Gary Parrish managed to come through on yesterday’s assurance of atonement for picking Kentucky third in the all-time program rankings. Today, he released the CBS Sports Preseason All-American Team, and our very own John Wall took home the highest of preseason awards. Parrish had this to say about the decision to make Wall the Preseason POY despite his having yet to break one NCAA ankle:
John Wall is the CBSSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
And, yes, I know he hasn’t played a college game yet.
But that doesn’t matter.
Because preseason accolades should serve as a predictor of things to come, and what’s coming is an incredible season from the Kentucky freshman who will lead the Wildcats to the Final Four, at least. Thus, Wall gets the nod. So put him down as the early favorite to become the third freshman in four years to be named the CBSSports.com National Player of the Year, joining Kevin Durant (2007) and Michael Beasley (2008).
“He’s chasing it,” UK coach John Calipari said. “He’s absolutely chasing it.”
To expand on that point, Calipari talked about Wall being in the gym at 11 some nights, putting up shots with a manager and leading by example. And then there’s this: “John is picking this stuff up quicker than Derrick [Rose] and Tyreke [Evans) did; he’s more comfortable in it,” Calipari said. “Now he’s not all the way there yet, and there will be a learning curve. But he’s going to be one of the better players in the country, I would guess.”
The best, in fact.
And just to make clear what kind of talent we’re dealing with, understand that if Wall could’ve entered last June’s NBA Draft, some franchises would’ve debated whether to take him or Blake Griffin with the No. 1 overall pick. Assuming the Clippers still took Griffin, the Grizzlies would’ve selected Wall second. And if there were a way to deal Hasheem Thabeet (and his Twitter account) for the rights to Wall right now, I’m confident the Grizz would make that trade and celebrate appropriately.
The guy is that gifted.
And that’s why he highlights the CBSSports.com Preseason All-America team.
The rest of the first team includes Oklahoma guard Willie Warren, Wake Forest’s Konner Tucker Al-Farouq Aminu, Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody and Kansas’ Cole Aldrich.
Patrick Patterson lands on the second team, along with Kyle Singler of Duke, Sherron Collins of Kansas, and freshmen Derrick Favors of Georgia Tech and Avery Bradley of Texas. Demarcus Cousins was mentioned among those also receiving consideration.