The AP has released its preseason All-American team, with three seniors, a junior and a freshman making the squad.
Gonzaga senior Kyle Wiltjer was the leading vote-getter among all players, tallying 51 of a possible 65 votes. He’s joined on the team by fellow seniors Georges Niang of Iowa State and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma.
The two underclassmen to make the team were junior Kris Dunn from Providence and freshman Ben Simmons from LSU. Simmons’ inclusion marks the third consecutive season that a freshman has been named to the team after there never having been one named prior to the 2010-11 season. The most recent freshman to make the preseason team, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, was the first one to fully live up to the hype and be named to the postseason team, as well.
The biggest takeaway from this team is that there were no players named to the team from traditional blue bloods. That the five players come from Gonzaga, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Providence and LSU seems rather remarkable, and points to the fact that talent this year is spread out around college basketball. The top-ranked team to feature a representative according to the AP Poll is Iowa State with Niang, who comes in at No. 7. It seems likely that parity could reign supreme in the sport this season.
Wiltjer, Hield, Dunn and Simmons were all also named to the CBS Sports preseason All-American team. Our vote replaced Niang with Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere.