Rivals.com College Basketball Editor
We continue our "all-classes" teams today with our Preseason All-Junior team.
At first glance, the roster might seem a bit shy on star power and, truth be told, that's probably right. But there's a solid group of guards - pity the opposing backcourts that had to deal with sharpshooters John Jenkins and Kevin Foster - and if Kansas big man Thomas Robinson makes his expected leap to stardom this season, the frontcourt suddenly becomes a lot better.
We pick 12 players for our teams, and we look for a nice mix of frontcourt and backcourt players. We also pick a starting five that actually could be on the floor together.
Saturday, we unveiled our All-Sophomore team, and we'll finish off Monday with our All-Senior squad.
PARTICULARS: 6-9/237; Brewster (N.H.) Brewster Academy
STATS: 7.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 60.1 FG%, 14.6 mpg
BUZZ: With the departure of the Morris twins, Robinson should go from key reserve to the Jayhawks' star. He was incredibly productive in limited minutes last season, but his minutes won't be limited anymore. He is an athletic big man who plays aggressively in the paint.
PARTICULARS: 6-6/210; Birmingham (Ala.) Central Park Christian
STATS: 15.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.6 spg, 1.1 bpg, 52.2 FG%, 31.5 mpg
BUZZ: He was overshadowed in the Tide's frontcourt by JaMychal Green, but Mitchell is becoming a star in his own right. He is supremely athletic and a big-time defender. He can hit the outside shot, but does most of his damage from 15 feet in. He made big strides between his freshman and sophomore seasons, and if he makes those kinds of strides again, he will be Alabama's best player.
PARTICULARS: 6-10/210; Tampa Sickles
STATS: 11.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.2 bpg, 50.0 FG%, 26.7 mpg
BUZZ: Henson remains almost painfully thin, but he is one of the best shot-blockers in the nation and also is a good rebounder. His offense has a ways to go - he is atrocious from the line (48.2 percent) - and he should focus on improving his shot from 10 feet in. Still, he can be an intimidating defensive presence and is a good fit on UNC's imposing front line.
PARTICULARS: 6-4/220; Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp
STATS: 19.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 46.2 FG%, 40.8 3-pt FG%, 89.4 FT%, 34.5 mpg
BUZZ: He might just be the best pure shooter in the nation. He has a picture-perfect stroke and great range; he also is deadly from the line. Jenkins hit at least four 3-pointers in 14 games last season, including a 6-of-10 performances against Kentucky and USC; he had his season-high of 32 points in that win over UK. He led the SEC in scoring last season.
PARTICULARS: 6-2/185; Philadelphia Roman Catholic
STATS: 13.8 ppg, 4.5 apg, 2.8 rpg, 1.2 spg, 82.0 FT%, 30.1 mpg
BUZZ: Wayns will take on a larger scoring role next season, and though he was an effective player last season, he must improve his shooting. He hit just 39.9 percent from the field and only 27.1 percent from 3-point range. He is quick and strong enough to get into the lane, so improving his outside shot would make him a potential All-American.
PARTICULARS: Winston-Salem (N.C.) Winston-Salem Prep
STATS: 11.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 59.1 FG%, 25.9 mpg
BUZZ: Johnson remains a bit raw, but he has the potential to be a force down low. He needs to lose some weight and improve his conditioning, but he knows how to use his big body to carve out space on both ends of the court. He should be a nice fit in new coach Jim Larranaga's offense.
PARTICULARS: 6-9/230; Birmingham (Ala.) Shades Valley
STATS: 16.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 38.1 3-pt FG%, 84.3 FT%, 29.1 mpg
BUZZ: Watford led the Hoosiers in scoring, though his production dipped after he returned from a broken hand in mid-February. He's a good offensive player with legitimate 3-point range and a nice mid-range game. His consistency is lacking at times, though.
PARTICULARS: Charleston (S.C.) Porter-Gaud School
STATS: 14.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.2 spg, 29.6 mpg
BUZZ: Middleton is the most gifted offensive player for the Aggies, who were incredibly defense-minded under former coach Mark Turgeon. Expect new coach Billy Kennedy to increase the tempo a bit and expect Middleton to average two or three more points per game next season. Still, A&M will remain a defense-first team, and Middleton's size makes him an effective perimeter defender.
PARTICULARS: 6-2/180; Lenoir (N.C.) The Patterson School
STATS: 13.7 ppg, 5.9 apg, 4.2 rpg, 1.7 spg, 36.3 mpg
BUZZ: He was a key component in the Friars' up-tempo attack last season. But new coach Ed Cooley likely will slow the pace a bit, and that means Council must become a better shooter (he hit just 35.6 percent from the field last season). He has the ability to be a pesky on-ball defender.
PARTICULARS: 6-4/190; Australian Institute of Sport
STATS: 13.4 ppg, 5.3 apg, 3.6 rpg, 1.2 spg, 88.1 FT%, 35.3 mpg
BUZZ: Dellavedova has been a starter for the Gaels since he set foot on campus. After just two seasons, he already holds school career records for 3-pointers (142) and assists (333). His size makes him a matchup problem on both ends of the court, and it also enables him to get into the lane and wreak havoc on opposing defenses.
PARTICULARS: 6-2/219; Katy (Texas) Morton Ranch
STATS: 20.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.6 spg, 80.0 FT%, 32.1 mpg
BUZZ: He led the West Coast Conference in scoring, was a first-team all-league performer and led the Broncos to the CIT title over Iona. Foster missed most of the 2009-10 season with a foot injury, then returned last season to hit 140 3-pointers, which is ninth on the NCAA's all-time single-season list. As a freshman in 2008-09, he broke Kurt Rambis' school record for points in a season by a freshman and broke Steve Nash's school record for 3-pointers in a season.
PARTICULARS: Jacksonville Arlington Country Day
STATS: 11.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 40.8 3-pt FG%, 30.6 mpg
BUZZ: McGruder was the Wildcats' second offensive option last season, but he should become the go-to guy with the graduation of G Jacob Pullen. McGruder has a nice all-around game and is a solid rebounder for a guard.
Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.