The Associated Press announced it’s All-America team for the 2010-11 College Basketball season on Monday. Overall, I have to give the voters a solid golf clap as they did a pretty good job. The first and second teams are listed below:
- Nolan Smith, G, Duke
- Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
- Kemba Walker, G, Connecticut
- JaJuan Johnson, C, Purdue
- Jared Sullinger, C, Ohio State
- Ben Hansbrough, G, Notre Dame
- Jordan Taylor, G, Wisconsin
- Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State
- Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
- Marcus Morris, F, Kansas
There’s really not much room for argument with the first team. The three guards were exceptional all season, and though Hansbrough had a phenomenal year, Smith, Walker and Fredette were on another level. JaJuan Johnson was probably the best big man in the nation this year, so his spot is certainly justified. That leaves us with one question mark, Ohio State C Jared Sullinger. Make no mistake, Sullinger had a very good year, especially for a freshman. But in my opinion this is a clear case of the often cited, but rarely proven, “East Coast Bias”.
In my opinion, and this is exactly that, my opinion, Derrick Williams was clearly a better player than Sullinger this year. To start, let’s take a look at the stat lines:
Sullinger: 17.2 PPG, 54.1 FG%, 70.4 FT%, 10.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, .5 BPG, 1.6 TOPG
Williams: 19.5 PPG, 59.5 FG%, 74.6 FT%, 56.8 3PT%, 8.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, .7 BPG, 2.6 TOPG
I didn’t even bother listing Sullinger’s three-point shooting percentage as it’s pretty much irrelevant. And no, that’s not a typo, Williams shot nearly 57% from three-point range for the season. He scored more points, in a more efficient manner, while doing just as much to fill the rest of the stat sheet. He also had far less talent on his team in terms of a supporting cast than Sullinger did. Yes, some of his teammates, namely G Lamont “MoMo” Jones and F Solomon Hill, stepped up in the tournament, but Williams was largely a one-man show for the majority of the season. Williams also attempted the most free throws of any player in college basketball this year. That should tell you something.
But even completely ignoring the stat sheet and going by the “eye test”, there is no way anyone could have watched these two players this season and said that Sullinger was the better player. No way. Williams was the most talented player on the court in every game he played this season including clashes with Fredette’s BYU Cougars, Walker’s UConn Huskies and Smith’s Duke Blue Devils. That’s high praise, maybe even foolhardy praise in the eyes of some, but it’s true. The guy is a chiseled 6’8”, 240 lbs with rediculous athleticism and the handle and shooting ability of a guard. The only possible explanation is that people, and more specifically these voters, didn’t watch Williams play.
I normally don’t buy into the “East Coast Bias” theory, but in this case I think it certainly applies. Williams was robbed of an award that he certainly earned because these people couldn’t be bothered to watch basketball games that were played west of the Mississippi River. Don’t worry though Derrick, there’s a good chance you are going to be the first overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft. And that my friends is something Sullinger is never going to be.