Freshmen, as usual, are all the rage in college basketball. Last season had its share of NBA-ready studs among the rookie ranks, and 2014-15 will be no different.
Veterans, though, can be the difference between a winning team and a losing team. As such, the first piece in our “all-class” series begins with the seniors.
This year’s group has seen its share of ups and downs. Our guards include a Division I transfer, a junior college transfer and a player who missed most of last season due to academic issues. Our forwards include Branden Dawson, one of a handful of injury casualties through the season for Michigan State, and one of the most surprising players of last season.
G Juwan Staten, West Virginia
Staten was a major recruiting victory for Dayton in 2010 before transferring to West Virginia, where he led the Big 12 in scoring at 18.1 points per game. He did so while attempting only 15 3-point shots all year.
Photo courtesy of WVU Athletic Communications
G Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Grant was on his way to a career year (19 ppg) before an academic issue ended his season at the end of January. The season for the Irish went into a tailspin without him. In his final two games, he scored 23 points against Indiana and 19 against Ohio State while shooting 12 of 25 from the field.
G Delon Wright, Utah
Meet perhaps the best returning player you don’t know. The junior college transfer is a triple-double threat who averaged 15.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists for a resurgent Utes program. He also shot an astounding 63.3 percent from 2-point range.
G/F Branden Dawson, Michigan State
A victim of the injury bug that hit Sparty all season, Dawson will be counted upon as the veteran, go-to player for the Michigan State with Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Adreian Payne gone. Dawson averaged 11.2 points and 8.3 rebounds in 28 games.
C Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Remember when Kaminsky’s 43-point outburst against North Dakota in November was thought to be a fluke? He never scored 30 again, but he scored 28 points against Arizona to clinch the Badgers’ trip to the Final Four. The seven-footer was 37-of-98 from 3-point range last season.
All-Senior Second Team
G Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga G Chasson Randle, Stanford
G Treveon Graham, VCU
F LaDonate Henton, Providence
F JayVaughn Pinkston, Villanova
All-Senior Third Team
G Ryan Boatright, UConn
G Joseph Young, Oregon
G Keifer Sykes, Green Bay
F Tyler Haws, BYU
C Alan Williams, UCSB
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