Bossi's Best: Breaking down the preseason All-America Team
Now that college programs across the country have started practicing, it’s time to look at the top players. In today’s edition of Bossi’s Best, National Basketball Analyst Eric Bossi discusses his preseason All-America Team (in alphabetical order) and how schools will replace them down the road.
1. COLE ANTHONY, NORTH CAROLINA
Recruitment: Although he took official visits to other programs such as Oregon and didn’t decide until after his senior season, the fact that Anthony was a heavy lean to North Carolina was a poorly kept secret.
What to expect: On a team without many established ball-handlers, Anthony is going to have a ton of responsibility to run the Heels and put up scoring numbers. He’s never been scared of a challenge and has been getting prepped for this moment his entire life, so it’s not a stretch to expect an instant impact.
How to replace him? Roy Williams and his staff targeted and landed five-star point guard Caleb Love to step into the hole Anthony should leave. They are also still in the mix for Cade Cunningham and host four-star R.J. Davis this weekend.
2. UDOKA AZUBUIKE, KANSAS
What to expect: There just aren’t many dudes like Azubuike in college basketball, and Kansas has been a much different team when he’s been on the floor. However, staying healthy has proven to be an issue. If he’s 100 percent for the season, few will be able to contest him around the rim and he’ll be fed the ball.
How to replace him?: The most likely candidate to replace the senior big man is already on the Jayhawks roster. David McCormick is a former McDonald’s All-American and will be a junior. From the high school ranks, the Jayhawks are doing very well with four-star Gethro Muscadin. Five-star Isaiah Todd, who has KU in his top two, is more of a four man as is four-star Juco Marial Mading.
3. KERRY BLACKSHEAR, FLORIDA
What to expect: Blackshear put up big numbers as a redshirt junior for Virginia Tech and is primed to be the focal point of a Florida team with big expectations. He can score inside and out and is a potential double-double type player this season.
How to replace him?: The Gators have already landed junior college four-man Osayi Osifo and are heavily in the mix for another JUCO star in Marial Mading and four-star high schooler P.J. Hall, among others.
4. ANTHONY EDWARDS, GEORGIA
Recruitment: For much of his recruitment it looked as if Edwards may end up at Florida State, but Tom Crean and the Bulldogs came on strong to keep him home when he committed toward the end of his senior year.
What to expect: Don’t be surprised if the explosive freshman leads the SEC in scoring. He gets to the rim in a blur, scores from distance and is built to make an immediate impact.
How to replace him? The Bulldogs have entered the sweepstakes for JUCO four-star wing Tyon Grant-Foster and have Jaykwon Walton on campus, and he should be capable of taking a big step forward as a sophomore.
5. MARKUS HOWARD, MARQUETTE
Recruitment: Howard committed to Arizona State early in high school career but backed off when there was a coaching change. He picked Marquette over the Sun Devils and Central Arkansas in large part because of assistant Stan Johnson – who had recruited him to ASU originally – being on staff. Enrolled after his junior season.
What to expect: It won’t be a surprise if Howard leads the nation in scoring. He’s put up monster numbers his first three seasons and will have the brightest green light in the country. Consider him a legit contender for National Player of the Year.
How to replace him? New Yorker Symir Torrence enrolled a year early and is on campus, but the guy Marquette really has its sights set on is four-star combo guard R.J. Davis, who is down to Marquette, Georgetown, North Carolina and Pittsburgh.
6. JORDAN NWORA, LOUISVILLE
Recruitment: Nwora was originally expected to wait until the spring of his senior year to make a decision, and Georgia Tech and Cal were among those in good position. But, Rick Pitino came in and got Nwora to trip to Louisville and his recruitment ended shortly after.
What to expect: A prolific jump shooter with size and game, Nwora should benefit greatly from the talent infusion at Louisville. Look for him to be a candidate for ACC Player of the Year.
How to replace him? Louisville will hope to get a second year out of current freshman Samuell Williamson, and it has Jae’lyn Withers as well. From the high school ranks, five-star Josh Hall tops the Cardinals' wish list on the wing.
7. MYLES POWELL, SETON HALL
Recruitment: DePaul, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and VCU were all involved, but Seton Hall landed Powell – who wasn’t always in the best shape in high school – in the fall of his senior year, due to their unwavering pursuit throughout his high school years.
What to expect: It’s going to be a lot of fun watching Powell and Markus Howard trade monster scoring nights in the Big East. Powell is tough, has a short memory and will be a big leader for the Pirates.
How to replace him? Texan Jahari Long isn’t the scorer that Powell is, but he’ll be able to create for himself and others, while three-star Dimingus Stevens can score. They’d still love to add a five-star such as Earl Timberlake or Karim Mane.
8. ISAIAH STEWART, WASHINGTON
Recruitment: Stewart kept much of the country guessing throughout his recruitment, as Duke, Kentucky and Syracuse were among those thought to be leading at one point or another. Ultimately he chose to head out West about halfway through his senior season.
What to expect: Look for Stewart to be the most dominant big man in the Pac-12 and to compete for conference player of the year honors as a freshman. He and fellow five-star Jaden McDaniels will have a lot of eyeballs on them.
How to replace him? There doesn’t look to be a suitable replacement for Stewart in the Huskies' recruiting wheelhouse, so perhaps they could look for a grad transfer. Ideally, one of their two redshirt freshman bigs, Nate Roberts or Bryan Penn-Johnson, will take big steps forward.
9. CASSIUS WINSTON, MICHIGAN STATE
What to expect: Almost everybody in the country has Winston pegged as the preseason player of the year favorite - and for good reason. He led the Spartans to the Final Four last season, has a chance to do it again and should be the Big Ten Player of the Year. Statistically, it will be hard to top the 18.8 points and 7.5 assists he put up as a junior, but he does a lot that won’t be measured in the box score.
10. JAMES WISEMAN, MEMPHIS
Recruitment: For a while, it looked to be a serious battle between Memphis and Kentucky for Wiseman’s services. But, as time went on it became apparent that he would play for his former high school and summer coach, Penny Hardaway, at Memphis.
What to expect: There is a tremendous amount of hype around the Tigers' program and as the No. 1 recruit in the country, Wiseman has a lot of pressure to perform. Expect a big man who can run the floor and knock down some face-up jumpers. If he can be a low-post presence then Memphis is going to be a tough out.
How to replace him? Trying to replace Wiseman is proving to be tricky and there are no surefire bigs leaning the Tigers' way just yet. Fellow freshman Malcolm Dandridge is taking a redshirt, and prospects such as Dawson Garcia and others are in play.