Sporting News offers its predictions.
I'm more than a little skeptical about this statement: "The Sporting News 2012-13 preseason All-American teams were selected by SN writers and editors, in consultation with coaches and scouts."
Am I to believe that any representative group of consulting coaches and scouts would have failed to insist that Aaron Craft merits inclusion somewhere on the first three teams? For that matter, wouldn't just a few of such consultants have nominated Craft as the best all-round player in college ball?
Although a McAdoo booster, I don't know that first team makes sense. Poythress as second team; I sure was disappointed that Poythress chose not to attend Duke, but second team? Sure am relieved Cody Zeller chose not to major in Swahili in CH.
mccollum on first team???
Never forget, this is the greatest college achievement in Harrison Barnes's trophy case. It means very little.
They must all be in the NBA. Is it me, or do these seem like pretty weak teams compared to years past?
Lindy's preseason magazine projects McAdoo AND PJ Hairston (?!?!?) as first-team All-ACC picks.
Let them enjoy their preseason accoplades.
Aaron Craft is a really fine player and vaunted defender, but tagging him as the best all-around player in college basketball would kind of be like having labled John Stockton the best all-around player in the NBA at any point of his career. In several categories, Stockton was the best in the game at what he did, period. That chiefly being setting up teammates as a point general and using his falcon-quick hands on the defensive end to create turnovers.Originally Posted by gumbomoop
Craft is similarly talented in that he excels tremendously, almost to unparalleled levels, at certain areas of the game. He is the returning Big Ten defensive player of the year and is probably the most effective defender in the entire country. His presence as an on-the-ball defender is striking; he's a complete nightmare to play against. I might argue, however, that being a turnover-creating machine is much easier when your brand of defense is I'll-just-foul. Although I can't be certain, because Craft's body was so close to his defenders that in certain jurisdictions it might have been considered battery, there were several plays last year where it appeared that Craft engineered a steal by using a scalpel to remove his man's tendons. But that is pure speculation.
Despite his excellence on defense, Craft is far from one of the best offensive point guards in the country. He is a solid mid-range shooter, shooting over 55% from 2-PT range last season, but wildly inconsistent from the outside and only an average penetrator at best due to his small stature and lagging first step leading to a high percentage of his drives ending in blocked shots. Craft was able to benefit from the presence of All-American caliber scorers such as Willie Buford and Jared Sullinger as a solid catch-and-shoot threat the previous two years, but he is much less of a threat when asked to put the ball on the floor to create his own shot, so it remains to be seen how the departures of Craft's NBA-bound teammates and the increased defensive attention he will most certainly receive will affect his offensive game.
Moral of the story: I don't like Craft. Haha. But I do believe that while he's an elite defender, he is not an elite all-around player.
Totally agree with the questions about Poythress (who I do think will be one of the two best freshmen, but still) and McAdoo. I also agree with the point that Craft is correctly not on the list. I'd add that Deshaun Thomas seems like a questionable selection as well. I'd have put Canaan on the first team over McCollum. And I'd have had Lorenzo Brown on the list. And I'd have considered Mike Moser, Phil Pressey, Pierre Jackson, Michael Snaer, Andre Roberson, and perhaps even Gorgui Dieng.
That being said, there aren't a ton of returning players who are proven candidates, so I don't care all that much. And I especially don't care given that it is a meaningless honor. I suspect that the post-season All-American list will look dramatically different than this list.
Last edited by CDu; 10-02-2012 at 01:12 PM.
Admittedly, the shock of seeing - well, not seeing - Craft even 3d team preseason pushed me to maybe-hyperbole. I understand that, to you, there's no maybe about it. Perhaps I give him so many points for defensive ultra-prowess that I overlook his O-deficiencies. Even there I think he's better than you (think he is), but you're right that his game cannot depend on his creating shots for himself.
The short version - mine, and possibly yours - is that Craft is a much better D-player [effective, efficient, disruption] than is any player an O-player. Thus, I do not believe Craft is both top 5 on O and on D; but I can't think of anyone who is, so in this case "all-round" means, for me, someone who is spectacularly good on D [your words: "excels tremendously, almost to unparalleled levels," "striking," "complete nightmare"], and good enough on O.
I will be surprised if Craft isn't 1st-2d team pre All-Am in other pubs, online and otherwise.
I wouldn't put him among the top 15 players in the country. Defensively, he's easily top-5 (probably #1; hard to compare PG defense to post defense). Offensively, he's average-to-below-average in everything except wide open 3pt shots. So while he's on the VERY short list of elite defenders, I think the aggregate of both offense and defense puts him outside the top-15 for me.
So there are other freshmen on these lists, including another Kentucky freshman, but the #1 big man recruit in the country, going to Kentucky, expected to step into the shoes and be a reasonable facsimile of Anthony Davis, is nowhere being mentioned? I know there have been some off-season concerns, but still: Where is Nerlens Noel?
I will admit, though, that I am probably more critical of the kid than I should be due to a) being from Ohio and liking Ohio State as much as I do forgetting my hand was in the car door, b) all of the -- at least to me -- over-inflated worship he receives here, c) his under-your-skin cocky nature, and d) what happened to us while I was in attendance at the Duke-OSU game in the Schottenstein Center last November.
But I agree with you in that I think Craft will again be so dominant defensively and "good enough" offensively to land himself on one of these teams when the year is over.
The assessment of Craft above is rather excellent. Elite defender. Above average offensive talent. And this from an OSU homer (me, not the poster above).
The same is true of his teammate, who did make the list. But that's because offensive prowess/potentail is more controlling in preseason missives like this. Thomas can score in bunches with a few bricks in between. He defends like a bunch of bricks.
By the end of this season, I suspect Mason Plumlee will be on one of these teams. That's when it counts, anyway; these lists are more for online preseason fodder than anything else. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I think the only Duke player whose got a shot at post-season is Ryan Kelly. I also think he's going to end up being a top 3 choice for ACC POY.
Just don't think Mase/the system is going to get to that level this year, hope he proves me wrong. Really, really hope he proves me wrong.