CLOSE

USA TODAY Sports' Nicole Auerbach breaks down the the keys of the 2017 college basketball season. usa

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

USA TODAY Sports national college basketball writers Nicole Auerbach and Scott Gleeson select the 2016-17 preseason All-America team:

First team

► G Grayson Allen, Duke

The 6-5 Allen is the linchpin of the preseason No. 1 team in the nation, the player most likely to dive on the ground for a loose ball and also the guy most likely to take the big shot with the game on the line. Allen’s stats may not be as gaudy as last year since he should have more scoring around him — as long as the freshmen stay healthy, which isn’t a given — but he’ll be the most important player on a national championship-caliber team.

►  G Josh Hart, Villanova

Hart turned down a shot at the NBA to help defend Villanova’s second-ever national title. He’s been one of the Wildcats’ most consistent scorers over the past three years, yet he spent the offseason improving the mechanics and release of his shot — and with that, the Villanova offense’s explosiveness. Hart should be the best player in the Big East and among the best in the nation.

► F Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin

Hayes spent the offseason making headlines for his work — and words decrying racism and NCAA hypocrisy among other things — off the court. But don’t forget how talented and versatile this senior is. Hayes led Wisconsin in scoring a year ago, and will be surrounded by a similar cast this season, too, looking to add to his already impressive career with the Badgers.

► F Dillon Brooks, Oregon

Brooks may not be healthy enough to start the season with the Ducks, but he’s been so integral to Oregon’s success each of the past two years he deserves this preseason accolade — as well as well wishes for a full recovery from foot surgery. If Brooks plays like he has in the past as a scorer, rebounder and distributor, he can be the player who powers coach Dana Altman to his first-ever Final Four.

► F Ivan Rabb, California

Raab flew somewhat under the radar a year ago — partially due to East Coast bias and partially due to injuries and off-court distractions toward the end of Cal’s season — but he won’t this year. He’ll be asked to do a lot since the Bears lost a lot, but this is a player who averaged nearly a double-double as a freshman. The 6-11 forward should produce those kinds of numbers again — if not better — while also turning into one of the Pac 12’s best shot-blockers.

Second team

G Markelle Fultz, Washington

G Melo Trimble, Maryland

F Bam Adebayo, Kentucky

F Josh Jackson, Kansas

F Jayson Tatum, Duke

Third team

G Lonzo Ball, UCLA

G Trevon Bluiett, Xavier

G Monte Morris, Iowa State

F Harry Giles, Duke

C Thomas Bryant, Indiana

Keep an eye on 

  • G London Perrantes, Virginia
  • G De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky
  • G Joel Berry II, North Carolina
  • G Devonte Graham, Kansas
  • G Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga
  • G Malik Monk, Kentucky
  • G Justin Robinson, Monmouth
  • F Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
  • F Miles Bridges, Michigan State
  • F Moses Kingsley, Arkansas
  • C Alec Peters, Valparaiso
  • C Marques Bolden, Duke

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE