2014-15 Rush the Court All-America Teams

Posted by Walker Carey on April 3rd, 2015

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 seven RTC pollsters selected their preseason All-America teams back in November; nobody could have guessed that only five of the 15 names on that list would be able to live up to the hype: Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet, Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos, and Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns. The only two players who were projected to be a first team All-American and finished there were Kaminsky and Okafor. The 10 players who we selected as preseason All-Americans who did not make our team: North Carolina’s Marcus Paige, West Virginia’s Juwan Staten, Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell, Wichita State’s Ron Baker, Michigan’s Caris LeVert (spent much of conference play injured), Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker, Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona’s Stanley Johnson, Iowa State’s Georges Niang, and Nebraska’s Terran Petteway. They all had very productive seasons, but they were surpassed in achievements by the names that rose to the top of our list. Here are the 2014-15 RTC All-America Teams.

First Team All-America

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  • Frank Kaminsky, Senior, Wisconsin (consensus) (18.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 54.9% FG, 41.5% 3FG). Kaminsky wrapped up his collegiate career in dynamite fashion. The RTC National Player of the Year and Big Ten Player of the Year has been the best player on a Wisconsin team that won the outright regular season Big Ten title, the Big Ten Tournament title, and the NCAA Tournament West Region. As the Badgers prepare for their final matchup with Kentucky on Saturday, it should be noted that Kaminsky has been excellent throughout March, recording 31 points in a March 1 win over fellow Final Four participant Michigan State, 27 points against Coastal Carolina in the round of 64, and 29 points against Arizona in the regional final.
  • Jahlil Okafor, Freshman, Duke (consensus) (17.5 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 66.8% FG). The ACC’s first-ever freshman to win league Player of the Year has been a sensation from the day he stepped foot on Duke’s campus. The top recruit from the Class of 2014 did not disappoint in what will almost absolutely be his only season in Durham. Okafor was a dominant offensive post presence during the Blue Devils’ 28-3 regular season, as he scored in double figures in 30 of the team’s 31 games. Duke enters the Final Four with national title aspirations — and with a player like Okafor at its disposal, it is easy to see how those dreams could come true.
  • D’Angelo Russell, Freshman, Ohio State (19.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 5.0 APG, 41.1% 3FG). Russell burst on to the scene in incredible fashion in what will likely be his only season in Columbus. The Big Ten Freshman of the Year topped 25 points five times during conference play, and along with his prolific scoring, he showcased some exceptional distribution skills. Ohio State was inconsistent as a team this season, but it always could rely on Russell to fill the stat sheet and act as a terrific playmaker.
  • Jerian Grant, Senior, Notre Dame (16.5 PPG, 6.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, 47.8% FG). Grant’s return from an academic suspension that cost him the second semester of his junior season to lead the Irish to the Elite Eight was one of the stories of the year in college basketball. The senior guard lifted Notre Dame to a new level with his knack for hitting big shotsincredible passing, and overall leadership skills. Grant saved his best for the biggest games, which was evident by his 23-point, 12-assist performance in a January 28 victory over Duke and a 24-point, 10-assist effort in the ACC Tournament championship game victory over North Carolina.
  • Delon Wright, Senior, Utah (14.5 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.9 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 50.9% FG). Utah advanced to its first Sweet Sixteen since 2005 this season, and the biggest reason for that was Wright’s play. The Utes epitomized team basketball with their style, but it was Wright who was routinely called on to make the big play late in the big game. While Wright has exhausted his eligibility, his consistency and leadership will be etched into Larry Krystkowiak’s program for many years to come.

Second Team All-America

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  • T.J. McConnell, Senior, Arizona (10.4 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.8 RPG, 2.2 SPG). Few – if any – point guards meant more to their teams this season than McConnell meant to Arizona. The Wildcats were an extremely talented and athletic unit but they were also quite young. As a senior, McConnell provided his team with the floor direction and steadiness necessary to complete a very successful season. Statistics-wise, McConnell collected 238 assists this season, which is good for second-most in program history at Point Guard U.
  • Justise Winslow, Freshman, Duke (12.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 41.7% 3FG). It did not take long for Winslow to become more than just Duke’s “other freshman.” The 6’6″ swingman’s size and versatility has made him a match-up nightmare for the opposition all season long. Winslow’s brightest moment of the season came in Duke’s Sweet Sixteen victory over Utah where he thwarted a Utes’ comeback by taking over down the stretch to finish with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein, Junior, Kentucky (9.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 57.8% FG). Cauley-Stein’s numbers do not scream “All-American,” but they also do not show how impactful the junior is each time he takes the court. The SEC Defensive Player of the Year is one of the country’s elite defenders, as his size and athleticism creates nightmares for opposing players. His defensive prowess was never more evident than when he chased Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant the length of the court to contest his potential game-winning shot at the end of Kentucky’s Elite Eight victory.
  • Kyle Wiltjer, Junior, Gonzaga (16.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 54% FG, 46.6% 3FG). The Kentucky transfer exploded in his first year of eligibility as a Bulldog. His size and shooting prowess made him a force to be reckoned with all season. Wiltjer’s defining moment came in a win over Pacific on February 19 when he scored 45 points on 15-of-22 shooting from the field and 7-of-10 from the three-point-line. It does not matter who you are playing — scoring 45 points on only 22 shots is just plain silly.
  • Seth Tuttle, Senior, Northern Iowa (15.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 60.4% FG, 43.2% 3FG). Tuttle capped off his illustrious collegiate career by leading Northern Iowa to an impressive 31-4 record and a Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title. Tuttle’s best performance (29 points on 9-of-13 shooting) came in a rousing 70-54 win over conference stalwart Wichita State on January 31. The forward’s season-long efforts strongly contributed to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010.

Third Team All-America

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  • Fred VanVleet, Junior, Wichita State (13.6 PPG, 5.2 APG, 4.5 RPG, 1.9 SPG). VanVleet turned in another exceptional season for Wichita State. As the team’s floor leader, he directed it to a very impressive 30-5 record and a Sweet Sixteen berth. VanVleet has filed NBA Draft advisory paperwork, but it would make sense for him to return to play his senior season for Gregg Marshall’s Shockers.
  • Joseph Young, Senior, Oregon (20.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.8 APG, 92.5% FT). The Pac-12 Player of the Year led Oregon to a surprising regular season and another NCAA Tournament appearance. Young’s elite scoring ability was on display throughout the Ducks’ runs in both the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournaments, as he scored 25+ points in three of their four games.
  • Kevin Pangos, Senior, Gonzaga (11.6 PPG, 4.8 APG, 44.9% FG, 43.1% 3FG). Pangos became a much more efficient player in his final season at Gonzaga. While his scoring average was the lowest of his four years in Spokane, so was his turnover average. His assists average and shooting percentages were at their highest. The Bulldogs finished the season with an incredible 35-3 record, and the senior Pangos was the straw that stirred the drink all season long.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns, Freshman, Kentucky (10.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 56.3% FG). The SEC Freshman of the Year put together a rookie campaign that has NBA draft experts buzzing about his vast pro potential. Kentucky has a wealth of riches, but it has been Towns that has stuck out the most during its postseason run to the Final Four. In the Elite Eight victory over Notre Dame, Towns was unstoppable in the post, finishing with 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting.
  • Bobby Portis, Sophomore, Arkansas (17.5 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 53.6% FG). The SEC Player of the Year had a monstrous season in leading the Razorbacks to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008. Portis was a scoring machine throughout regular season conference play, as he scored in double figures in all 18 league tilts. Portis now faces a tough NBA Draft decision, but if he were to return for his junior season, he would without question be one of the top players in the country.

Honorable Mentions: Kris Dunn, Providence; Melo Trimble, Maryland; Ron Baker, Wichita State; Sir’Dominic Pointer, St. John’s; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona; Darrun Hilliard, Villanova; Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia; Tyler Haws, BYU; Tyler Harvey, Eastern Washington; Sam Dekker, Wisconsin; Derrick Marks, Boise State; Cameron Payne, Murray State; Tyus Jones, Duke; Yogi Ferrell, Indiana.

WCarey (318 Posts)

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