The Story: The Associated Press announced their preseason All-America team this afternoon. Tyler Hansbrough became the first unanimous player (72 ballots) selected since Duke’s Jason Williams in 2001-02. Hansbrough, the reigning national player of the year, missed being a unanimous selection last year by one vote. He is the first player to return to school after winning national player of the year since Shaquille O’Neal returned to LSU in 1991. Joining UNC’s Hansbrough are UCLA guard Darren Collison, Davidson guard Stephen Curry, Notre Dame forward Luke Harangody, and Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin. Collison, like Hansbrough, is a repeat preseason choice from last year. The last repeat PG selection was Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves in 1999-00. Curry, who averaged 25.9 points per game last season, was second in the voting with 66. Harangody, last year’s Big East player of the year, was third with 58 votes. Griffin, who returned to Oklahoma after a superb freshman year, received 45 votes.
AP Preseason All-America Team
Tyler Hansbrough, 6-9, senior, North Carolina
Stephen Curry, 6-2, junior, Davidson
Luke Harangody, 6-8, junior, Notre Dame
Darren Collison, 6-1, senior, UCLA
Blake Griffin, 6-10, sophomore, Oklahoma
Ryter’s Block: Tyler Hansbrough deserves to be a unanimous selection on the preseason team. Hansbrough after all is the reigning player of the year and a first team All-American last season. If Hansbrough can stay healthy, there is not a better college basketball player in the nation. I don’t believe anyone in the country will disagree with that. Stephen Curry put himself on everyone’s radar last year with Davidson’s unbelievable run in March. He averaged 32 points per game in the tournament and shot lights out from beyond the arc. With the loss of Jason Richards, Curry will have to handle the ball more which could hurt his numbers. Harangody makes a strong case being the reigning player of the year in the deepest conference in the nation, the Big East. If he can repeat as conference player of the year he will be an All-American at the end of the season. Collison gained third team All-American honors last year, but will the departure of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love hurt his chances or help them? Griffin may have the most NBA potential out of this group and may jump to the league after this season. I expect him to put up monster numbers this year.
Some players that I believe may end up on this list at the end of the season are: Arizona State’s James Harden, Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet, Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn, Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson, Pittsburgh’s Sam Young, and Texas’ Damion James.
Matthew Ryter keeps you up to date on the world of college basketball with his "Ryter's Block" column. What do you think about this story? What players do you think deserve to be on the list? Post your comments below: