Monday, March 26, 2012
The John R. Wooden All-American team
By Myron Medcalf
These players stood out during the 2011-12 season. All year, they dazzled with noteworthy performances that demanded postseason recognition.
That’s why they’ve earned spots on the 2012 John R. Wooden Award All-American team. Here are the 10 players who made the squad:
Isaiah Canaan (Murray State) -- The junior guard put Murray State on the national stage with electrifying performances that resulted in a national ranking and NCAA tournament bid. His talent (19.2 ppg, 3.6 apg, 1.4 spg) was crucial during Murray State’s 23-0 start. Few knew Murray State prior to the start of the year, but Canaan’s game changed that.
Jae Crowder (Marquette) -- The Golden Eagles earned second-place honors in the Big East and ultimately reached the Sweet 16 with limited size because Crowder (17.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg), a 6-foot-6 forward, played big. He was a matchup nightmare in the Big East and beyond, a versatile forward on both ends of the floor. He recorded double-doubles in five of his last six games.
Anthony Davis (Kentucky) -- Davis (14.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 4.6 bpg) started the year as a promising freshman and could end it as a national champion. The first-year star’s defense has already made history (in January he broke Kentucky’s single-season record for blocks). But he impacts the game in other ways, too, and continues to add new wrinkles to his arsenal.
Marcus Denmon (Missouri) -- The senior guard led a Missouri squad that managed to challenge Kansas for the Big 12 title with a four-guard lineup. That assembly, led by Denmon (17.6 ppg, 5.1 apg), held its own against some of the top teams in the country for the majority of Frank Haith’s first season. Denmon scored 20 or more in 12 games.
Draymond Green (Michigan State) -- The 6-7 senior was arguably the most versatile player in America this season. Proof? He played power forward and point guard for the Spartans during their NCAA tournament run to the Sweet 16. The Big Ten Player of the Year averaged 16.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg and 3.6 apg this season. And he was a crucial leader for a Spartans squad that earned a 1-seed.
Kevin Jones (West Virginia) -- Jones’ off-the-chart numbers were masked by his team’s 9-9 Big East finish and second-round exit in the NCAA tournament against Gonzaga. But Jones (20.1 ppg, 11.1 rpg) was clearly one of the top players in America this season. He was the main reason that a freshman-heavy West Virginia roster still managed to earn an NCAA tournament berth.
Doug McDermott (Creighton) -- Entering his freshman season last year, McDermott was a redshirt candidate. This year, the 6-7 forward became an NBA prospect and national player of the year candidate. McDermott (23.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg) carried Creighton to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Thomas Robinson (Kansas) -- Robinson (17.9 ppg, 11.8 rpg) overcame a tragic stretch last season --he lost his mother, grandfather and grandmother within one month -- and entered this year as one of the top players in the country. His offseason work ethic translated into an All-America season. And it fueled the Jayhawks’ run to their eighth consecutive Big 12 title and a Final Four slot.
Jared Sullinger (Ohio State) -- Sullinger passed on the NBA and returned to Ohio State for one reason: to win a national title. The big man lost weight and expanded his game in the offseason. The result? He averaged 17.6 ppg and 9.3 rpg this season and led the Buckeyes to the Final Four.
Tyler Zeller (North Carolina) -- The ACC Player of the Year finished his career with a stellar season (16.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg). He scored 20 points and grabbed 22 rebounds in a Sweet 16 win over Ohio. North Carolina didn’t reach New Orleans, but Zeller helped the Tar Heels keep those dreams alive.