CBSSports.com has released their Preseason All-American lists for the 2013-14 season. Julius Randle made the cut as a first-team All-American. Andrew Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein are named as third-team All-Americans. Kentucky is the only school in the SEC to receive any All-American nominations.
Here is what CBS said about Julius Randle:
“Randle projects as the best player on what projects as the nation’s best team. He’s big, strong and super-aggressive — a matchup nightmare in the frontcourt who just might lead Kentucky in points and rebounds while leading the Wildcats to a second national title in three years.”
At first glance, I believed the CBS guys had Harrison too low. However, they have Ohio State’s Aaron Craft and Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart ranked ahead of him. I think that’s fair, especially due to Harrison not even playing a single college game yet. Smart surprised everyone after he decided to return to school. He was projected as a top-5 pick, but instead returned for his sophomore season. The only knock on Craft has always been his shooting and offensive production. He’s a super-tough kid and plays some serious defense. The intangibles that Craft brings to Ohio State is the reason why they have been a constant threat for the Final Four. Harrison’s impact on the Wildcats will be huge as their point guard, but I could never rank him above Smart or Craft at this point.
Willie Cauley-Stein’s placement is also fair, but I believe he could have a better year than Michigan’s Mitch McGary, who is ranked ahead of him. McGary has always been viewed as a bit of a bust since being ranked so high coming out of high school. Granted, he is still a very nice low-post player for the Wolverines. He was a definite factor for Michigan on their way to the national title game last season. Cauley-Stein could have the same kind of impact, but he is so much more athletic. I really believe this is the year that Cauley-Stein really breaks out and becomes much more dangerous than last season. His size at 7-foot, combined with his athletic ability will be a matchup nightmare all season long.
Brian Lewis is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can add him to your network on Google for more of his work.