Saturday, March 04, 2006

My All-American Ballot

As a card-carrying member (I really do carry the membership card) of the United States Basketball Writers Association, or USBWA, I am invited every year to vote for their All-American team. They also collect votes for National Player, Coach, and Freshman of the Year. I'm going to give you a peek behind the curtain and see my vote.

Player of the Year-J. J. Redick, Duke. This should be no surprise for regular readers. I love Adam Morrison's game, but in my mind, you can essentially flip a coin between his and Redick's performance this year. With all alse being equal, Redick gets the lean because he did it night in and night out against far superior competition. No, that's not Morrison's fault, but if he were really a better player, then would his numbers separate from Redick's?

Coach of the Year--Roy Williams, North Carolina. I know, I'm an ACC guy and have to vote for ACC people, right? That may be the way it turned out, but I stand by this against anyone in the nation. There are other worthy candidates--Bill Self of Kansas and Ben Howland of UCLA come to mind quickly, but 'Ol Roy has done an amazing job with this team. He never allowed them to buy into reduced expecations and has pushed the right buttons all year. I think they will do some damage in March.

Freshman of the Year-Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina. It's a sweep for the ACC. I saw Hansbrough play at least ten times, and he continues to impress me with a low post game that's very polished for a freshman and an intensity that is off the charts. He's called "Psycho T" for a reason, but it's a good thing.

Here are my ten All-Americans. We were not asked to designate first or second team, just vote for ten players. The top five vote getters will make the first team.

J. J. Redick-Duke
Adam Morrison-Gonzaga
Shelden Williams, Duke (the best big man in the country)

Now it got a lot tougher. These were the only threee players in my mind that clearly separated themselves from the rest. There were at least 20 others I considered for the last seven spots. I took this very seriously--it's national recognition.

In no particular order.....

Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
Brandon Roy, Washington
Randy Foye, Villanova
Ronnie Brewer, Arkansas
Paul Millsap, Louisiana Tech
Paul Davis, Michigan State
Rodney Carney, Memphis

It was a good year for big men. I've never seen Millsap play but read a lot about him. He is a beast--not a shot-blocker like Shelden Williams but an outstanding low-post player. So is Paul Davis, not as fierce as Milsap but still a force inside, as is Hansbrough. Brewer and Carney are perhaps the most athletic, all-around players in the nation. When I was Carney shut down J. J. Redick at the Preseason NIT in November, he had to play his way off my team. He didn't. Roy and Foye are two of the better perimeter players in the nation, but they are more than just shooters. They can make their own shots, pass the ball, and play some defense.

Feel free to tell me what you think I got wrong. There is plenty of room for agruement this year.


At 1:10 PM, Anonymous James said...

Nice post.

The Morrison/Reddick choice is a tough one. Kinda spooky how both players line up on paper. I haven't watched Reddick play much being a west coaster but I can tell you that week in/week out Adam has been hammered by opposing defenses.

At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Brent said...

Paul Davis is maybe the 3rd best player on his team. He's 3rd team all B10 at best, in no way does he belong on any All American teams.

Pops over at GW is far better and deserving of the recognition than Davis.

Just my 2 cents

At 6:44 PM, Anonymous dan said...

Even as a Kansas fan, I can appreciate your vote for Roy Williams. As much as I am not a fan, I have to respect what he has done in a "rebounding year".


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