The AP says that Harrison Barnes is the best freshman ever

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Carmelo Anthony averaged 22 points and 10 boards in his one season at Syracuse, leading the Orange to the 2003 national title. But he wasn’t an AP Preseason All-American.

Neither was Greg Oden. Or Kevin Durant. Or Michael Beasley, John Wall, and any other freshman to ever play college basketball.

Maybe I’m not being clear. A freshman has never been an AP Preseason All-American until today, as North Carolina freshman small forward Harrison Barnes made the cut. Here’s the team (with the number of votes, out of 67, that they received):

  • Kyle Singler, Duke, Sr. (65)
  • Jacob Pullen, Kansas State, Sr. (53)
  • Jimmer Fredette, BYU, Sr. (49)
  • JaJuan Johnson, Purdue, Sr. (46)
  • Harrison Barnes, UNC, Fr. (17)

That’s high praise for Barnes, who was also picked by Gary Parrish to be the national player of the year, as he was selected over talents like Nolan Smith, LaceDarius Dunn, Shelvin Mack, and Elias Harris.

Keep in mind, preseason all-americans don’t always become postseason all-americans. Look at last year’s team: Sherron Collins, Kyle Singler, Patrick Patterson, Luke Harangody, and Cole Aldrich.

Were any of them first-team all-americans at season’s end? (Hint: no.)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.