Bossi's Best: All-American teams, awards
The regular season has come and gone in college basketball and it’s time to deliver some accolades. In this week’s Bossi’s Best, National Analyst Eric Bossi names the Rivals.com All-American teams and hands out his awards.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICANS
Udoka Azubuike, Kansas
Season: 13.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.
Bossi’s take: It was a tough decision between Azubuike and point guard Devon Dotson when it came to selecting which Jayhawk to put on the first team. However, I championed the dunking machine as the Big 12 Player of the Year for much of the season and the conference agreed, naming him POY. I just don’t see anybody like him, and his ability to punish the rim and anchor a defense are going to be big keys if No. 1 Kansas wants to cut down the nets in Atlanta.
Luka Garza, Iowa
Season: 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
Bossi’s take: A walking double-double, Garza has spent the season torching any defense he faces. Some people don’t like the way he plays until – and sometimes beyond – the whistle but it’s hard to dispute his toughness. He has skill, he can stretch defenses with his jump shooting and he’s the primary reason Iowa could be a very difficult NCAA Tournament matchup.
Myles Powell, Seton Hall
Season: 21.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
Bossi’s take: I get it. Powell isn’t the most efficient guard in the country, but man is he a warrior, and he seems to come up big when his team needs it the most. He plays hurt, he plays with reckless abandon and his teammates follow his lead. Seton Hall claimed a share of the Big East title and the Pirates aren’t in the conversation without Powell’s heroics.
Payton Pritchard, Oregon
Season: 20.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.5. assists per game.
Bossi’s take: All Pritchard did was lead the Pac-12 in scoring and assists while leading the Ducks to a conference championship. He is as clutch as any player in the country and it wouldn’t be surprising if he personally carried Oregon to a heroic win or two during the NCAA Tournament. I don’t know what the requirements are to get your jersey hung in the rafters at Oregon, but Pritchard sure seems like a guy deserving of that honor after he graduates.
Obi Toppin, Dayton (National Player of the Year)
Season: 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2. assists per game.
Bossi’s take: My National Player of the Year, Toppin has been absolutely dominant as Dayton has put together a special run during the 2019-20 season. Not only is Toppin efficient, he’s versatile, he’s competitive and his high-flying style pleases crowds. Can he lead the Flyers to a Final Four? If he can come close to playing the way he did during the regular season in the NCAA Tournament, then the future NBA lottery pick certainly has a chance.
SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICANS
Yoeli Childs, BYU
Childs has put together the most unappreciated 22 points and nine rebounds in the country while leading BYU into the national top 25.
Devon Dotson, Kansas
The leading scorer on the best the team in the country, Dotson’s speed off the dribble is a problem.
Malachi Flynn, San Diego State
The Aztecs had a few late season slip-ups, but nobody will dispute how important the Washington State transfer’s play has been.
Markus Howard, Marquette
The nation’s leading scorer, Howard spent the season blitzing the Big East’s record books.
Cassius Winston, Michigan State
The Spartans struggled early but are rolling now, thanks in large part to Winston, who has overcome the tragic loss of his brother and elevated his play to a new level.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Anthony Grant, Dayton
Bossi’s take: Through the years, it's been quite a ride for Anthony Grant. He made his reputation in the early 2000s as Billy Donovan’s right-hand man at Florida. During his first head coaching gig at Virginia Commonwealth he appeared to be a star in the making after three years. He left for Alabama and never quite found his footing.
After some time with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Grant has been back with a vengeance while rebuilding Dayton. He has developed players, outcoached his counterparts and done a great job of identifying talent. Who could have possibly seen his Flyers being ranked No. 3 in the final AP Top 25, producing a National Player of the Year and completing an undefeated season in the A-10? I’d entertain arguments for other coaches to win the award, but you would have a hard time convincing me that anybody is more deserving than Grant.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Vernon Carey Jr., Duke
Bossi’s take: Georgia’s Anthony Edwards might have scored a few more points, but the Duke big man was quite impressive showing off his inside/outside game while putting up 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game over the course of the season. He and ACC player of the year Tre Jones make for a formidable two-headed monster as the Blue Devils prepare to play in the ACC Tournament. Ultimately, they want to be back in the Final Four for the first time since 2015, and they’ll need Carey to elevate his play even more to do so.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Marcus Garrett, Kansas
Bossi’s take: Kansas has the second-ranked defense in the country according to KenPom, and there is no doubt that the Jayhawks have versatile defenders all over the floor and a true rim protector in Udoka Azubuike.
But, there’s not a more versatile or effective defender than the 6-foot-6 junior from Dallas. He’s a defensive Swiss Army Knife and locks down everybody from point guard to power forward, and he does so with toughness and high-level basketball IQ. Bill Self has always been a demanding coach on the defensive end, and Garret is arguably the best on that end he’s ever had.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky
Bossi’s take: A former five-star prospect and McDonald’s All-American, Quickley arrived at Kentucky with big expectations. There were some flashes as a freshman, but overall Quickley didn’t look ready to be the man and had a relatively pedestrian year.
That all changed this year, as the sophomore guard put the Wildcats on his back for much of the SEC season and carried them to a conference championship. Along the way he averaged 16.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game – up from 5.2, 1.8 and 1.2 as a freshman – while earning Player of the Year honors in the SEC.