Unfortunately for college basketball fans – and coaches – more and more freshmen who have good seasons are deciding to turn pro.
But there are some who stay in school to become even better-rounded, and our preseason 2012-13 All-Sophomore team is proof.
We already have unveiled our All-Senior and All-Junior teams, but the All-Sophomore team probably is the best of the three, complete with a center (Cody Zeller) and a point guard (Trey Burke) who likely would've been first-round picks in the NBA draft.
The All-Sophomore team isn't necessarily the 12 best sophomores; instead, we look for a nice mix of frontcourt and backcourt players and pick a starting five that actually could be on the floor together.
Still to come is our All-Freshman team; that will be released Monday.
[Related: Preseason All-Junior team]
C Cody Zeller, Indiana
Key 2011-12 stats: 28.5 mpg, 15.6 ppg, 62.3 FG%, 6.6 rpg, 1.4 spg, 1.2 bpg
Buzz: Zeller's decision to remain in school stamped IU as a legit national title contender. His brother, Tyler, stayed all four seasons at North Carolina and is expected to be the only senior picked in the lottery in this year's NBA draft. It seems extremely doubtful Cody stays all four seasons. He has a high basketball IQ and is deft around the basket. He could become better on the boards and as a shot-blocker, but he still should contend for All-America honors next season.
F LaDontae Henton, Providence
Key 2011-12 stats: 37.2 mpg, 14.3 ppg, 39.3 3-pt FG%, 8.6 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 1.0 spg
Buzz: Henton played a ton of minutes and was a productive player for the Friars. He rebounds well for his size (6 feet 6/220 pounds) and he also is a legitimate 3-point threat. His minutes should go down a bit next season because of a big influx of talent brought in by coach Ed Cooley, but he still will be the Friars' most important frontcourt player.
G Trey Burke, Michigan
Key 2011-12 stats: 36.1 mpg, 14.8 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.5 rpg
Buzz: Burke played at the same high school as Ohio State's Jared Sullinger – Columbus (Ohio) Northland – and his impact on the Wolverines this past season was as big as Sullinger's as a freshman in 2010-11 with the Buckeyes. Burke flirted with turning pro, but his decision to remain in school stamps the Wolverines as a contender to win their second consecutive Big Ten regular-season title. Burke is a tough and heady guard, and leads what should be one of the nation's best backcourts next season. In addition, the arrival of touted big man Mitch McGary should ease Burke's burden a bit because the Wolverines had no consistent frontcourt scorer this past season.
G D'Angelo Harrison, St. John's
Key 2011-12 stats: 35.3 mpg, 17.0 ppg, 80.4 FT%, 3.9 rpg, 1.6 spg
Buzz: Harrison was overshadowed a bit by teammate Mo Harkless, who decided to turn pro. But Harrison actually scored more points than Harkless, and his return was a boost for the Red Storm. Harris has good range, but he became a bit too enamored with the 3-pointer this past season. He's a strong guy (6-3/202) and should go to the basket more often, especially considering his free throw proficiency.
G B.J. Young, Arkansas
Key 2011-12 stats: 25.2 mpg, 15.3 ppg, 50.4 FG%, 41.3 3-pt FG%, 3.1 rpg, 1.2 apg
Buzz: Young scored a lot of points despite playing limited minutes; he also shot extremely well from the field for a freshman guard. He has good range and has the quickness to get into the lane as well. He's another who flirted with turning pro, but coach Mike Anderson is glad Young decided to stay in school. Young's skill set is a nice fit for Anderson's fast-paced style of play.
[Related: Preseason All-Senior team]
F Ryan Anderson, Boston College
Key 2011-12 stats: 29.9 mpg, 11.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Buzz: BC had a tough season, but Anderson, who is from the Los Angeles area, was a bright spot for the Eagles. He led BC in scoring and rebounding. He took too many 3-pointers as a freshman, and while he has the range to hit them, he would be better-served on working on his mid-range game. He had nine double-digit rebound games and does a nice job carving out space in the lane.
F Chane Behanan, Louisville
Key 2011-12 stats: 26.0 mpg, 9.5 ppg, 51.0 FG%, 7.5 rpg
Buzz: Behanan is a burly guy (6-6/245) who came on strong down the stretch this past season. He has the strength to get off a shot against almost anyone in the lane, which makes it puzzling that he attempted 36 3-pointers (hitting just six). He and Gorgui Dieng should make for a tough frontcourt duo next season. Behanan does a nice job getting to the line, but needs to work on his free throws (just 56.0 percent this past season).
F Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Key 2011-12 stats: 29.4 mpg, 14.7 ppg, 56.7 FG%, 10.3 rpg, 3.0 bpg
Buzz: Mitchell signed with Missouri in the 2009 signing class, but was academically ineligible and had to sit out the 2009-10 season. He ended up at North Texas and immediately was one of the best big men in the Sun Belt Conference. Mitchell is athletic and puts that trait to good use on defense and on the boards. He can hit the occasional 3-pointer, but knows he's most effective in the low blocks. He had some problems with consistency this past season (for instance, a 34-point game against South Alabama was followed by a nine-point outing against Arkansas State), but he's a future NBA player once he smooth out the rough edges.
F Otto Porter, Georgetown
Key 2011-12 stats: 29.9 mpg, 9.9 ppg, 53.4 FG%, 6.9 rpg, 1.1 spg
Buzz: Porter was the Hoyas' fourth-leading scorer and leading rebounder this past season. But Georgetown lost its top three scorers, so expect Porter's average per game to increase by five or six points next season. While he lacks bulk (68, but just 200 pounds), he's sneaky quick and effective on the boards. Once he gets a bit stronger, he'll become an even better defender.
G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
Key 2011-12 stats: 32.2 mpg, 13.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.8 spg
Buzz: Caldwell-Pope had some growing pains, but still was one of the Bulldogs' best players this past season. He struggled from 3-point range (30.4 percent), and given his size, strength and quickness, there was no reason for him to take 44 more 3-point attempts than 2-point attempts. He can get to the rim and should try to do that more often next season. He did a nice job avoiding turnovers but should be a better passer than he is. Caldwell-Pope does a nice job defensively and could become one of the best perimeter defenders in the SEC.
G Myck Kabongo, Texas
Key 2011-12 stats: 30.6 mpg, 9.6 ppg, 5.2 apg, 3.0 rpg, 1.3 spg
Buzz: Kabongo had some issues running the offense early in the season, but gradually settled down and has a bright future. He is a solid distributor and will be helped next season when Texas has more big men who can score. Kabongo, who is Canadian, struggled with his shot and faded offensively down the stretch. Still, his biggest value is as a distributor and he should be expected to average at least six assists per game next season. He also should be able to increase his steals total.
G Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
Key 2011-12 stats: 31.7 mpg, 13.6 ppg, 40.3 3-pt FG%, 85.1 FT%, 3.4 apg, 1.2 spg
Buzz: Pangos, another Canadian, was better offensively than expected. He is a former point guard for the Canadian U17 national team, but showed good range for the Zags this past season. He and fellow sophomore-to-be Gary Bell Jr. should be one of the better backcourts on the West Coast next season. Pangos also flashed solid defensive skills as a freshman.
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