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Andy Wittry | NCAA.com | November 28, 2017

Comparing preseason All-American teams to final results

  Michigan State's Miles Bridges and Duke's Grayson Allen were picked to be preseason All-Americans.

The first month of the college basketball season is almost in the rear view mirror and the early returns on many prognosticators' preseason All-American selections are promising, for the most part. Michigan State sophomore forward Miles Bridges, who seemed to be the consensus favorite in the preseason to win national player of the year, is averaging 15.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. But how often do college basketball preseason predictions live up to expectations?

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It may come as a surprise that in three of the last four seasons, the leading preseason national player of the year candidates haven't finished the season as AP First Team All-Americans, let alone national player of the year.

Here's a breakdown of the last four seasons of preseason All-American and national player of the year selections, and how they compared to the final results.

2017-18

After a stellar freshman season in East Lansing, Mich., Bridges was an easy choice for preseason national player of the year following his decision to delay his professional future in favor of returning for his sophomore season. While an ankle injury has limited Bridges some this year, he's still the best player on a top-5 team, a strong combination for a national player of the year hopeful.

Media Outlet Player School
ESPN Miles Bridges Michigan State
CBS Sports Miles Bridges Michigan State
NBC Sports Miles Bridges Michigan State
SI.com Miles Bridges Michigan State

Of the eight preseason All-American teams examined, Bridges and Missouri freshman forward Michael Porter Jr. appeared on every one. Unfortunately, Porter Jr. is likely done for the season after undergoing back surgery. Notre Dame's Bonzie Colson and Arizona's Allonzo Trier were on five of the teams, while Villanova's Jalen Brunson and Duke's Grayson Allen were named four times.

Only Athlon selected Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III, who is averaging 22.3 points and 11.3 rebounds through eight games, despite playing just 10 minutes against Michigan State after getting poked in the eye.

Media Outlet Player Player Player Player Player
ESPN Joel Berry II (North Carolina) Allonzo Trier (Arizona) Miles Bridges (Michigan State) Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri) Angel Delgado (Seton Hall)
CBS Sports Jalen Brunson (Villanova) Devonte' Graham (Kansas) Miles Bridges (Michigan State) Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri) Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame)
NBC Sports Devonte' Graham (Kansas) Grayson Allen (Duke) Allonzo Trier (Arizona) Miles Bridges (Michigan State) Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri)
SI.com Allonzo Trier (Arizona) Grayson Allen (Duke) Miles Bridges (Michigan State) Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri) Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame)
Athlon Jalen Brunson (Villanova) Miles Bridges (Michigan State) Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri) Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame) Marvin Bagley III (Duke)
SB Nation Jalen Brunson (Villanova) Allonzo Trier (Arizona) Miles Bridges (Michigan State) Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri) Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame)
USA Today Devonte' Graham (Kansas) Grayson Allen (Duke) Allonzo Trier (Arizona) Miles Bridges (Michigan State) Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri)
Sporting News Jalen Brunson (Villanova) Grayson Allen (Duke) Miles Bridges (Michigan State) Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri) Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame)

In the last four years, the AP All-American First Teams have featured four freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and 12 seniors, so on average, that's one freshman, one sophomore or junior, and three seniors per year.

2016-17

Entering last season, few people outside of Lawrence, Kan., thought Frank Mason III would be a First Team All-American, let alone the national player of the year. Mason averaged 12.9 points, 4.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds as a junior, before exploding in his final season and leading the Jayhawks to another Big 12 title and 31 wins. He averaged 20.9 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, while shooting 49 percent from the field and 47 percent from three.

Media Outlet Preseason Player of the Year Naismith Award Winner
CBS Sports Grayson Allen (Duke) Frank Mason III (Kansas)
NBC Sports Grayson Allen (Duke)  
SI.com Grayson Allen (Duke)  

If someone told you the major media outlets would whiff on four of the five AP All-Americans this season, would you believe them? Who knows if that will happen but don't dismiss the possibility.

Because that's what happened last year, when Grayson Allen, Josh Hart and Dillon Brooks were consensus preseason First Team All-Americans, but only Hart finished the season with that distinction from the AP. He was flanked by UCLA's Lonzo Ball and Kansas' Frank Mason III in this hypothetical star-studded backcourt, with North Carolina's Justin Jackson and Purdue's Caleb Swanigan in the frontcourt.

Media Outlet Player Player Player Player Player
AP All-American First Team Lonzo Ball (UCLA) Frank Mason III (Kansas) Josh Hart (Villanova) Justin Jackson (North Carolina) Caleb Swanigan (Purdue)
AP (Preseason) Monte Morris (Iowa State) Grayson Allen (Duke) Josh Hart (Villanova) Dillon Brooks (Oregon) Ivan Rabb (California)
CBS Sports Markelle Fultz (Washington) Grayson Allen (Duke) Josh Hart (Villanova) Dillon Brooks (Oregon) Josh Jackson (Kansas)
Sporting News Melo Trimble (Maryland) Grayson Allen (Duke) Josh Hart (Villanova) Miles Bridges (Michigan State) Dillon Brooks (Oregon)
USA Today Grayson Allen (Duke) Josh Hart (Villanova) Dillon Brooks (Oregon) Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin) Ivan Rabb (California)
SI.com Markelle Fultz (Washington) Grayson Allen (Duke) Josh Hart (Villanova) Dillon Brooks (Oregon) Ivan Rabb (California)
SB Nation Monte Morris (Iowa State) Grayson Allen (Duke) Josh Hart (Villanova) Dillon Brooks (Oregon) Ivan Rabb (California)

2015-16

Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer, who began his college career at Kentucky and won a national title with the Wildcats, and LSU then-freshman sensation Ben Simmons were the clear frontrunners to win national player of the year honors entering the 2015-16 season. SI.com listed Wiltjer and Simmons in the top tier – labeled "Frontrunners" – of player of the year candidates, in that order, and a survey of 28 ESPN analysts yielded nine votes for Simmons and six for Wiltjer. No other player received more than four votes.

Media Outlet Preseason Player of the Year Naismith Award Winner
CBS Sports Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga) Buddy Hield (Oklahoma)
SI.com Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga), Ben Simmons (LSU)  
ESPN Ben Simmons (LSU), Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga)  

Former Oklahoma sharpshooter Buddy Hield was identified by many media members two years ago as a preseason First Team All-American and he lived up to the hype, if not exceeded it, by winning the Naismith Award. Some had selected a guard from North Carolina (Marcus Paige) and a big from Kentucky (Skal Labissiere) but it turned out that a big from North Carolina (Brice Johnson) and a guard from Kentucky (Tyler Ulis) earned AP All-America First Team honors.

Media Outlet Player Player Player Player Player
AP All-American First Team Tyler Ulis (Kentucky) Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia) Denzel Valentine (Michigan State) Brice Johnson (North Carolina)
CBS Sports Kris Dunn (Providence) Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) Ben Simmons (LSU) Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga) Skal Labissiere (Kentucky)
SI.com Marcus Paige (North Carolina) Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) Ben Simmons (LSU) Georges Niang (Iowa State) Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga)
USA Today Marcus Paige (North Carolina) Melo Trimble (Maryland) Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) Ben Simmons (LSU) Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga)
Sporting News Marcus Paige (North Carolina) Ron Baker (Wichita State) Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia) Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin) Georges Niang (Iowa State)

2014-15

Jahlil Okafor entered college in 2014 as one of the best, if not the best, freshmen in the country and several publications pegged him as the preseason national player of the year. He put up great numbers in his one season at Duke, averaging 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 66.4 percent from the field, but he wasn't given the Naismith Award. That went to Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky, who averaged 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 blocks per game for the Badgers.

Media Outlet Preseason Player of the Year Naismith Award Winner
CBS Sports Jahlil Okafor (Duke) Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)
NBC Sports Jahlil Okafor (Duke)  
SB Nation Jahlil Okafor (Duke)  

The AP All-American First Team in 2015 wasn't lacking height, as Kentucky 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein also earned the honor. While Kaminsky and Okafor were common picks on preseason All-American lists, no one could have projected the sensational freshman season that D'Angelo Russell had at Ohio State (19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists per game), and Notre Dame's Jerian Grant finished his career on a high note after playing just 12 games as a junior.

Media Outlet Player Player Player Player Player
AP All-American First Team D'Angelo Russell (Ohio State) Jerian Grant (Notre Dame) Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky) Jahlil Okafor (Duke)
AP (Preseason) Marcus Paige (North Carolina) Fred VanVleet (Wichita State) Montrezl Harrell (Louisville) Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) Jahlil Okafor (Duke)
USA Today Marcus Paige (North Carolina) Fred VanVleet (Wichita State) Sam Dekker (Wisconsin) Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky) Jahlil Okafor (Duke)
NBC Sports Marcus Paige (North Carolina) Caris LeVert (Michigan) Stanley Johnson (Arizona) Sam Dekker (Wisconsin) Jahlil Okafor (Duke)
Sporting News Marcus Paige (North Carolina) Aaron Harrison (Kentucky) Branden Dawson (Michigan State) Montrezl Harrell (Louisville) Jahlil Okafor (Duke)
Blue Ribbon Marcus Paige (North Carolina) Fred VanVleet (Wichita State) Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia) Montrezl Harrell (Louisville) Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)
SB Nation Marcus Paige (North Carolina) Georges Niang (Iowa State) Montrezl Harrell (Louisville) Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) Jahlil Okafor (Duke)

Karl-Anthony Towns and Malcolm Brogdon were AP Second Team All-Americans and Georges Niang was a member of the Third Team, while Fred VanVleet, Stanley Johnson and Montrezl Harrell were honorable mention selections.

2013-14

Like Miles Bridges this year, Marcus Smart was a highly regarded freshman who had a productive first season in college and returned for his sophomore year, earning him preseason national player of the year honors from many media outlets. Andrew Wiggins, who was entering his freshman season at Kansas and billed as basketball's "Next big thing," was Smart's biggest competitor for the honor.

But it was Creighton senior Doug McDermott, who averaged 26.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in the Bluejays' first season in the Big East, who won the Naismith Award.

Media Outlet Preseason Player of the Year Naismith Award Winner
CBS Sports Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) Doug McDermott (Creighton)
USA Today Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)  
USBWA Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)  
NBC Sports Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)  
Blue Ribbon Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)  
Rush The Court Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)  

The 2014 AP First Team All-American team was senior-laden as McDermott and three senior guards from the American Athletic Conference earned the nod. UConn's Shabazz Napier led the Huskies to a national championship while averaging 18 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. Sean Kilpatrick carried Cincinnati offensively, averaging 20.6 points per game, and Louisville's Russ Smith recorded 18.2 points and 4.6 assists per night.

Duke's Jabari Parker was the lone underclassman named to the AP All-American First Team. He averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

There was almost a consensus among media outlets for which five players deserved preseason All-American honors. Smith, Smart, Wiggins and McDermott appeared on the five preseason lists examined from 2013, with either Michigan's Mitch McGary or Kentucky's Julius Randle claiming the fifth spot.

Media Outlet Player Player Player Player Player
AP All-American First Team Russ Smith (Louisville) Shabazz Napier (UConn) Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati) Doug McDermott (Creighton) Jabari Parker (Duke)
AP (Preseason) Russ Smith (Louisville) Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) Doug McDermott (Creighton) Mitch McGary (Michigan)
CBS Sports Russ Smith (Louisville) Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) Doug McDermott (Creighton) Julius Randle (Kentucky)
NBC Sports Russ Smith (Louisville) Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) Doug McDermott (Creighton) Julius Randle (Kentucky)
SB Nation Russ Smith (Louisville) Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) Doug McDermott (Creighton) Mitch McGary (Michigan)
Rush The Court Russ Smith (Louisville) Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) Doug McDermott (Creighton) Julius Randle (Kentucky)