NBC Sports College Basketball All-American Teams

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Today is the day that we unveil the NBC Sports college basketball All-American teams.

Picking this year’s National Player of the Year was actually pretty easy to do based on the way that the season played out down the stretch, but the first team was a bit more difficult. It really came down to seven or eight guys for the five spots, and they were not easy to pick between.

You can read all about it below.

Here are the definitive college basketball first, second and third team all-americans.

Obi Toppin (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)



  • 20.5 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.3 rpg, 41.5% 3PT

Pritchard has carried this Oregon team for long stretches this season, and he has hit so many big shots throughout the year. So the numbers themselves are incredible and deserving of this honor before you consider how many times he’s made plays late in games that won games. I think he is the most likely player to put a team on his back and will them to a national title a la Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier.

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  • 21.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.9 apg

I can already hear the criticism from people. “How can you make a player that shoots 30.6 percent from three a first-team All-American? He shot 26 percent from deep during Big East play!” Yes, those numbers are accurate. But what Powell brings this Seton Hall program goes so much deeper than that. It’s the intangibles, the leadership, setting the tone, all the cliche things that are so hard to measure with stats. Think about it this way: The Pirates won the Big East regular season title and have a chance to be a No. 2 seed if they win the Big East tournament. Markus Howard returned to school and the Hauser brothers immediately decided to transfer out.


  • 20.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.2 apg, 39% 3PT

Toppin is the NBC Sports National Player of the Year. Of course he is going to be a first-team All-American.


  • 23.7 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 54% FG, 35.8% 3PT

Garza has been absolutely unstoppable this season. He’s averaging nearly 24 points and 10 boards on the season, and his numbers only improved during Big Ten play, a league that is stacked with talented big men. There is no one in college basketball that plays as hard or is as relentless on the glass or in the post as the Hawkeye center. If there is a knock on Garza, it is his ability to defend. The reason he is, for me, “only” a first-team All-American and not the National Player of the Year is because he is the reason the Hawkeyes have been forced to play zone so much this year.


  • 13.7 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 74.8% FG

Azubuike has turned himself into one of the most dominant frontcourt pieces in college basketball this season. He’s an animal on the block, one of the strongest players in the sport, and the fact that he plays for a coach that is elite at creating ways to get him a post seal makes him that much more dangerous. He’s also a terrific lob target, and Self has schemed ways to get him rolling to the rim more often this year. But what makes him a first-team All-American is his work on the defensive side of the ball. Azubuike is the best defensive center in the sport and, for my money, the Defensive Player of the Year. He anchors a defense for Kansas that is going to be what carries them through the tournament.

Udoka Azubuike (John E. Moore III/Getty Images)



  • 18.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg

Deciding between Azubuike and Dotson for first-team off of Kansas was tough, but I think that Azubuike’s value as a lob-catching, rim-defending pterodactyl makes him the choice. Dotson, however, was still terrific this season. He’s terrific in transition and is near-unstoppable when Self can space the floor and get Dotson to turn a corner. I’m not sure he has the kind of pro potential that Devonte’ Graham or Frank Mason had, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a damn good college point guard.


  • 16.1 ppg, 5.0 apg, 3.8 rpg, 42.4% 3PT

Teammate Ty-Shon Alexander beat him out for all-Big East first team, but I think Zegarowski is the quarterback of this Creighton team. He’s the guy that makes them tick. The way I think about it is pretty simple: We know how good Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are, but would the Chiefs have won the Super Bowl is they had Jimmy Garappolo instead of Patrick Mahomes? Zegarowski is their heartbeat. Here’s to hoping that he is healthy for March.

MALACHI FLYNN, San Diego State

  • 17.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.5 rpg, 37.3% 3PT

Flynn is the engine for one of the nation’s most surprising teams in San Diego State. Brian Dutcher has built his offense around Flynn’s ability to be a playmaker in ball-screens, and it should come as no surprise that the Aztecs have thrived as a result.


  • 27.8 ppg, 3.3 apg, 41.2% 3PT

Howard is having a stupid-good season. He’s shooting 10 threes per game, many of which are absurdly difficult, and he’s hitting better than 41 percent of them. He is the guy that every defense is game-planning ways to slow down, and he still manages to be as efficient as this while leading the nation in scoring at 27.8 points. If Marquette hadn’t completely fallen off a cliff down the stretch, if they truly were good enough to make a run to a Final Four, Howard would have been a contender to win the national title.


  • 18.3 ppg, 5.9 apg, 42.6% 3PT

Winston’s senior season has been one of the biggest talking points in college basketball. He has underwhelmed — understandably so — based on what was expected of him entering the season. That said, he finished the season averaging 18.3 points and 5.9 assists while shooting 42.6 percent from three for the Big Ten tri-champs, a team that will likely enter the NCAA tournament as a top three seed and one of the five most trustworthy teams in the sport. He might not have been as dominant as we expected as early as we wanted him to be, but he still had a damn good season.

Tre Jones (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)



  • 16.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.1 apg, 38.1% 3PT

Butler is the one guy on this Baylor team that can go out and create a shot for himself, which is something that cannot and should not be undervalued. The Bears can go through stretches where they look like they forgot how to play offensively. Butler is the one guy that can get them out of that funk on his own.


  • 16.2 ppg, 6.4 apg, 4.2 rpg, 1.8 spg, 36.1% 3PT

Jones is another guy that is on this list in large part due to things that can’t necessarily be found in a box score. He’s a terrific on-ball defenders, perhaps the best leader in college basketball and the guy that has been the veteran voice on the floor for a team that is starting three freshmen.


  • 16.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 42.8% 3PT

In a year where nothing for Kentucky was consistent, Quickley was the guy that they could always rely on. He was a steadying force, and he just so happened to be one of the best shooters in America in the final five minutes of a game. Nick Richards got the hype early, and deservedly so, but Quickley was Kentucky’s best player this season.

SADDIQ BEY, Villanova

  • 16.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.4 apg, 47.7% FG, 45.1% 3PT

Bey is the next great Villanova wing. He’s a terrific shooter, he’s the best defender in the program and he’s a guy that can play on the ball as well as off of it. I personally think he will be a lottery pick that spends a decade playing in the NBA, and we saw it throughout Big East play. If Villanova is going to make a run in March, Bey is going to be the guy that carries them.

XAVIER TILLMAN, Michigan State

  • 13.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.1 bpg, 1.2 spg

The most underrated player in college basketball. The stats speak for themselves. What doesn’t necessarily show up in these stats is just how good of a defender he is. He can take away any five in the country. He’s also just a terrific passer and decision-maker when forced into 4-on-3 situations after teams double Cassius Winston in ball-screens. He’s one of those guys that makes things just run more smoothly whenever he is on the floor, and he will get the proper credit for that here.

NCAA steering farther and farther away from harsh penalties

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The days of postseason bans and crippling scholarship reductions to punish schools for breaking NCAA rules appear to be winding down.

Memphis was placed on three years of probation earlier this week with a public reprimand and fined for NCAA violations related to the recruitment and short college career of James Wiseman, who is about to start his third season with the Golden State Warriors. The NCAA also wrapped up an investigation of Air Force football for breaking the COVID-19 recruiting quiet period.

No postseason bans or scholarship reductions in either case. The Independent Accountability Review Panel, the NCAA’s outside arm of enforcement, said in its decision in the Memphis case that it did not want to punish current athletes.

That sentiment is widespread in college athletics these days, even with millions of dollars suddenly flowing to athletes from various sources for their celebrity endorsements amid concerns over improper inducements. In fact, it is on the way to being codified: Last month, the Division I Board of Directors adopted three proposals to change the infractions process.

The board also committed to “identifying appropriate types of penalties and modifying current penalty ranges, including identifying potential alternative penalties to postseason bans.”

Trying to predict what those alternatives will be is difficult, but if the goal is to avoid harming athletes and others who were not involved in the violations the options are limited.

“I emphatically believe it’s the wrong direction to go,” said Nebraska law professor Jo Potuto, who spent nine years on the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“If you’re going to deter, the punishment has to fit the offense, right?” Potuto added. “You’re not going to deter serious violations with penalties that are not perceived to be really serious.”

Since January 2020, there have been at least 45 major infractions cases decided by the NCAA. Of those, at least 15 involved Level I allegations, the most serious and those carrying the most severe penalties; six cases resulted in some kind of postseason ban, with four of them self-imposed.

The Memphis case went through the IARP, which was created in response to the FBI’s investigation of college basketball corruption but is now being discontinued. Sunsetting the IARP was among several recommendations put forth by the NCAA’s Division I Transformation Committee earlier this year and recently adopted by the board.

As college sports moves toward less centralized governance by the NCAA and deregulation in general, the hope is to create a more streamlined enforcement process.

If justice is swift, the thinking goes, it is more likely to be applied fairly.

“The reality is the current system is broken,” said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips, a member of the transformation committee. “I think everyone in the association, in the enterprise, understands it. When (an investigation) takes the amount of time that it does now and you start to penalize young men and women that were high school, if not middle school-age (when the violation occurred), it’s not an effective process.”

The IARP is still handling cases stemming from the FBI probe involving Louisville, Arizona, Kansas and LSU. Those have been in the NCAA enforcement pipeline for years. A related case against Oklahoma State did not go through IARP and the Cowboys did end up with a postseason ban.

David Ridpath, a professor at Ohio University and former compliance director for several schools, said even though the IARP failed, NCAA enforcement would be best handled by an independent organization.

“No system is perfect, but if you’re going to have an enforcement system at the end of the day you need to provide basic due-process protections and then you have to be able to consistently punish people,” he said.

In the Memphis case, Wiseman received $11,500 from Hardaway in 2017 while Hardaway was coach at a local high school. Hardaway was hired as Memphis’ coach in March 2018, and Wiseman committed to the Tigers in November 2018.

The NCAA accused Memphis of four Level I and two Level II violations, including lack of institutional control, head coach responsibility and failure to monitor. In the past, those types of allegations could strike fear into athletic directors but probation and fines seem much more likely to be the outcome now instead of the sweeping scholarship sanctions, vacated victories and postseason ban that Southern California received in 2010 for the Reggie Bush improper benefits case. Those penalties set USC football back years.

In the end, the IARP essentially reduced the charges against Memphis and cleared Hardaway of wrongdoing.

While the NCAA is losing sway in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling, with more power being shifted to its member conferences, it also remains clear the schools still want the association to handle enforcement.

But what exactly is being enforced?

Athletes can now be paid for endorsement and sponsorship deals and college sports is still waiting on and hoping for help from federal lawmakers to regulate name, image and likeness compensation.

Plus, as revenue skyrockets for schools at the top of major college sports, the NCAA is trending toward fewer restrictions on what financial benefits can be provided to athletes.

“Until we have clarity and certainty on what schools and boosters and athletes can and can’t do, I think many recognize that it’s dangerous to hand down significant punishments when it’s not clear what you can and can’t do,” said Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane. “And I think unless you have clear rules, it’s hard to harsh punishment.”

Still, punishments directed at schools (fines) and coaches (suspensions) could become steeper and longer, Feldman said.

Potuto said with so much money flowing into the top of college athletics, it is doubtful fines could be large enough to be a true deterrent. While she understands the desire to not have current athletes pay for the sins of previous regimes, loosened transfer rules could mitigate the potential harm.

“I will make one prediction: If there is a move to impose penalties much less frequently in five years there is going to be a move to put them back in,” Potuto said.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies


SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.