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Bossi's Best: 2017-18 All-Americans

RANKINGS: 2018 Rivals150 | 2019 Rivals150 | 2020 Rivals150

We've reached the final week of the college basketball regular season and it's time for March Madness. In this week's edition of Bossi's Best, National Basketball Analyst Eric Bossi names his All-American teams and looks at their recruitment, their season and how they'll be replaced.

MORE: Five-star Shareef O'Neal commits to UCLA



This season: 19.9 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.

Recruitment: For much of Ayton’s recruitment he was thought to be a heavy lean towards Kansas. However, shortly before the start of his senior season the tide began to switch for the native of the Bahamas and he surprised by picking Arizona early.

Bossi's analysis: Ayton has recently been dragged into the headlines after an ESPN report alleges that Sean Miller is on FBI wiretaps discussing paying $100,000 for Ayton. Ayton and has family have vehemently denied receiving any improper benefits. That aside, Ayton has been fabulous. He's looked like a man among boys while cementing himself as the favorite to be taken No. 1 in June's NBA Draft.

How he'll be replaced: Five-star power forward Shareef O'Neal recently announced a decommitment and the Wildcats also lose senior Dusan Ristic. That means Duke transfer Chase Jeter (a former five-star himself) is going to be relied up on heavily next season. Freshman Ira Lee will also shoulder much more responsibility.

Marvin Bagley
Marvin Bagley (AP Images)

This season: 20.7 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

Recruitment: Originally a member of the class of 2018, Bagley announced at the end of the summer of 2017 that he would enroll in school a year early. Duke beat out Arizona, Kansas, UCLA and USC.

Bossi's analysis: After he missed some recent time with injury, I saw it speculated in a few places that perhaps Duke was better without Bagley. Give me a break. He's made it look so easy to dominate college basketball that people are mistaking the game coming easy to him with lack of effort. An electric athlete and one of the most natural rebounders I've seen as a freshman.

How he'll be replaced: Duke's 2018 recruiting class has the top three ranked players and another five-star. What they don't have is a true big man coming in. The Blue Devils will likely lose Bagley and Wendell Carter, though, so landing five-star power forward target E.J. Montgomery is extra important. Former five-star Marques Bolden will need to take a big step forward as a junior, regardless of who else they land.

Jalen Brunson
Jalen Brunson (AP Images)

This season: 19.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

Recruitment: Early on the word was that Brunson would end up at his father Rick Brunson’s alma mater Temple, with his dad signing on as an assistant coach. When that didn’t happen it turned into a battle between Villanova and Illinois and was won by Jay Wright.

Bossi's analysis: When Brunson signed with Villanova, he was a guy that I projected would end up an All-American and score over 2,000 points. An early departure to the NBA could keep 2,000 from happening but he's been every bit of the leader, scorer and winner that he was expected to be out of high school.

How he'll be replaced: Brunson is probably a 50-50 bet to enter and stay in the 2018 draft. If he comes back, he'll likely be the favorite for National Player of the Year and five-star senior Jahvon Quinerly will get to learn from him for a year. If he leaves, Quinerly is cut from a similar cloth.

Devonte' Graham

This season: 17.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game.

Recruitment: Graham originally signed with Appalachian State but was denied a release from his scholarship when he asked out. So he went to prep school to wait out a release and ended up picking the Jayhawks over hometown NC State and Virginia in the spring of his prep year.

Bossi's analysis: Following National Player of the Year Frank Mason, Graham had big expectations put on him for his senior season. A legit Player of the Year candidate, Graham has been at his best down the stretch as the Jayhawks rallied to win their 14th straight Big 12 title. Amazingly, Graham has logged 40 minutes in 12 of his last 13 appearances.

How he'll be replaced: Kansas fans shouldn't expect another POY candidate to be running the point next year, but the Jayhawks are in good hands. Cal transfer Charlie Moore will have a year of practice under his belt and incoming five-star point guard Devon Dotson should be ready to step in and compete right away.

Trae Young
Trae Young (AP Images)

This season: 28.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game.

Recruitment: A homegrown product from Norman, Young toyed with the idea of leaving for a blueblood like Kansas or Kentucky. However, the chance for total freedom and to be the man from day one helped the Sooners win his services.

Bossi's analysis: The nation's leader in scoring and assists, Young has had an incredible freshman season. I know the grind of the long year and his usage rate have caught up to him a bit the last month, but his early play set a near impossible standard to keep playing to. The only downside for the Sooners is that Young's time at Oklahoma is going to be shorter than expected and that their recent slump could cost them a birth in the NCAA Tournament.

How he'll be replaced: The Sooners haven't signed a point guard from the class of 2018 and the remaining pool of available guards is rather slim. Jordan Shepherd will be back as a junior and the Sooners have a reputation for developing their guards. If they don't find some help, though, Shepherd is going to be under a lot of pressure to step up.


Keita Bates-Diop
Keita Bates-Diop (AP Images)

This season: 19.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

Recruitment: A native of Illinois, Bates-Diop was a major Big Ten target and took several unofficial visits early in the process. Though he considered Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue among others, Ohio State locked him up in November of his junior year.

Bossi's analysis: Bates-Diop has flourished under new Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann and he would get my vote as the Big Ten's Player of the Year. He's the epitome of the inside/out "combo forward" who creates mismatches offensively and plays big enough to offset tweener size on defense. He's been a big key in the Buckeyes surprising season.

How he'll be replaced: The hope for Ohio State fans is that Bates-Diop replaces himself next season, but the odds are that he at least tests the NBA Draft waters before making a decision. If he's not back, four-star high school senior Jaedon LeDee will shoulder more responsibility early and Kaleb Wesson will become a much more focal part of the offense as a sophomore.

Trevon Bluiett
Trevon Bluiett (AP Images)

This season: 19.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

Recruitment: Blueitt was initially set to follow his high school coach Ed Schilling (who is now at Indiana) to UCLA and made an early commitment. However, he backed off his Bruins commitment before signing and ended up at Xavier.

Bossi's analysis: Bluiett has had a remarkable four-year career and will leave Xavier as one of the program's all-time greats. He is physical, tough, skilled and makes defenders pay as soon as they leave him open. Bluiett is the biggest reason Xavier is in the mix for a No. 1 seed.

How he'll be replaced: Most likely, Bluiett's replacement is current freshman Naji Marshall who has had a terrific first year in Cincinnati. He'll need to be ready to play an expanded role because it doesn't appear any of the 2018 recruits will be ready to be high level producers as freshmen.

Miles Bridges
Miles Bridges (AP Images)

This season: 16.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

Recruitment: When Bridges first broke on the scene, most figured he would be tough to get out of his home state of Michigan. Then late in his junior year and leading into his senior year the buzz was Kentucky. Tom Izzo was able to rally and bring Bridges home in the early signing period.

Bossi's analysis: Bridges made a big stir when he decided to come back for a second year in East Lansing and maybe expectations for him were a bit unfair. His numbers are mostly the same as last year but he's got a stronger and more experienced team -- on which he is still the best player -- around him.

How he'll be replaced: Assuming he leaves for the NBA, Bridges won’t be easily replaced and it’s not reasonable to expect a freshman to equal his contributions. However, four-star Aaron Henry has the same rugged mentality and four-star Gabe Brown has big upside as he adds strength.

This season: 17.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.

Recruitment: Coming out of high school, West Virginia was the only high major program to seriously pursue Carter. They beat out Lehigh, Toledo, Indiana State, Valpo and Wisconsin-Green Bay among others to land him in the fall of his senior year.

Bossi's analysis: Carter will go down as the guy who defines the "Press Virginia" style that Bob Huggins switched to. Underrated and underappreciated by all of us out of high school, Carter is one of most ferocious two-way competitors in the country and he's elevated the Mountaineers level of play for years now.

How he'll be replaced: Not only is West Virginia losing Carter, they are losing a 1,200+ point scorer in the backcourt in Daxter Miles. Next season James Bolden is likely to have a much bigger role as a junior but the key is going to be incoming Rivals150 point guard Jordan McCabe, who plays a high risk style at the one.

This season: 19.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.

Recruitment: The younger brother of former UCLA star Jrue Holiday, Aaron never got too far down the road with any other programs. He committed to the Bruins in March of his junior year.

Bossi's analysis: The Bruins sit right on the NCAA bubble and will need Holiday to live up to All-American status a few more times down the stretch if they want to make it. I love his in-your-face style, and though he can be a bit of a volume shooter at times, he's one guy whose effort you can always count on on both ends of the court. He's underrated nationally because UCLA hasn't had the success of some of the other All-American candidates.

How he'll be replaced: In theory, Holiday could be back for his senior season, but more than likely he's gone for the NBA. Ideally, current freshman Jaylen Hands can slide right into that role and the former five-star prospect can put up big numbers as a sophomore. The Bruins recently picked up four-star Tyger Campbell to add some needed depth.