The 2016-17 Athlon Sports college basketball All-America team is full of surprises.
First, the easiest pick for the first team is a Duke player who elected to return to school rather than go to the NBA Draft. That’s right, top players staying to become veterans at Duke — like Grayson Allen did — is becoming a bit of a rarity in Durham.
Second, there are three Pac-12 players on the first team and none of them play for Arizona or UCLA (Don’t worry, the Bruins are represented elsewhere).
And third, five freshmen are among the three All-America teams and none of them play for Kentucky. Instead, the represent other typical schools on All-America teams these days (Kansas and Duke) and others that might not be quite so obvious (NC State and Washington).
There will be plenty of star power in college basketball in 2016-17, and, at least upon the first look, that talent will be distributed across the country.
All 2016-17 predictions and a preview of every team and conference can be found in the Athlon Sports 2016-17 Preview Magazine, available in our online store and on newsstands everywhere.
G Markelle Fultz, Washington
Fultz will demand attention despite playing in Seattle. He’s a big-time scorer with high draft potential.
G Josh Hart, Villanova
If Villanova had an MVP last season, it was Hart, who broke out for 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. His decision to pull out of the draft will make the Wildcats a Final Four threat again.
G Grayson Allen, Duke
Allen broke out for 21.6 points per game last season while shooting 50.2 percent from 2 and 41.7 percent from 3. He’ll be a National Player of the Year contender and the veteran leader on a championship-caliber team.
F Dillon Brooks, Oregon
Brooks broke out in the NCAA Tournament with 22 points against Duke and 25 against Saint Joseph’s. His decision to return to Oregon makes the Ducks a potential top-five team.
F Ivan Rabb, Cal
The highest-ranked NBA Draft prospect to return to school, Rabb will step out of former teammate Jaylen Brown’s shadow as a sophomore. The lanky 6'11" power forward averaged 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds last season.
G Monte Morris, Iowa State
Morris averaged career highs in shots (11 per game) and assists (6.9) last season but still maintained an elite assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.2 — good for third nationally.
G Melo Trimble, Maryland
Trimble’s return gives Maryland a fighting chance in the Big Ten. That said, he will have work to do after his numbers took a dip as a sophomore. He’ll be the lone star remaining from a talent-laden team that fell short of the Final Four in 2016.
G Josh Jackson, Kansas
Jackson possesses rare qualities for a freshman shooting guard: He’s an elite defender and fierce competitor.
F Harry Giles, Duke
Giles gives Duke another one-and-done forward who will be a high lottery pick.
F Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
The ACC’s most underrated talent was the only high-major player to average 18 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 50 percent from 2 and 40 percent from 3.
G Lonzo Ball, UCLA
G Dennis Smith Jr., NC State
F Moses Kingsley, Arkansas
F Alec Peters, Valparaiso
C Thomas Bryant, Indiana