2021-22 Rush The Court Preseason All-America Teams

Posted by Matthew Eisenberg on November 11th, 2021

The 2021-22 Rush The Court pre-season All-American selections feature five Big Ten bigs featured across the three teams, the nation’s leading scorer from a season ago, a pair of dynamic duos, the son of a legend, and much more. Thirty-two different players received at least one vote, and not one of those player were from Kentucky or North Carolina.

RTC Preseason Player of the Year: Drew Timme, Gonzaga

Drew Timme is the RTC Preseason Player of the Year (USA Today Images)

RTC Preseason Coach of the Year: Chris Beard, Texas

Chris Beard is the RTC Preseason Coach of the Year (USA Today Images)

First Team All-America

  • Collin Gillespie, Villanova – (14.0 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.3 RPG, 37.6% 3PT) Collin Gillespie returns for a fifth year at Villanova. His season was cut short last season after suffering a torn MCL in the team’s regular-season finale. Gillespie shot above 37 percent from beyond the arc despite struggling down the stretch, making just 12-of-44 (27%) over his final nine games. Now healthy, the experience Gillespie brings to Villanova’s backcourt puts the Wildcats in a strong position heading into the season.
  • Johnny Juzang, UCLA – (16.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 35.3% 3PT) After an up-and-down season prior to March, Johnny Juzang exploded on the national scene during the NCAA Tournament. Juzang averaged 22.8 points per game during UCLA’s run to the Final Four, including a 29-point, 12-of-18 shooting night against Gonzaga. Juzang enters the season healthy, something that he was challenged with last year. His decision to return to UCLA solidified the Bruins position near the top of the polls heading into the season.
  • Paolo Banchero, Freshman, Duke – Listed at 6’10”, 250 lbs., Paolo Banchero was a consensus five-star recruit who has NBA scouts frothing at the mouth for a chance to land him. In Duke’s exhibition win over Winston-Salem State, Banchero led Duke in scoring with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting and in rebounding with nine, in 20 minutes of action.
  • Kofi Cockburn, Illinois – (17.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG ,1.3 BPG) Kofi Cockburn returns to Illinois but will miss the first three games of the season due to an NCAA ruling. Cockburn returning to Illinois means Brad Underwood brings back the only player in the nation from a season ago who averaged at least 15 PPG, 9 RPG, and shot at least 60 percent from the field. Kofi could approach the 20 PPG mark if he can raise his free-throw percentage from 55 percent (120-of-217) closer to his freshman year mark of 68 percent (111-of-164).
  • Drew Timme, Gonzaga – (19.0 PPG, 7 RPG, 65.5% FG%) The RTC Preseason Player of the Year, Drew Timme is the only unanimous first-team selection. Timme exploded out of the gate last season beginning the year with 25 points against Kansas, 28 against Auburn, and 17 vs. West Virginia. On the season, Timme had 16 games with 20 or more points. During the NCAA Tournament, Timme averaged 20.3 PPG on 65 percent shooting.

Second Team All-America

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RTC 16: 2021-2022 Pre-Season Rankings

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on November 9th, 2021

The first Rush the Court rankings are out and they come with no surprise at the top. Gonzaga was a near unanimous selection as the top team in the country heading into the season. Following the ‘Zags, voters believe in a pair of Big 12 squads with Kansas and Texas taking the next two spots. Off of last season’s final Four run, UCLA occupies the #4 spot, one spot ahead of a Villanova team that heads to Pauley Pavilion on Friday night.

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN: Big Ten (4), ACC (3), Big 12 (3), SEC (2), AAC (1), Big East (1), Pac-12 (1), WCC (1)


  • Tuesday: Champions Classic Kansas vs. Michigan State (6 PM EST, ESPN), Kentucky vs. Duke (9:30 PM EST, ESPN)
  • Friday: Villanova at UCLA (11:30 PM EST, ESPN 2), San Diego State at BYU (9 PM EST)
  • Saturday: Texas at Gonzaga (10:30 PM EST, ESPN 2), Davidson at San Francisco (8:30 PM EST)
  • Sunday: Florida State at Florida (1 PM EST, ESPN)
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Preseason Stock Report: Buy Now

Posted by Matthew Eisenberg on October 28th, 2021

The first Associated Press Top 25 poll of the season has many familiar faces ranked among the top 25. Here is a look at four teams that did not crack the top 25 to begin the year, but are teams worth buying stock in now.

BYU: In the shadows of Gonzaga sits BYU, a team that won 20 games and earned a #6 seed in last season’s NCAA Tournament. While the Cougars do not return either Brandon Averette or Matt Haarms, they do bring back a pair of All-WCC preseason players in Alex Barcello and Caleb Lohner. Mark Pope’s team also adds a fifth-year senior in Te’Jon Lucas from Milwaukee where Lucas averaged 14 or more points per game, five or more assists per game, and four or more rebounds per game in each of the past two seasons.

Mark Pope Has an Underrated Team Returning (USA Today Images)

Florida: Last season ended in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament after the Gators were upset by Oral Roberts. It was a season that also included the horrific on-court collapse of Keyontae Johnson. Mike White’s team did not receive a single vote in the preseason AP Poll and have been picked to finish seventh in the SEC by the media. It is a team that returns a trio of seniors in Tyree Appleby (11.3 PPG, 28.4 MPG), Colin Castleton (preseason All-SEC first team selection) and Anthony Duruji (6.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG in 22 MPG). In addition, the Gators add in three impact transfers including Myreon Jones from Penn State, Brandon McKissic from UMKC, and CJ Felder from Boston College. The three newcomers averaged a combined 42.2 points per game last season.

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Preseason Stock Report: Bear Market

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on October 26th, 2021

The 2020-21 season began with both Duke and Kentucky ranked in the top 10 and of course ended with both missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in over 40 years. The final AP Poll of last season did not include 10 of the 25 teams that were ranked to begin the season. While polls only tell some of the on-court story, here are a few teams that I feel could have difficulties reaching their lofty preseason expectations.

Auburn: Bruce Pearl’s Auburn club enters the year at #21 in the AP Poll and as high as #9 on a pair of ballots. The Tigers are coming off a forgettable season outside of Sharife Cooper’s 12-game stretch, and they begin the season with Allen Flanigan (14.3 PPG last season) out for at least a month. With Cooper gone and Flanigan sidelined, that leaves just one of the team’s top six scorers from last year on the team and ready to start the season. Auburn does add some firepower in the form of Georgia transfer K.D. Johnson (13.5 PPG) and North Carolina transfer Walker Kessler (4.4 PPG), along with five-star freshman Jabari Smith. The question is whether Pearl put it all together? Additionally, how will a non-conference schedule that features just one true road game impact the Tigers’ readiness for road tests in a very strong SEC?

Bruce Pearl is Ready to Rumble Again (USA Today Images)

Baylor: Baylor begins the season ranked #8 in the nation. The defending champs bring back the talented Adam Flagler and Matthew Mayer along with the toughness of Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua to a squad that adds senior guard James Akinjo and freshman Kendall Brown. The list of what is no longer in Waco, though, is long. Gone are Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague and Mark Vital. That includes 61.8 percent of the scoring from last year’s team, two players from the all-conference first-team, three players from the league’s all-defensive team, a consensus first-team All-American, the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, and the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Can Scott Drew do what few champions have done recently and back up a National Championship with another year in the top 10?

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