With the 2005 portion of the season all but on the books, it's time to unveil the Scout.com "Early season" All-Americas and picks for the top coaching performances of November and December.
The lists were pared to 15 for the All-Americas and five for the coaches (each listed alphabetically), which took some doing.
The names missing from each of the lists are sure to infuriate more than the names on the lists please folks.
But, hey! It goes with the territory.
A look at Scout.com's early-season (2005 portion) All-Americas:
(statistics as of Dec. 30)
*Hassan Adams (6-4, Sr.,
Stats: 19.9 points/6.8 rebounds/2.5 assists/2.8 steals per game
Why he was selected: With
the loss of Salim Stoudamire and Channing Frye, the Wildcats
needed a dominant senior season out of
Stats: 18.6 ppg/4.4 rpg/2.2 apg
Why he was selected: Teammate Jordan Farmar came into the season with more national hype after earning Pac 10 Freshman of the Year honors in 2004-5. But Afflalo has clearly been the Bruins' most important cog on both ends of the floor while leading them to an 11-1 start and eight-game winning streak. Talk about efficiency: He has scored more than 20 points six times and hasn't taken more than 14 shots in a game.
Maurice Ager (6-5, Sr.,
Stats: 21.8 ppg/4.6 rpg/3.3 apg
Why he was selected: On the
short list for Big Ten Player of the Year candidates, Ager averaged 26 points in
the three games against the best teams (
LaMarcus Aldridge (6-10, So.,
Stats: 17.9 ppg/10.2 rpg/2.3 bpg
Why he was selected: The Longhorns took some national lumps as the
result of consecutive 31- and 17-point losses to Duke and
Dee Brown (5-11, Sr.,
Stats: 14.9 ppg/3.3 rpg/5.3 apg/1.5 spg
Why he was selected: The
only thing last season's Big Ten Player of the Year hasn't done exceptionally so
far as a senior is jump shoot from distance (.337 from behind the arc). His
leadership and defense are big reasons why the Illini are expected to be 14-0
Stats: 17.5 ppg/4.7 rpg/1.3 apg/1.7 spg
Why he was selected: He gets the edge over freshman teammate Shawne Williams based on his defense, especially when matched against Duke's J.J. Redick and Gonzaga's Adam Morrison. He is also one of the many Tigers capable of stretching defenses, with 15 3's while averaging 22.5 points over the past four games.
Paul Davis (6-10, Sr.,
Stats: 20.2 ppg/9.8 rpg/1.6 apg
Why he was selected: He was very good as a junior (12.3 ppg/8.0 rpg) but now can be conservatively called "exceptional". And, after performances the likes of 26 points and 13 rebounds against Gonzaga, no one is nit-picking him anymore. Another model of efficient scoring: He's shooting .632 from the field and .880 from the free-throw line.
Stats: 21.8 ppg/5.3 rpg/3.6 apg/1.3 spg
Why he was selected: He has emerged as a favorite to be the Big East Player of the Year going into conference play. He's also a prime reason why the John R. Wooden Award winner isn't necessarily going to be either J.J. Redick or Adam Morrison. He totaled 60 points in back to back wins over Oklahoma and Bucknell, and has increased his shooting percentages dramatically (83 percentage points overall, and 96 on 3's) over his junior season.
Why he was selected: Other
players are more readily deserving of a spot on the Top 15. But it wouldn't seem
right not having the most talented team – and maybe the best team, period –
represented. Gay has shown what he is fully capable of only in glimpses (vs.
Stats: 20.6 ppg/8.0 rpg/2.7 apg
Why he was selected: No newcomer is doing more for his team this season. And no player is doing more to help guarantee the likelihood that his coach will have the same job a year from now. The Auburn transfer sewed up a spot on the Top 15 with his performances against Duke (34 rebounds and 10 rebounds) and Kentucky (23 and 11).
Adam Morrison (6-8, Jr., Gonzaga)
Stats: 28.0 ppg/6.3 rpg/1.8 apg/1.4 spg
Why he was selected: Proved himself a viable contender for both
consensus first-team All-America and Player of the Year honors with his
performances in nationally televised games with national powers
J.J. Redick (6-4, Sr., Duke)
Stats: 24.7 ppg/1.8 rpg/2.1 apg
Why he was selected: If not for Adam Morrison's well-documented exploits, Redick would be far and away the leading contender for every major post-season honor, including the John R. Wooden Award (he was the runner-up to Andrew Bogut last spring). To illustrate how much more versatile a scorer he is as a senior, only 46 percent of his field goals have been 3-pointers, compared to at least 59 percent in each of his first three seasons.
Rajon Rondo (6-1, So., Kentucky)
Stats: 16.2 ppg/8.7 rpg/5.3 apg/1.9 spg
Why he was selected: Along with Dee Brown, he's clearly been the
class of the point guards in the first six weeks or so of the season. When has a
traditionally sized guard last rebounded so well? Fourteen of his 31 turnovers
have come in the team's losses to
Brandon Roy (6-5, Sr., Washington)
Stats: 17.7 ppg/4.7 rpg/4.0 apg/1.5 spg
Why he was selected: His status as top contender for Pac 10 Player
of the Year honors got a nice boost with his 35-point performance in the Huskies
Shelden Williams (6-8, Sr., Duke)
Stats: 18.3 ppg/9.3 rpg/3.8 bpg
Why he was selected: His rebounding numbers are off a tad from last season (11.2 per game) but his shooting percentages, both from the field and the free-throw line, have improved considerably. And he's also become a much better passer out of the post (he's had three or more assists in three of the past five games).
Just missed (honorable mention): Corey Brewer (6-7, So., Florida), Ronnie Brewer (6-7, Jr., Arkansas), Nick Fazekas (6-10, Jr., Nevada), Je'Kel Foster (6-3, Sr., Ohio State), Taj Gray (6-8, Sr., Oklahoma), Craig Smith (6-7, Sr., Boston College), Allan Ray (6-1, Sr., Villanova), Steven Smith (6-8, Sr., La Salle), Alando Tucker (6-5, Jr., Wisconsin) and Shawne Williams (6-8, Fr., Memphis).
Top Five Coaching Performances:
Jeff Bzdelik (Air Force):
Despite losing their best player,
two-time All-MWC post Nick Welch, for the season after ankle surgery in
October, the Falcons have won 11of their first 12 games. The only loss was by 11
Jay Wright (Villanova):
Anyone who wondered how the Wildcats would function without Curtis Sumpter had that question
answered by the team's 8-0 start. The last time a team had the kind of
collective guard play that Wright is getting, it
An April inductee into the USBWA
Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's national basketball expert and is
also a columnist for the