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Freshmen should not be eligible for preseason All-America honors
Freshmen are eligible to play college basketball, so they should be eligible for All-America status. But maybe it's time to pick two preseason All-America squads: A veteran squad and a freshman one.
I didn't include any freshmen on the electronic ballot I sent to the Associated Press, which stipulates "the only qualification is that each must be a team that can take the floor." I didn't exclude freshmen on principal. I just didn't think I had enough information to guess which freshman in the talented recruiting Class of 2013 would be the best college basketball player in his first and only season.
My ballot: Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Russ Smith (Louisville), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Doug McDermott (Creighton), Mitch McGary (Michigan).
That's quite different from how the top of the NBA draft is likely to look, but since college basketball is only considered the minor leagues in the eyes of the NBA, a player's draft projection has nothing to do with All-America honors.
If there were such a thing as a freshman All-America team, here is what my ballot would have looked like: Andrew Harrison (Kentucky), Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), Aaron Gordon (Arizona), Jabari Parker (Duke), Julius Randle (Kentucky). Gordon is the only of the five who won't play in the United Center on Nov. 12 in the blockbuster doubleheader.
To the eye, the 6-foot-8, 200-pound Wiggins looks as if he has the best chance for physical growth. At 200 pounds, he is 50 pounds lighter than 6-9 Randle, 35 pounds lighter than 6-8 Parker, 25 pounds lighter than 6-9 Gordon and 15 pounds lighter than Harrison, a 6-6 point guard.
For all we know, all five could become first-team All-Americans, but until they play, wouldn't it make sense to preclude them from preseason mention, pick a freshman team, and give players who have returned to college some preseason mention and throw it open to everybody in March?