I am a voting member of the United States Basketball Writer's Association of America, and this week was the first chance to submit an All-American ballot for college basketball. For those that are interested, here is whom I voted for in regards to All-Americans, Freshman of the Year, Coach of the Year and National Player of the Year.
Before I get to the good stuff, I had to vote for my All-District team. The nation is broken down into state clusters and different "districts". Mine is District IV, encompassing all players from all schools in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
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Here is my All-District ballot:
Sheldon McClellan (Miami), Damion Lee (Louisville), Marcus Georges-Hunt (Georgia Tech), Jamal Murray (Kentucky), Tyler Ulis (Kentucky), Dorian Finney-Smith (Florida), Wade Baldwin IV (Vanderbilt), Kevin Punter (Tennessee), Stefan Moody (Ole Miss), and Evan Bradds (Belmont).
I had some tough choices for who to leave off, and Retin Obasohan (Alabama), Gavin Ware (Mississippi State), Dallas Moore (North Florida) and Robert Brown (UAB) were the last guys off the ballot.
I voted for Jamal Murray for district player of the year, and after going back and forth between several qualified candidates - Jim Larranaga (Miami), Jerrod Haase (UAB) and Avery Johnson (Alabama) were my other thoughts - I decided to go with Matt McCall from Chattanooga.
McCall was thrown into his first head coaching gig after Will Wade bolted - after just two seasons - to take over VCU last summer. McCall has led Chattanooga to a 25-5 record, road wins over Georgia, Illinois and Dayton, a Southern Conference regular season title, and if they don't make the NCAA Tournament the Mocs will be in the NIT or another strong postseason tournament. McCall accomplished all of that despite losing the team's best player, Casey Jones, to injury just six games into the season.
Larranaga would've been my second choice.
For the national awards, I ranked Buddy Hield first on my ballot for the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy. There were 11 players listed, and I was supposed to rank them in order of preference. But as far as I'm concerned it is Hield and then everybody else playing for second place.
For freshman of the year I was actually a bit torn. I ended up ranking Ben Simmons No. 1 on my ballot but was giving a lot of strong consideration to Jamal Murray. I went with Jaylen Brown (Cal) and Brandon Ingram (Duke) third and fourth, respectively.
Henry Iba National Coach of the Year was another really difficult decision to make. Fortunately, I got to submit three names, which made it a little easier, but I still know I left a couple people out. I ranked Oregon's Dana Altman No. 1 on my ballot. The Ducks are 23-6 and have the inside-track to win an absolutely loaded Pac-12 this year. Altman has completely revitalized this Ducks program, and he was able to overcome the loss of last year's team leader and top scorer, Joseph Young.
I ranked Villanova's Jay Wright second and Indiana's Tom Crean was third, although I may have really undersold Crean's work this year. Chris Mack of Xavier would've been my fourth pick, if I had one.
As for my All-American Team, I was given 10 slots and could pick players from any team in the nation. It is a little overwhelming, and it's tough to find a consistent criterion to base everyone's comparison against. But after much deliberation, here is where I landed with my college basketball All-Americans:
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
Grayson Allen, Duke
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
Georges Niang, Iowa State
Brice Johnson, North Carolina
Jakob Poeltl, Utah
Perry Ellis, Kansas
Kris Dunn, Providence
Ben Simmons, LSU
Dunn was the last player on my ballot. It was between Dunn, Jamal Murray and Jarrod Uthoff. I eventually went with Dunn because I really feel like he is just better - right now, today - than either of those other players. I also think that he is the most valuable player to his team in the country, because without him the Friars would fall from a consistent Top 25 team to an eight-win team.
The winners will be announced in the week leading up to the Final Four, which will be held the weekend of April 2 in Houston, TX.
Robert Ferringo is a member of the Basketball Writer's Association of America and a professional sports handicapper for Doc's Sports. He is considered one of the best college basketball handicappers in the country and he is about to extend his unmatched streak to 10 straight winning college basketball regular seasons. Robert's $100-per-Unit clients have banked $22,130 in profit with his sides and totals the last threeseasons and have taken home over $40,000 win winnings so far this decade. There is no better moneymaker in the nation and Robert is looking forward to another amazing March Madness. Click here to get two days of college basketball picks for free - no hassle and no credit card needed.
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