If Kansas is able to extend its streak of Big 12 championships to 12 titles, the key player may be one of the two point guards on the All-Junior team.
One is the Kansas point guard, Frank Mason. The other is the point guard of the team that won the last two Big 12 tournaments, Iowa State’s Monté Morris.
As the Athlon Sports “All-Class” teams look at the juniors, the Big 12 guards aren’t the only ones looking to make a little history. One forward is trying to get back to the Final Four for the third time. Another is trying to get there for the first team. The top junior center is just trying to get to the NCAA Tournament.
The following article and more can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball Preview magazine, available now.
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G Kris Dunn, Providence
Dunn was arguably the most underrated player in the country last season, finishing first nationally in assist rate and fifth in steal rate on KenPom. Dunn averaged 15.6 points, 7.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game.
*Dunn, a redshirt junior, was erroneously listed on the All-Senior Team in an original version of this post. He has been moved from the All-Senior team to the All-Junior team.
G Frank Mason, Kansas
The speedy Mason solidified Kansas’ point guard position last season, averaging 12.6 points and 3.9 assists per game. Mason also improved his 3-point shooting by more than 10 percentage points to 42.9.
G Monté Morris, Iowa State
Morris is the leader of the up-tempo Iowa State attack, averaging 4.7 assists per turnover in his career. He took a leap as a scorer last season from 6.8 points to 11.9 points per game.
F Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin
The breakout star of the NCAA Tournament — at least personality-wise — returns as the clear leader of the Badgers. The athletic forward is poised for a career year after averaging 12.4 points and 6.2 rebounds last season.
F Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina
Meeks transformed his physique as a sophomore and became a force on the offensive glass, averaging 2.6 offensive boards per game. In all, the 6'9", 265-pound Tar Heel averaged 11.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
C Damian Jones, Vanderbilt
Jones could have made a run at SEC Player of the Year if Vanderbilt had been an NCAA Tournament team. He averaged 14.5 points per game and shot 56.2 percent from the floor in a breakout season.
G Bryce Alford, UCLA
G Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame
G E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island
F Jamel Artis, Pittsburgh
F Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson