April 19, 2010

Best of the decade: The one-year players

The notion that a college basketball team can't succeed without senior leadership was put to rest this decade.

Rivals.com is wrapping up the 2000s era in college basketball by putting together four all-decade teams.

We're coming up with all-star teams consisting of players who stayed for one season (released today), for two seasons (Tuesday), for three years (Wednesday) and for the full four seasons (Thursday).

The one-and-done team arguably is the most talented of all.

This team features two players who earned national player of the year honors, including one consensus choice. It also features a player who carried his team to the national title and a guy who led his squad to the NCAA tournament championship game.

How good is this one-and-done squad?

Consider that Memphis point guard Derrick Rose led his team to the 2008 national title game and Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins was one of the nation's top big men this season, yet neither player could make our team.

C Greg Oden, Ohio State
YEAR: 2006-07
BUZZ: After missing Ohio State's first six games of the season with an injured right wrist, Oden came back and led the Buckeyes to the NCAA tournament title game - where they fell to Florida. He led Ohio State in scoring (15.7), rebounds (9.6) and blocks (105). Oden was the first Ohio State player to earn first-team All-America honors from The Associated Press since Jim Jackson in 1991-92. Oden recorded 14 double-doubles. He averaged 15.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in the NCAA tournament.
F Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse
YEAR: 2002-03
BUZZ: Anthony delivered arguably the greatest freshman season in college basketball history. He undoubtedly was the best player on a national championship team. Anthony ranked 16th in the nation in scoring (22.2) and 19th in rebounding (10.0). He had 22 double-doubles and led the Orange in scoring in 24 of their 35 games. Anthony topped the team in scoring, rebounding, minutes, baskets, shots and free throws made and attempted. Anthony had a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds in the championship-game victory over Kansas.
F Michael Beasley, Kansas State
YEAR: 2007-08
BUZZ: Perhaps no player ever has delivered a more statistically productive freshman season than Beasley. A unanimous first-team All-American, he led Division I players in rebounding (12.4) and ranked third in scoring (26.2) during his lone season at Kansas State. He recorded 28 double-doubles to break Anthony's freshman record. He had at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in 13 games, and he reached the 40-point mark three times. Beasley also averaged 23 points and 12 rebounds in his two NCAA tournament games.
F Kevin Durant, Texas
YEAR: 2006-07
BUZZ: Durant ranked fourth in the nation in scoring (25.8) and rebounding (11.1) on his way to winning the Adolph Rupp Trophy, Naismith Award and Wooden Award given annually to the nation's top player. He scored in double figures in every game he played and reached the 20-point mark in 30 of his 35 games. He scored at least 30 points 11 times and delivered 20 double-doubles. Durant also averaged 28.5 points in two NCAA tournament games. Durant was just the third freshman in NCAA history to earn consensus first-team All-America honors. The first two were Oklahoma's Wayman Tisdale (1983) and LSU's Chris Jackson (1989).
G John Wall, Kentucky
YEAR: 2009-10
BUZZ: Wall received the Adolph Rupp Trophy, given annually to the nation's top player, though he lost out to Ohio State's Evan Turner for the other major player-of-the-year honors. He led the SEC in assists (6.5), ranked fifth in the league in scoring (16.6) and finished third in steals (1.8) while leading Kentucky to a 35-3 record and the East Regional final. He recorded three double-doubles on points and assists and had two more double-doubles in points and rebounds.

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.


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