May 21, 2011

Rivals.com All-Sophomore Team

There's no question college basketball fans will miss some of the one-and-done players from this past season, but there still is going to be a ton of sophomore talent nationally.

Rivals.com begins its "all-classes" teams today with our Preseason All-Sophomore team, and a quick perusal of the roster would lead to any coach saying, "Yep, I could take that team to the Final Four."

Consider the starting frontcourt: Harrison Barnes, Terrence Jones and Jared Sullinger. Not bad, eh? Throw in UConn guard Jeremy Lamb, and you have a quartet that, frankly, is better than any foursome in the nation.

We have picked 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.

Sunday, we'll unveil our All-Junior team and we'll finish off Monday with our All-Senior squad.

STARTERS
C Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
PARTICULARS: 6-9/280; Columbus (Ohio) Northland
STATS: 17.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.0 spg, 54.1 FG%, 31.7 mpg
BUZZ: He was the most impressive freshman last season and was the centerpiece of a team that spent a good deal of the season ranked No. 1. He is a big-time low-post presence on both ends of the floor, and he delighted Buckeyes coaches and fans - and teammates - when he decided to remain in school. His return makes Ohio State the prohibitive favorite to win the Big Ten.
PF Terrence Jones, Kentucky
PARTICULARS: 6-8/244; Portland Jefferson
STATS: 15.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 1.1 spg, 31.4 mpg
BUZZ: He had a good freshman season, then surprised more than a few folks by sticking around for his sophomore season. He's a tough, aggressive player in the low post, but needs to curb his tendency to take shots outside his range; he shot just 44.2 percent from the field last season.
SF Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
PARTICULARS: 6-8/210; Ames (Iowa) High
STATS: 15.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 29.4 mpg
BUZZ: He struggled early in the season living up to the hype - hey, it's not every day that a true freshman is a first-team preseason All-America - but he hit his stride at midseason and played well down the stretch. He then thrilled UNC coaches and fans by staying in school for at least one more season.
SG Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut
PARTICULARS: 6-5/185; Norcross (Ga.) High
STATS: 11.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 48.7 FG%, 79.7 FT%, 27.8 mpg
BUZZ: He was the Huskies' second-leading scorer and became a force in the final month of the season. With Kemba Walker gone to the NBA, look for Lamb to be UConn's go-to guy this season.
PG Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
PARTICULARS: 6-3/186; Dumfries (Va.) Bishop O'Connell
STATS: 6.2 ppg, 6.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 24.6 mpg
BUZZ: UNC really didn't take off until Marshall was installed as the starting point guard. He's an adequate offensive player, but he's a tremendous distributor and has the potential to be a lockdown defender.
THE BENCH
PARTICULARS: 6-10/305; Kent (Wash.) Kentwood
STATS: 10.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 55.5 FG%, 21.7 mpg
BUZZ: Smith remains too heavy, but he showed signs last season of becoming a force in the paint. He has a nice touch around the basket and has an array of low-post moves. Some early-entry departures mean Smith will have a much bigger role - no pun intended - for the Bruins next season.
PARTICULARS: 6-11/235; Duncanville (Texas) High
STATS: 13.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 54.9 FG%, 33.9 mpg
BUZZ: The guy has loads of talent, but didn't always show it for a sometimes-dysfunctional Bears team last season. To his credit, he decided to remain in school and become a better all-around player. He should be the focal point of the offense next season, and that's bad news for Baylor opponents.
F Doug McDermott, Creighton
PARTICULARS: 6-7/210; Ames (Iowa) High
STATS: 14.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 52.5 FG%, 40.5 3-pt FG%, 29.1 mpg
BUZZ: A lot of folks focused on McDermott being the son of the Creighton coach; then they watched him play and realized that the kid has talent. Befitting a coach's son, he has a high basketball IQ and a nice all-around game. He's a tough rebounder and should be the focal point of the Bluejays' offense next season. He was teammates with UNC's Barnes in high school.
PARTICULARS: 6-8/210; Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep, preceded by Baltimore Lake Clifton
STATS: 14.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1.0 spg, 52.2 FG%, 26.2 mpg
BUZZ: He was the Big East's leading freshman scorer on a team without much talent. Expect his numbers to be even better next season, when the Blue Demons will have better talent around him.
PARTICULARS: 6-6/180; Brewster (N.H.) Brewster Academy
STATS: 12.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.5 spg, 30.6 mpg
BUZZ: He was the leading scorer on a young Tigers team last season, and he and his teammates have a high ceiling next season. He needs to work on his shot selection, but Barton has the potential to be the Conference USA player of the year.
PARTICULARS: 6-6/205; Los Angeles Price
STATS: 13.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 40.0 3-pt FG%, 33.8 mpg
BUZZ: He arrived with the reputation as a good shooter and lived up to it. He has a nice stroke and big-time range, and was a bit better defender than expected. He and senior Jorge Gutierrez will form one of the nation's best guard duos next season.
G Ray McCallum, Detroit
PARTICULARS: 6-1/185; Detroit Country Day
STATS: 13.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.6 spg, 33.3 mpg
BUZZ: He was a big-time recruit who chose to play for his dad at a mid-major school, and he was one of the best guards in the backcourt-heavy Horizon League last season. As with McDermott, this is another coach's son with a high basketball IQ, and he does a lot of the "little things" quite well. His 3-point shooting was lackluster last season (31.2 percent) and improving his shot should be an offseason priority.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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