2013-14 Rush the Court All-America TeamsPosted by Walker Carey on April 1st, 2014
Compiling preseason All-America teams is a difficult task because nobody knows what is going to occur during the season. There will always be players who will fail to live up to expectations and there will always be under the radar types who will unexpectedly emerge to stardom. When our group of eight RTC pollsters selected their preseason All-America teams back in November, nobody could have guessed that only six of the 15 names on that list would live up to the hype: Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Louisville’s Russ Smith, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins, Duke’s Jabari Parker, Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier, and Kentucky’s Julius Randle. The only two players that were projected to to be a first team All-America and finished there were McDermott and Smith (actually, we recognized at the time that a 33 percent accuracy rate was the AP’s historical norm, so we did a little better than that). The nine players we selected as preseason All-Americans who did not make our team — Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, Michigan State’s Gary Harris, Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, Michigan’s Mitch McGary (spent much of the year injured), Arizona State’s Jahii Carson, Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, Syracuse’s C.J. Fair, Michigan State’s Adreian Payne, and Virginia’s Joe Harris — all had exceptional seasons, but they were surpassed in achievements by the names that rose to the top of our list. Here are the 2013-14 RTC All-America Teams.
Note on methodology: voters took postseason performance to date into consideration. Players earned three points for a First Team vote, two points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote. McDermott and Napier were the only two consensus First Team All-America selections. Coming tomorrow: The RTC Coach of the Year.
First Team All-America
- Doug McDermott, Senior, Creighton (consensus) (26.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 52.6% FG, 44.9% 3FG). McDermott was the most prolific and talented offensive player in the country in a season that wrapped up his marvelous collegiate career. The senior led the country in scoring and his brilliant play was the biggest reason why Creighton finished the season with a sterling 27-8 record. The brilliance of “Dougie McBuckets” saw him reach several amazing career milestones this year. His career-high 45 points in March 8’s Senior Night victory over Providence put him over the 3,000-point barrier, and he wound up finishing with 3,150 points, good for fifth on the all-time scoring list. There have been few players like Doug McDermott in college basketball history, and there will be few like him in the future. He was an amazingly unique talent that we were all privileged to watch play ball for the last four years.
- Shabazz Napier, Senior, Connecticut (consensus) (18.1 PPG, 4.9 APG, 5.9 RPG, 1.7 SPG). You can make an argument that no player has meant more to his team this season than Napier has meant to Connecticut. The Huskies improbably took home the East Region title and are headed to the Final Four, thanks in large part to the heroics of Napier. After a sensational regular season where the guard took home the AAC Player of the Year award, he has only elevated his play in the postseason. In the Huskies’ four NCAA Tournament victories, Napier is averaging 23.3 points per contest and has displayed his flare for the dramatic by hitting several important shots when his team needed them most. Connecticut won a national title in 2011 mostly due to the brilliance of then-point guard and NPOY Kemba Walker. If the Huskies are able to replicate that feat this season, it will be mostly due to the brilliance of Napier.
- Jabari Parker, Freshman, Duke (22) (19.1 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 47.3% FG). In a season when many freshmen around the country received a great deal of preseason hype, no other freshman lived up to the lofty expectations quite like Parker. The USBWA National Freshman of the Year became the first Duke freshman to earn consensus first-team All-America honors with selections to the AP and Wooden All-America teams. It is widely expected that Parker will enter the 2014 NBA Draft after just one season in Durham, and even though his Duke career did not include an NCAA Tournament victory, Parker’s terrific season will not soon be forgotten.
- Russ Smith, Senior, Louisville (22) (18.2 PPG, 4.6 APG, 2.0 SPG, 46.8% FG). “Russdiculous” entered the season with high expectations and he more than lived up them by leading Louisville to another terrific campaign. After an excellent junior season, Smith only improved as a senior. Known for erratic decision-making much earlier in his career, the talented guard reinvented himself during his senior season. Smith improved his field goal percentage from by five percentage points and his three-point percentage from by six points. That brilliance led a spot as Louisville’s first consensus All-American since Clifford Rozier in the 1993-94 season.
- Sean Kilpatrick, Senior, Cincinnati (19) (20.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 42.3% FG, 84.5% FT). Kilpatrick finished his outstanding collegiate career with legendary Cincinnati status, as he joined NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only two Bearcats to top 2,000 career points. Along with joining Robertson in the Cincinnati record books, Kilpatrick also became the program’s all-time leader in games (140) and career minutes played (4,315). The elevation in Kilpatrick’s play as a senior also meant great things for an overachieving Cincinnati squad that was the co-AAC champion and was ranked #15 in the final AP poll.
Second Team All-America
- Nick Johnson, Junior, Arizona (18) (16.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 43.2% FG, 36.7% 3FG). The Pac-12 Player of the Year elevated his play as a junior allowing the Wildcats to finish the year as Pac-12 regular season champions. Johnson, the team’s leading scorer, became Arizona’s first USBWA first-team All-American since Jason Terry garnered the honor back in 1999.
- Nik Stauskas, Sophomore, Michigan (15) (17.5 PPG, 3.3 APG, 47% FG, 44.2% 3FG). Michigan was supposed to take a step back after Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. departed for the NBA following last season’s national runner-up performance, but Stauskas’ emergence from a key role player to Big Ten Player of the Year allowed the Wolverines to earn their first outright regular season Big Ten title since 1986. John Beilein’s squad returned to the Elite Eight again this season and that would not have been possible without Stauskas taking his overall game to new heights.
- T.J. Warren, Sophomore, NC State (14) (24.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 52.5% FG). After a productive freshman season where he deferred to veterans like Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie, Warren became The Man for the Wolfpack in his sophomore season. The ACC Player of the Year carried NC State to an unexpected NCAA Tournament appearance with his conference-best 24.9 points per game average, and he was a threat to go for 40 every night out. It is rare to see one player have the type of impact on his team that Warren had on NC State this season.
- Andrew Wiggins, Freshman, Kansas (10) (17.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 44.8% FG, 77.5% FT). Wiggins entered his freshman campaign with an unprecedented amount of hype and the talented swingman acquitted himself very nicely during what would be his lone season as a Jayhawk. The freshman led the regular season Big 12 champions in scoring and quickly became its go-to guy in late game situations. Wiggins’ freshman brilliance was never more evident than when his 30 points carried the Jayhawks to an overtime victory over Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.
- Cleanthony Early, Senior, Wichita State (10) (16.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 48.6% FG, 84.4% FT). Wichita State’s undefeated regular season was the story of the year in college basketball. The Shockers were a team in the truest sense of the word and they were led to that unbeaten mark by their senior forward Early. He led the team in both scoring and rebounding, and amazingly enough, the most impressive performance of his season came in the team’s lone defeat. In the epic round of 32 loss to Kentucky, he tallied 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting in a performance that left NBA scouts buzzing about his potential.
Third Team All-America
- Scottie Wilbekin, Senior, Florida (9) (13.4 PPG, 3.7 APG, 1.6 SPG, 3.0 A/TO). Florida is 36-2 and headed to the Final Four with a veteran-laden squad. Of those veterans, none may be more important to the team than Wilbekin. The SEC Player of the Year has been the pulse of the team since returning from an early season suspension that reportedly pushed him to maturity. If the Gators cut down the nets Monday at Cowboys Stadium, the leadership of Wilbekin will be a major reason why this team did so.
- Kyle Anderson, Sophomore, UCLA (9) (14.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 6.5 APG, 48% FG). The versatile sophomore emerged as a match-up nightmare for the Pac-12 during his second season in Westwood. In new coach Steve Alford’s up-tempo system, Anderson was able to use his great size to both score and distribute the ball with great efficiency and effectiveness. His marquee performance came in the Pac-12 Tournament title game against Arizona when he scored 21 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, and dished out five assists to lead his Bruins to the victory.
- Julius Randle, Freshman, Kentucky (8) (15.1 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 49.9% FG). Much like Parker and Wiggins, there were huge expectations placed on Randle before he even took the floor in his first collegiate game. Also like that duo, Randle proved that he was worth the hype during a freshman season where he dominated the interior and become a double-double machine. In Kentucky’s run to the Final Four, Randle has been instrumental in the paint for the Wildcats, as he has recorded a double-double in all four Tournament victories.
- Xavier Thames, Senior, San Diego State (7) (17.6 PPG, 3.2 APG, 1.6 SPG, 37.2% 3FG). The Mountain West Player of the Year’s transformation from a role player to a star player resulted in Steve Fisher’s Aztecs being ranked in the top 15 for much of the season. Thames went from averaging 9.5 points per game as a junior to 17.6 points per game as a senior. He also displayed a knack for taking over games down the stretch, and that was on display in his 30-point performance in San Diego State’s round of 32 victory over North Dakota State.
- Cameron Bairstow, Senior, New Mexico (7) (20.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 55.6% FG). The Australia native was one of the nation’s most improved players. Bairstow went from averaging 9.7 points per game as a junior to an impressive 20.4 PPG in his senior season. On a team where Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk grabbed much of the preseason attention, it was Bairstow who emerged as the best and most consistent player for the Mountain West Tournament champions.
Honorable Mentions: DeAndre Kane, Iowa State; Casey Prather, Florida; Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin; Melvin Ejim, Iowa State; Adreian Payne, Michigan State; C.J. Fair, Syracuse; Jordan McRae, Tennessee; Marcus Paige, North Carolina; Bryce Cotton, Providence; Fred VanVleet, Wichita State.