This college basketball season has been unusual for lots of reasons, most notably because it’s been played during a global pandemic and largely without fans, but also because two of the biggest brands in the sport — Duke and Kentucky — struggled from start to finish and missed the NCAA Tournament. Literally nobody predicted that. But it’s remarkable how much of what happened this season was accurately predicted.
For instance, the teams that were No. 1 (Gonzaga) and No. 2 (Baylor) in the CBS Sports Preseason Top 25 And 1 both secured No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament and remain in contention to win the national championship. And four of the five players who were CBS Sports Preseason First Team All-Americans — Iowa’s Luka Garza, Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu, Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert — have now been voted CBS Sports First Team All-Americans. They are joined on the First Team by Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, which means two Zags are on the First Team. And a third — Jalen Suggs — was voted to the Second Team.
That’s a testament to the dominance of Gonzaga.
It remains undetermined if the Zags will become the first undefeated national champion since Indiana in 1976, but there’s no debate that they are the sport’s best team. They’re elite offensively, elite defensively and very much on the short list of greatest college basketball teams in modern history. So it’s only proper that any list of All-Americans reflect as much. The three CBS Sports All-America teams feature 15 players from eight different leagues — but zero from the ACC and Big East, both of which were down this season. The breakdown is four players from the Big Ten, three from the West Coast Conference, three from the Big 12, and one each from the Pac-12, Missouri Valley Conference, American Athletic Conference, Summit League and SEC.– Gary Parrish
CBS Sports All-America First Team
Ayo Dosunmu | Illinois | 6-5 | Jr. | Guard
Illinois’ season ended well before the team expected it to, but in the broad scope this was a special run for a school that had been waiting more than a decade to return to national relevancy. Without Ayo Dosunmu, that doesn’t happen. The most clutch player in college basketball averaged 20.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 5.3 apg while shooting 38.6% from 3-point range. Dosunmu’s late-game takeovers vs. Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska and Northwestern put Illinois in No. 1 seed territory. Luka Garza was once believed to be a runaway winner for national player of the year, but Dosunmu’s play from late February and into March made it more of a debate.
Luka Garza | Iowa | 6-11 | Sr. | Center
The best player in the history of Iowa basketball. Luka Garza was the near-universal pick for preseason player of the year. He backed up that endorsement by averaging 24.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg and 1.6 bpg. Garza’s NBA ceiling is debatable, but his legendary status at that school and in the Big Ten is not. Garza scored inside and out, hook shot and feathery jumper. Sure, he could lumber up and down the floor so hard you’d wonder if the leaves of the court might jiggle loose, but he’ll be missed in college basketball. Don’t overlook his 3-point range, either. Garza shot 44.0% from beyond the arc. The best center, the best player this season.
Corey Kispert | Gonzaga | 6-7 | Sr. | Forward
Had Corey Kispert decided a year ago to leave for the NBA, he would have almost certainly been drafted. But sensing a chance to win a championship and complete a fulfilling college experience, he returned and got so much better. Kispert averaged 18.9 ppg and 5.0 rpg while evolving into the best shooter in college basketball. His percentages: 62.4 2-pt%, 45.3 3-pt%, 88.5% FT%. The Bulldogs are loaded with talent, but Kispert was their best weapon from the start.
Cade Cunningham | Oklahoma State | 6-8 | Fr. | Guard
The Cowboys experienced one of their strongest seasons in 15 years, guided by the rocksteady play of their freshman star point guard, Cade Cunningham. It’s hard to play at a program with as much history as OSU and claim luminary status after one season, but Cunningham pulled it off. The CBS Sports National Freshman of the Year was also the Big 12 Player of the Year (20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.5 apg) and brought Oklahoma State to a No. 4 seed after making the Big 12 title game. Now he’s a few months away from potentially being the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. Special talent who helped Mike Boynton’s create a distinguished season.
Drew Timme | Gonzaga | 6-10 | So. | Forward
We pride ourselves at CBS Sports for voting on All-Americans at the time we feel is most equitable: after the Elite Eight but prior to the Final Four. It allows for postseason play to influence the voting but not outsize regular-season performance. That in mind, Drew Timme’s NCAA Tournament run was enough to vault him from Second to First Team status. Gonzaga’s mustachioed monster around the rim averages 19.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.3 apg and his hitting 67.2% of his 2-point shots. Four of our five postseason All-Americans were also on our preseason First Team. Timme is the exception. — Matt Norlander
CBS Sports All-America Second Team
Jared Butler | Baylor | 6-3 | Jr. | Guard
The leading scorer for a Baylor team that went undefeated through mid-February and is in the Final Four for the first time since 1950, Butler’s been the catalyst for everything the Bears do on offense. He averages a team-high 16.5 points per game and is hitting a career-best 40.4% from 3-point range on the No. 1 3-point shooting team in college basketball.
Jalen Suggs | Gonzaga | 6-4 | | Fr. | Guard
While he didn’t put up the statistical profile to match some of his freshmen counterparts, Jalen Suggs undoubtedly was one of the most impactful and steady newbies in college hoops this season. His rare blend of competitive drive, shot-making, defensive prowess and shot-creation helped power Gonzaga’s historic season to great heights and his own draft stock to No. 1 pick contention.
Davion Mitchell | Baylor | 6-2 | Jr. | Guard
As important as Butler has been to Baylor on offense is as important as Davion Mitchell has been to Baylor on defense. He’s the lead havoc-wreaker, posting a career-high 3.4% steal rate. He’s also emerged throughout the season as one of the most impossible-to-defend guards when he gets downhill.
Evan Mobley | USC |7-0 | Fr. | Forward
USC’s shot-swatting savant became the first player since Anthony Davis at Kentucky to make the clean sweep of conference honors, garnering Pac-12 Player of the Year, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year awards during a stellar 2020-21 season. Evan Mobley led all major conference players in shots blocked and helped the Trojans to their first Elite Eight in two decades, averaging 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game in one of the most complete freshman seasons of the modern era.
Kofi Cockburn | Illinois | 7-0 | So. | Center
Illinois won 15 of its final 17 games to end the season behind one of the best Illini teams in program history. That was a huge credit to Cockburn, the 7-foot physical post presence who perfectly complemented Ayo Dosunmu’s dazzle in the backcourt. Cockburn averaged 17.7 points and led the Big Ten in field goal percentage (65.5%) and rebounds per game (9.5). — Kyle Boone
CBS Sports All-America Third Team
Max Abmas | Oral Roberts | 6-1 | So. | Guard
The nation’s leading scorer made a name for himself in the NCAA Tournament by averaging 26.7 points during a memorable run for No. 15 seed Oral Roberts.
Quentin Grimes | Houston | 6-5 | Jr. | Guard
The AAC Player of the Year elevated his game as a junior, becoming the clear first scoring option and an improved defender for a Houston team that reached the Final Four.
Herb Jones | Alabama | 6-8 | Sr. | Guard/Forward
Herb Jones helped carry Alabama to the SEC regular season title and tournament title by doing a little bit of everything as the senior leader for a program on the rise.
Hunter Dickinson | Michigan | 7-1 | Fr. | Center
The 7-foot-1 freshman was better than advertised, averaging 14.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks for a Michigan team that started 18-1 and earned a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance.
Cameron Krutwig | Loyola Chicago | 6-9 | Sr. | Center
The MVC Player of the Year keyed another memorable run for Loyola Chicago by facilitating the offense through the post and serving as a senior leader for an excellent team. — David Cobb
Published: 2021-04-02 15:49:27
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