var _gaq = _gaq || ; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-39933530-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);
By Jesse Kramer
The college basketball season is nearing its end. The NIT, CBI and CIT championships all take place this week, leading into the 2013 Final Four on Saturday and Monday. In light the last five months of college basketball here are my 2012-13 All-America picks. I put together a first team, second team and third team, along with a few honorable mentions.
Trey Burke, Michigan (18.8 ppg, 6.7 apg)—Burke has been phenomenal all season. Ranking No. 44 in offensive rating and No. 22 in assist rate, he is easily among the best, all-around offensive players. The sophomore has already led Michigan to its first Final Four since 1993, and he has the ability to carry the Wolverines to a national title. His performance in the second half and overtime against Kansas in the Sweet 16 was as good as any individual, NCAA tournament performance in recent memory.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana (13.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.1 spg, 66.9 TS%)—Oladipo is one of the most efficient offensive players in college basketball, and he is also the nation’s best guard defender. He ranks No. 8 in true shooting percentage at 66.9% and No. 16 in steal percentage at 4.7%. He is not my pick for National Player of the Year, but he is Indiana’s most valuable player.
Otto Porter Jr., Georgetown (16.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg)—Although Porter’s season ultimately ended in disappointment with Georgetown’s second round loss to Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA tournament, he was still the main reason why the Hoyas climbed to a No. 2 seed, and that is why he’s a National Player of the Year candidate. He is amazingly versatile on offense with his ability to drive, shoot jumpers, and pass, and he is also a good defender and rebounder. If he returns to school next season, we could see him post a triple-double.
Doug McDermott, Creighton (23.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 49.0 3P%)—McDermott was the best scorer in college basketball this season. He finished second in points per game behind Erick Green (more on him soon) while shooting 54.8% from the field, 49% on three-pointers and 87.5% from the foul line. Although Green led the nation in scoring, I say McDermott is the best scorer because of his efficiency and ability to score in many different ways. A perfect example was how in two NCAA tournament games, although McDermott struggled from the field, he shot 23-of-23 from the foul line.
Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga (17.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 62.9 FG%)—The Zags were the first No. 1 seed to go down, but without Olynyk they never would have earned the top seed in the West Region to begin with. Olynyk, a redshirt junior, consistently dominated his competition. Only twice did he score fewer than 12 points, and in the NCAA tournament he averaged 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. Olynyk could be a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, but if he returns for his final season at Gonzaga he could be a National Player of the Year candidate.
Nate Wolters, South Dakota State (22.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.8 apg)—Wolters has been as good as anyone in college basketball during the past three seasons. He averaged 19.5 points and 6.1 assists as a sophomore and 21.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists as a junior. He continued his domination during his senior season as he led South Dakota State to a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Russ Smith, Louisville (18.9 ppg, 2.1 spg)—Smith was on my third team before the NCAA tournament, but his postseason performance has pushed him up a notch. In four NCAA tournament games, he has averaged 26 points on 54.1% shooting.
Ben McLemore, Kansas (15.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg)—McLemore, a redshirt freshman, helped Kansas to its third straight Sweet 16. A potential top pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, he led the Jayhawks in scoring while also shooting 49.5% from the field and 42% on three-pointers.
Cody Zeller, Indiana (16.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg)—Based on preseason expectation, Zeller had a disappointing season. But he was still phenomenal. The sophomore led the Hoosiers in scoring, rebounding and blocks.
Mason Plumlee, Duke (17.1 ppg, 10.0 rpg)—Plumlee was one of the most improved players in college basketball this year. In addition to averaging a double-double, he shot just a hair under 60% from the field and also improved his free-throw shooting to 68.1%. In 36 games, he posted 18 double-doubles.
Shane Larkin, Miami (FL) (14.5 ppg, 4.6 apg)—Larkin exploded onto the college basketball scene this year as he led Miami from unranked in January to a No. 2 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The sophomore ranked No. 128 nationally in offensive rating and was also a pesky defender with two steals per game.
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State (15.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 3.0 spg)—The addition of Smart took Oklahoma State from Big 12 stinker to a No. 5 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. He led the Big 12 in steals and also ranked in the top five in scoring and assists.
Erick Green, Virginia Tech (25.0 ppg, 3.8 apg)—Green led Division I in scoring while shooting 47.5% on field goals, 38.9% from beyond the arc, and 81.6% from the charity stripe. While doing all this, he also led Virginia Tech in assists.
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State (19.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg)—Thomas was a driving force in Ohio State’s run to the 2013 Elite Eight. The junior stepped up his game in March, averaging 22.3 points per game on 51.7% shooting from the field. Thomas scored at least 11 points in every game this season and had an offensive rating of 115.5.
Jeff Withey, Kansas (13.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.9 bpg)—Withey was once again a dominant shot blocker, but he also improved his offensive game during his senior season with 13.7 points per game on 58.2% shooting on field goals. In three NCAA tournament games, Withey averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5.7 blocks.
Anthony Bennett, UNLV (16.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg)—Bennett had an outstanding freshman season with the Rebels. The 6-foot-8 forward has the potential to be a star in the NBA as evidenced by his ability to score in a variety of ways, defend and rebound.
Pierre Jackson, Baylor (19.7 ppg, 6.7 apg)—Jackson had a phenomenal senior season but stayed out of the spotlight because of Baylor’s struggles. The Bears, who are still alive in the NIT, made the quarterfinals after Jackson’s 26-point, 16-assist effort led them to a second round win against Arizona State, and this week they are playing in the NIT semifinals.
Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s (15.8 ppg, 6.4 apg)—St. Mary’s would have missed the NCAA tournament—by a lot—if it did not have Dellavedova leading the way. His ability to run an offense makes him as valuable of an asset as anyone in college basketball.
Mike Muscala, Bucknell (18.7 ppg, 11.1 apg, 2.4 bpg)—Muscala was one of the best rebounders and shot blockers in the nation this season, and he was also a very versatile offensive player.
Also check out my 2013 Mid-Major All-Americans.