Dare to Dream: College Basketball’s Dream Team
If the rules of amateurism still applied to Olympic basketball, which current college players would be representing the U.S. in London this summer? We present our college version of USA's "Dream Team."
1st Team: Aaron Craft, Ohio State
Any collection of all-stars needs a lockdown perimeter defender and a distributor. Craft is both, averaging nearly five assists and over two steals per game as OSU's point guard. And every team needs a heady player like Craft, who carries a 3.89 GPA.
2nd Team: Trey Burke, Michigan
Craft’s backup is his biggest competition for the unofficial title of “Best Big Ten Point Guard.” The Columbus, Ohio, native (go figure) led Michigan to a share of its first Big Ten regular-season title in over 26 years. By opting to return rather than test the NBA waters, he makes the Wolverines a Final Four contender after averaging 14.8 PPG and 4.6 APG last season.
Photo Credit: Richard Mackson/US Presswire
1st Team: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
The lights shine bright at the Olympic stage, and a player can’t be afraid to take the big shot. McCollum’s 30-point performance in Lehigh’s upset of Duke in the Big Dance qualifies him for that distinction. Averaging 21.9 PPG, McCollum can light it up at a moment's notice. And as a talented writer, he can blog/tweet about the Dream Team’s experience first-hand.
2nd Team: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State
It speaks to the widespread depth of college hoops that our two shooting guards are both mid-major players. The three inches Canaan gives up to McCollum gives the latter the starting nod. Like McCollum, Canaan isn’t afraid to shoot (6.5 attempted 3s/game). And he hits them at a 45.6% clip. The Murray State star would be a lethal 3-point threat all teams need.
Photo Credit: Bob Donnan/US Presswire
1st Team: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
In the jump-shot dependent international game, having a slasher with Muhammad’s ability can be the difference. As an incoming freshman, he’s already The Big Lead’s No. 2 player for the 2012–13 season. If he gets anywhere near the rim, he is hard to stop. Look to his high-flying antics from the dunk contest at the 2012 McDonald’s All-American game - or his game-high 21 points in the game itself - as proof.
2nd Team: DeShaun Thomas, Ohio State
Jared Sullinger was the focal point of the Ohio State offense the past two years, but Thomas emerged late last season as the team’s (and one of the country’s) best inside-outside threat(s). He can drive by his man or light it up from outside. And his southpaw game would make him a tough assignment for anyone assigned to guard him.
Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock/US Presswire
1st Team: Cody Zeller, Indiana
The Hoosiers sophomore is the most complete player in the country. The idea that he can improve from 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and 62.3% FG is positively scary. What isn’t scary: The possibility of Zeller’s brothers, Luke and Tyler, and their very attractive significant others being in attendance.
2nd Team: Doug McDermott, Creighton
If you put McDermott in the jersey of a European country, his game would make him blend right in. The Creighton star has a Swiss army knife full moves inside and out. He also has international experience, having been a key cog for the U.S. at the FIBA Under-19 World Championships in 2011. With McDermott averaging 22.9 PPG last season, Team USA would be stacked at power forward with these two down low.
Photo Credit: Richard Mackson/US Presswire
1st Team: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Yup, another incoming freshman in our starting lineup. But when your shot-blocking is so omnipotent that you’re compared to Bill Russell, you get special treatment. He would limit Olympic opponents to jump shots, and on offense he wouldn’t demand touches, keeping the team offense free-flowing. If Noel is really "Anthony Davis 2.0," he could have been a man-child among men in London.
2nd Team: Jeff Withey, Kansas
Fun trivia question: Which center set the all-time NCAA record for blocks in a tournament last year? If you answered Anthony Davis, you’re wrong. Withey (31) finished with two blocks more than Davis (29). And his background as a beach volleyball player growing up in San Diego allows him to jump all day without ever getting tired. Also a great rebounder, Withey is poised for a monster senior year in Lawrence.
Photo Credit: Mark L. Baer/US Presswire
James Michael McAdoo, F, North Carolina: With Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes now in the NBA, McAdoo is UNC’s clear “It Guy” for 2012–13. Tar Heel fans are already looking forward to the increased opportunities for him to convert more spirit-crushing slam dunks against Duke. Not to mention building on the legacy of his distant relative (and UNC legend) Bob McAdoo. If you saw James play last March in the Big Dance, you know he's about to blow up.
Nate Wolters, PG, South Dakota State: You can’t have too many good point guards in an international tournament. Wolters is a gifted scorer (21.2 points/game last year) and can also distribute (5.9 assists/game) and has good size at 6-foot-4. His ability to get hot and score in bunches would make him Team USA’s microwave off the deep bench when needed.
Photo Credit: Paul Abell/US Presswire
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