The Associated Press’ preseason All-America team was released today and the names are familiar to most college basketball fans. Cody Zeller of Indiana was the leading vote-getter. He was joined by Doug McDermott of Creighton, Isaiah Canaan of Murray State, DeShaun Thomas of Ohio State, C.J. McCollum of Lehigh and Trey Burke of Michigan.
Although it is hard to argue that these players do not deserve to be mentioned or will not have productive seasons, there was one name on the list that was noticeably absent. Actually, his problem is that he does not get noticed as much as he should, but for those familiar with his game, he is the most noticeable snub on the preseason All-America list. This player is Jamaal Franklin of San Diego State.
Franklin often gets overlooked because he plays out west in the Mountain West Conference. However, he possesses a complete skill set and the size and athleticism to compete for player of the year, let alone become an All-American.
Franklin was bench ridden and overshadowed by Kawhi Leonard during his freshman year. However, he exploded onto the scene his sophomore year and averaged 17.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He is a 6-foot-5 wing player with incredible athleticism and is no stranger to the highlight dunk. He also has the ability to knock down the jump shot when his feet are set and get to the rim off the bounce.
One of Franklin’s most noticeable attributes–and what should eventually get him the national attention he deserves–is his knack for hitting the big shot. Franklin hit two game-winning buzzer beaters against UNLV and Boise State.
Franklin was a big reason why his team reached the NCAA tournament last season and improved as the season progressed. He was not the unquestioned go-to player to begin the season, but became just that as his play warranted it. Toward the end of the season, he took to his role and his production increased. Franklin averaged around 13 points per game over the first half of the season. He then averaged 19.4 during the last half of the season. It was over the second half that Franklin established himself and the team took to him.
The defending MWC player of the year is ready to take the next step in 2012-13. If he can begin this season where he left off a season ago, then college basketball fans can expect to see him on the postseason All-America team.