SB Nation 2011-2012 College Basketball Preseason All-American Teams

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 20: Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after a play against the George Mason Patriots during the third of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

A trio of sophomores who opted to spurn the NBA in favor of pursuing a national title highlight SB Nation's preseason list of All-Americans.

Over the past couple of years, "one-and-done" has become a term as synonymous with college basketball as any other. But for the first time since the institution of the rule forcing NBA prospects to play at least one year of college ball before making the jump to the league, a handful of the nation's best freshmen have opted to turn down millions in favor of a second year of campus life.

This trend is reflected on SB Nation's list of preseason All-Americans, which includes three sophomores on the first team and five second-years total.

FIRST TEAM

 

Harrison Barnes - SO - F - North Carolina

Expectations for Harrison Barnes' first collegiate season were taken to the next level last year when he became the first freshman selection to the preseason AP All-American team since 1986. As if being the top-rated recruit in the country didn't come with enough pressure. Almost predictably, Barnes struggled out of the gate and as a result so did the Tar Heels. He rebounded to average just under 20 points per game (19.7) over the final 18 games of the season and led UNC to a pair of ACC championships and a trip to the Elite Eight.

Barnes' shocking return to Chapel Hill for a second season is the main reason North Carolina is the near-unanimous preseason choice to cut down the nets in 2012. He's the most gifted overall player in college basketball and a surefire lottery pick come next summer.

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Jared Sullinger - SO - C - Ohio State

The lone freshman to earn All-American honors in 2011, Sullinger averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds for an Ohio State team that spent a solid chunk of the season ranked No. 1. Like Barnes, Sullinger turned down millions in favor of returning to school for a second season. An upset loss to Kentucky - the team that also upset Barnes and UNC a round later - in the Sweet 16 played a large part in that decision. He's the unrivaled dominant big man of college basketball and the most common selection for preseason player of the year.

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Jordan Taylor - SR - G - Wisconsin

Never one to wow you with his athleticism, Taylor appears here because he is college basketball's most efficient player. Consider his numbers from last season: 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.0 assists and a 42.9% three-point shooting mark. Now consider the fact that he runs the point for Wisconsin, a team that ranked 344th in the country in pace last year. It's no wonder that nearly every computer ranking system lists Taylor as the runaway most valuable player in college basketball. Putting up numbers in 2011-2012 that are even remotely close to the ones he put up as a junior would be a remarkable achievement, and one worthy of an All-American nod.

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Tu Holloway - SR - G - Xavier

One of the best pure scorers in the best country, Holloway averaged better than 20 points per game for the bulk of his junior season. Still, it's a 5-point performance in Xavier's NCAA Tournament loss to Marquette that has been on his mind for the past seven months. The Musketeers should have more weapons in 2011-2012, so it should come as little surprise if Holloway averages less than the 19.7 points and 38.4 minutes he put up last season. What would be more of a surprise is if he doesn't guide X into the second weekend of the big dance.

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Terrence Jones - SO - F - Kentucky

Jones was oft-criticized in Lexington last season for his inconsistent play and willingness to settle for the outside shot. Still, he averaged nearly a double-double (15.7/8.8), was the SEC's Freshman of the Year, and would have been a lottery pick in the NBA Draft had he chosen to go that route. Instead Jones opted to come back to school and "try to win a national championship and get more mature." That maturity - as well as a bulkier 252-pound frame - was on full display Wednesday night when he scored 52 points on 24-of-31 shooting during Kentucky's Blue/White intrasquad scrimmage.

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SECOND TEAM

Jeremy Lamb - SO - F - Connecticut

No player in the country improved more from the start of last season to the end than Lamb, who was the breakout star during UConn's remarkable run to the Big East Tournament title and NCAA championship. The big question now is whether or not he can do it without Kemba Walker around to attract so much attention.

John Jenkins - JR - G - Vanderbilt

Jenkins led the SEC in scoring at 19.5 points and shot 40.8 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore. He's widely-regarded as the best shooter in the country, but worked hard in the offseason to expand his ability to get into the lane.

Ashton Gibbs - SR - G - Pittsburgh

Pitt's leading scorer in each of the past two seasons, Gibbs shot 49% from beyond the arc has earned the reputation of being one of the most clutch shooters in the game. He was the near unanimous choice for preseason player of the year in the Big East.

Perry Jones - SO - F - Baylor

The 6-11 Jones is so talented that a freshman campaign which saw him average 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds was viewed by many to be a disappointment. The plethora of wing talent on this year's Baylor squad should free Jones up for more clean touches in the paint and lead to some bulkier numbers on the stat sheet.

JaMychal Green - SR - F - Alabama

Potential has never been an issue for Green, who has steadily improved in each of his three seasons in Tuscaloosa. If he makes the same type of jump from his junior year to his senior one, he'll be one of the best players in the country and Alabama will be a major player in the SEC.

THIRD TEAM

Austin Rivers - FR - G - Duke

I'm generally not a fan of honoring kids who have yet to step on the floor for their first collegiate game, but Rivers is a big-time scorer who should have a chance to put up some large numbers right off the bat. He may not end up being the best freshman in the country, but it will be a surprise if he isn't the most valuable.

Trevor Mbakwe - SR - F - Minnesota

He's far from the most skilled forward in the country, but Mbakwe's combination of athleticism and insane rebounding desire make him the most consistent double-double threat since...well, Kenneth Faried last year.

Robbie Hummel - SR - F - Purdue

There's no question that Hummel belongs here if he's healthy.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - FR - F - Kentucky

Fellow UK freshman Anthony Davis has appeared on far more of these lists, but don't be surprised if it's Kidd-Gilchrist who ends up having the easier time adjusting to the college game. His athleticism and ability to run the floor make him the perfect fit for a John Calipari Kentucky team.

John Henson - JR - F - North Carolina

Henson is probably the most dominant defensive player in the nation, which may not be as sexy as nation's best scorer, but certainly worthy of an All-American nod.

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