Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.
NBCSPORTS.COM PRESEASON FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICANS
G Marcus Paige, North Carolina: We came very close to naming Paige our Preseason Player of the Year. What impressed us the most about the Tar Heel floor general was his ability last season to run Roy Williams’ offense until he realized that his team needed him to take over. Paige had some monster second halves as a sophomore, and don’t be surprised to see that carry over into this season.
G Caris LeVert, Michigan: I think LeVert is going to thrive in John Beilein’s offense this season. While I don’t see him being the next Nik Stauskas — they are very different players — what LeVert does will is attack off of ball-screens actions. I see him playing a role similar to that of Tim Hardaway Jr. back in 2012-2013.
F Stanley Johnson, Arizona: The NBCSports.com staff simply adores the way that Johnson plays. He’s a winner, he can defend any position on the floor, he can handle the point if needed and he’s always going to play hard. Simply put, he’s a future top five pick that is a perfect fit in Sean Miller’s system.
F Sam Dekker, Wisconsin: We went with Dekker over his teammate Frank Kaminsky on the first team because Dekker is probably the more talented of the two players. He’s grown a couple of inches since he got to Madison, and with some added strength and the confidence of a strong showing at the LeBron James Skills Academy, expect Dekker to be the star of a top five Badgers team.
C Jahlil Okafor, Duke: The only consensus first-team all-american between our four voters, Okafor was the NBCSports.com Preseason Player of the Year. You can read all about that decision here.
NBCSports.com’s Preseason Player of the Year: Duke’s Jahlil Okafor
SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICANS
G Chasson Randle, Stanford: One of the nation’s most underrated stars, Randle should once again put up huge numbers for a team that may be the second-best in the Pac-12.
G Fred Van Vleet, Wichita State: Nothing that Van Vleet does on a basketball court will ‘wow’ you. But there may not be a better leader in the locker room, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s the prototype for a floor general.
F Montrezl Harrell, Louisville: No one in the country plays harder than Harrell. He’s a strong, physical overpowering athlete, and he’s added a perimeter game this summer.
F Georges Niang, Iowa State: Niang is the opposite of Harrell in that he’s a finesse player and a nightmare to try and defend. He also lost 25 pounds this offseason.
C Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin: All you need to do is go back and watch the clinic that Kaminsky put on against Arizona in the Elite 8 last season to understand his selection here.
THIRD TEAM ALL-AMERICANS
G Ron Baker, Wichita State: He can defend three positions, he can play the point or off the ball and he will be the go-to guy offensively for the Shockers this season.
G Juwan Staten, West Virginia: Staten is one of the nation’s best-kept secrets and the sole reason that West Virginia is in the conversation for an NCAA tournament berth this year.
G Delon Wright, Utah: All Wright does is produce. He’s a fantasy basketball dream. But in order for him to get more national recognition, he needs to get the Utes into the win column more often this year.
G Tyler Haws, BYU: Haws may be the best scorer in the country this season. It’s that simple.
C Karl Towns, Kentucky: Towns is one of the best pro prospects in the country, but will he get enough minutes in Kentucky’s platoon to deserve postseason accolades?
HONORABLE MENTION: Terran Petteway (Nebraska), Aaron Harrison (Kentucky), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia), Cliff Alexander (Kansas), Marcus Foster (Kansas State), Kelly Oubre (Kansas), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga)