America Second Team
Not many legitimate NBA prospects surprised folks by announcing a return to college — but Tre Jones definitely did. Most assumed he'd join teammates Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish as one-and-done Duke stars. But the 6-2 point guard decided to instead spend at least one more year at Duke, where he'll have a chance to help the Blue Devils secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.
When North Carolina enrolled Coby White, nobody thought the Tar Heels would lose him after just one season. But they did. Which wasn't ideal. But Roy Williams has replaced him in the best way possible -- specifically with Cole Anthony, who is in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Whether he'll make UNC as good as White made UNC is up for debate. But, either way, Anthony will be a big scorer for a blue blood and by extension a huge story in college basketball.
Heralded freshmen get a lot of attention in this sport. But it's often the very good freshmen who decide to become sophomores who make the biggest impact -- and Devon Dotson is a great candidate to fill that role this season. The 6-2 point guard averaged 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 32.4 minutes per game last season while helping the Jayhawks stay good in a season in which they lost two starters. His return makes Kansas the favorite to restart a streak of Big 12 regular-season titles.
One of four freshmen voted as a CBS Sports Preseason All-American, Isaiah Stewart is among the keys to the Huskies maybe winning back-to-back Pac-12 titles. The 6-9 forward is a bouncy and strong athlete with a 7-4 wingspan that allows him to finish incredibly and block and alter shots. He's the highest-rated prospect to ever enroll at Washington -- under Mike Hopkins or any other coach.
James Wiseman rejected offers from blue bloods, most notably Kentucky, to play for his high school coach, Penny Hardaway, at Memphis. It was hardly a surprise but still something that qualified as a significant development, if only because a first-year college coach had never previously secured a commitment from the nation's No. 1 prospect. Whether Wiseman will be as instantly awesome as recent elite bigs like Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley remains unclear. But there's little doubt he should lead Memphis back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014.
2019-20 CBS Sports Preseason All-America Third Team
What's interesting about the four freshmen who received enough votes to be CBS Sports Preseason All-Americans is that only one (UNC's Anthony) opted to enroll at a traditional blue-blood program. The other three picked paths less-traveled -- among them Anthony Edwards, who will star at Georgia this season before presumably entering the 2020 NBA Draft.
It would have been reasonable for Ayo Dosunmu to enter the 2019 NBA Draft and, if he'd done so, he would likely be on an NBA roster right now. But the 6-5 guard instead decided to spend another year at Illinois, where he should help Brad Underwood take the Illini to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.
As far as AAC schools go, NBA scouts will spend most of their time at Memphis this season. But it's possible the best college player in the league still resides in Cincinnati -- where Jarron Cumberland returns as the reigning AAC Player of the Year after averaging 18.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists for a 28-win team.
Killian Tillie missed the early part of last season, was limited to just 15 games total and never seemed completely comfortable, which is understandable for anybody who doesn't join a team till January. But the guess here is that the 6-10 forward will return to form this season. Remember, he was the Zags' leading returning scorer heading into last season.
Udoka Azubuike | C | Kansas | Sr.
Last season was a disappointing season relative to KU's lofty standards. But what's important to remember is that the Jayhawks were rolling before Udoka Azubuike suffered a season-ending injury to his right hand. Kansas was 9-0 with Azubuike in the lineup but just 17-10 without him. That's an undeniable difference and evidence that if the 7-foot center remains healthy, Kansas will be the team to beat in the Big 12.
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