A Brief Outlook for the 2017-18 Preseason All-Americans
Now that everyone has played their first game of the season, let’s take a moment to discuss my Preseason All-Americans.
Grayson Allen-G, Duke
Grayson Allen, college basketball’s most hated villain, posted 22 points and 4 rebounds in #1 Duke’s first win of the season over Elon. He also added 18 points and 3 rebounds in Duke’s second win of the season over Utah Valley on Saturday night. Coach K will look to Allen to provide leadership on a team favored to win the ACC and possibly win it all as the Blue Devils will start four freshman. Grayson Allen will benefit greatly from the presence of having a true point guard in Trevon Duval. Last year, Allen was often responsible for getting the Blue Devils into their offense and getting the ball to Luke Kennard and Jayson Tatum. Allen saw his scoring numbers drop from 21.6 PPG to 14.5 PPG from his sophomore to junior year. This year, the weight of the point guard duties are off his shoulder. Allen will be more comfortable, so look for him to post big numbers all year.
Allonzo Trier-G, Arizona
After being suspended for the first 19 games of the 2016-17 season for testing positive for PEDs that were unknowingly administered to him while he was recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident in the summer of 2016, Trier averaged 17.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game during his sophomore campaign. Due to the suspension, Trier decided to return for his junior season. Trier scored 32 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists in Arizona’s season opening win over Northern Arizona. A versatile guard that can score and rebound, Trier is a matchup nightmare for most defenses he faces, and one of the best players in college basketball this season.
Miles Bridges-F, Michigan State
Most people around college basketball were shocked that Miles Bridges returned to Michigan State for his sophomore season. Bridges averaged 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds as a freshman. Bridges will be back with a vengeance and will not be denied this season. He showed that as he posted a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds as Sparty topped North Florida in their season opener. Miles Bridges is my pick to win the Naismith Award this season.
Bonzie Colson-F, Notre Dame
Bonzie Colson is a classic Mike Brey, Notre Dame player. A blue-collar, chip-on-your-shoulder, middle-of-the-road recruit that steadily improved year-to-year into one of the nation’s top players. A versatile big man that can do anything asked of him on the court, Colson is a tough out and is one of my favorite players to watch. After averaging 17.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game last year, Colson is back for his senior season and will play a key role if the Irish make it to Coach Brey’s first Final Four. Colson posted a double-double in his first official action this season at DePaul on Saturday. Colson finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Michael Porter Jr.-F, Missouri
Michael Porter Jr. has been anointed as the man who will put Missouri Basketball back on the map. Porter Jr. is one of the most prized recruits in his class and will be in contention for being the top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Missouri fans hope that if he is the #1 pick that he will avoid doing what Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz did; be the #1 pick without making the NCAA Tournament. Porter Jr. suffered a slight setback Friday night as he tweaked a hip injury in the first ten minutes of action in Missouri’s win over Iowa State. Porter Jr. added 2 points and 2 rebounds in limited minutes. Although Missouri said that his absence from the remainder of the game was purely precautionary, the hip injury will be something to look out for as the season goes on. The sky is the limit for Michael Porter Jr. this season.