Earlier this week, we started our All-Class team series with the All-Senior Team.
Today, we continue with the top 15 juniors in college basketball for 2014-15. Our first-teamers on the all-junior team all surprised to some degree. Our point guard was the sixth man for a Final Four team. Our big man was a bit of a question mark as a true center entering last year. But perhaps no All-Junior Team member last season was a bigger surprise than Nebraska's Terran Petteway, who led the Huskers to their first NCAA appearance since 1998 to land on our second-team squad.
G Fred VanVleet, Wichita State
VanVleet went from a bench player on a Final Four team to the steady starting point guard on a team that won its first 35 games. In the Missouri Valley and NCAA tournaments, VanVleet topped 10 points only once (scoring 22 in the MVC final). Meanwhile, he had 36 assists and eight turnovers in the same six-game span.
G Marcus Paige, North Carolina
The point guard Paige was streaky to start last season as he found his role adjusting to the season-long absence of P.J. Hairston. Paige eventually became one of the top guards in the country, averaging 17.5 points per game and shooting 44 percent from the floor. Now, he’ll have a settled backcourt around him.
F Georges Niang, Iowa State
Iowa State never realized its potential in the NCAA Tournament after Niang suffered a broken foot in the round of 64. The Cyclones lost in the Sweet 16 without their versatile forward (albeit to eventual champion Connecticut). Niang is a matchup nightmare as a 6-7, 245-pound forward who made 48 3-pointers and finished with 123 assists.
F Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Considered the top NBA prospect for a Final Four team — at least until Frank Kaminsky rolled through the NCAA Tournament — Dekker averaged 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds. Dekker won’t be the only pro prospect for the Badgers this season, but he still has plenty of room to improve after shooting 32.6 percent from 3. Meanwhile, he shot 55 percent from inside the arc.
F Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
No team received better news at the NBA Draft early entry deadline than Louisville when Harrell elected to return to school. The junior big man keeps the Cardinals in the Final Four hunt after he averaged 15.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in American Athletic Conference play.
All-Junior Second Team
G Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
G Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
G Caris LeVert, Michigan G/F Terran Pettaway, Nebraska
F Perry Ellis, Kansas
All-Junior Third Team
G Olivier Hanlan, Boston College
G Ron Baker, Wichita State
F Josh Scott, Colorado F Brandon Ashley, Arizona
C Cameron Ridley, Texas
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