Stars like Syracuse’s Fab Melo (Brazil), St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson (Canada) and Vanderbilt’s Jeffrey Taylor (Sweden) and Festus Ezeli (Nigeria) may have left the college ranks for the NBA in June, but that doesn’t mean the college game isn’t still flush with international talent.
If we were to assemble a NCAA international dream team for the upcoming season, here are the 10 players who would make our rotation.
2012-13 INTERNATIONAL DREAM TEAM
G Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary’s
The perfect leader for our international dream team is Matthew Dellavedova. Before even starting his senior season, the 6-foot-4 do-it-all guard has already made an indelible mark on the Gaels’ record book — first in career assists, second in career 3-pointers, eighth in career steals, ninth in career scoring. The reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Year, Dellavedova bolstered his résumé by representing his native land in the Summer Olympics.
G Myck Kabongo, Texas
Rick Barnes has a thing for Canadian point guards — two years ago he had Cory Joseph, then when Joseph bolted for the NBA after one season, he was seamlessly replaced with Myck Kabongo. The slender 6-1 floor general, on of the top recruits in the Class of 2011, led the Longhorns in assists last season, averaging 5.2 per game. Kabongo brings to our team a reliable ball-handler and expert distributor.
F Brock Motum, Washington State
Providing the inside scoring for our international team is last season’s leading scorer in the Pac-12, Brock Motum. The 6-10 Aussie averaged 18.0 points and 6.4 rebounds for the Cougars last season. Motum made a dramatic improvement from his sophomore season (7.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg), so don’t be surprised if he is even more productive in his final season in Pullman.
F Elias Harris, Gonzaga
Elias Harris has long been on NBA scouts’ radar, but luckily for the Zags he stuck around for four years in Spokane. The 6-7 combo forward led the squad in rebounding (8.4 rpg) last season, earning All-WCC honors. He also has international experience playing for the German National Team. His inside/outside versatility brings a unique dimension to our international squad.
C Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Dieng was one of the most improved players in the nation last season for a Louisville team that reached the Final Four. The big man from Senegal has always been effective on the defensive end, but he emerged as a threat on offense as a sophomore. Overall, he averaged 9.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game. He gives our International team some size and shot-blocking.
G Brady Heslip, Baylor
Every team needs a 3-point sharpshooter, and our international squad has one of the best in the nation, Baylor’s Brady Heslip. In his first season on the court for the Bears (after transferring from Boston College), Heslip knocked down 100 3s at a 45.5 percent clip, including a memorable 9-of-12 performance against Colorado in the Round of the 32 of the NCAA Tournament.
G Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
Our second Canadian guard off the bench is Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos. The Bulldogs have always had a strong recruiting pipeline to Canada, and they imported another key player from the Great White North last season. Despite playing on a roster full of veterans, Pangos surprisingly led the team in scoring (13.6 ppg), as well as assists, steals and 3-pointers made. Pangos can penetrate and kick it out to Heslip behind the arc.
F Ryan Broekhoff, Valparaiso
Providing veteran leadership off the bench for our team is Valpo’s Ryan Broekhoff. The reigning Horizon League Player of the Year, Broekhoff, a 6-7 senior, can play forward or guard, and no doubt is on a confidence high training with the Australian National Team this past offseason.
F Arsalan Kazemi, Oregon
The first Iranaian to play Division I basketball, Kazemi is a versatile scorer who has averaged a double-double for Rice in each of the last two seasons while shooting over 50 percent from the field. Kazemi transferred from Rice to Oregon in September and is seeking a hardship waiver to play this season.
C Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Country: New Zealand
New Zealand isn’t exactly a hotbed of hoops talent, but don’t tell that to Steven Adams. Despite being orphaned and living on the streets as a teen, the 7-foot “Kiwi Phenom” blossomed into one of the top-ranked incoming freshmen to the NCAA this fall. Adams is an explosive, athletic big man who gives Jamie Dixon perhaps his most ballyhooed recruit since taking over the reins of the Panthers.
More previews for the 2012-13 season can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store
Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
8. Ohio State
10. Michigan State
11. NC State
14. North Carolina
15. San Diego State
19. Notre Dame