Kansas basketball could have zero All-Americans in the 2015-16 season. …Or they could have a few.
Junior guard Wayne Selden was named a preseason second-team All-American by Sporting News, while senior forward Perry Ellis was left off. Both choices are surprising, especially given each players track record. Ellis was clearly KU’s best player last season and has been consistently productive during his time at KU, and now has a chance to become one of top scorers in the history of Kansas basketball. Selden on the other hand… we’ve all been hurt enough to know where this is going.
I didn’t believe in Selden in July, and nothing has really changed since then. During the World University Games, Selden was giving everyone a reason to believe in him again. His play was outstanding, just like it was when he was named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team… right before he disappeared in the NCAA Tournament. There’s not enough there for me to say he’s one of the three best players on the team, much less one of the ten best players in college basketball. I don’t believe that Selden could have legitimately improved that much in such a short amount of time.
The two players on the Jayhawks that should be considered for All-American recognition are Perry Ellis and Frank Mason III. Ellis and Mason were far and away the best players on KU’s squad. Ellis was a steady scoring presence for a team that desperately needed consistency, and Mason became arguably one of the best guards in the nation.
Ellis averaged 13.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season, and his numbers are as close to screaming ‘THIRD-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN” as it gets. He’s going to quietly put up a line somewhere around 16-and-8 every game and be the consistent player we’ve come to know. Ellis will have the best shot at an All-American nod this season.
I have a ton of confidence in Ellis being named an All-American this year. Mason’s situation is a little trickier. The guard position is much deeper and therefore would be harder to stand out as an elite player at that position. Another factor going against him is, if a poll was taken asking if Kansas fans would consider Mason underrated, I’m willing to bet that a majority would answer “yes.” Mason doesn’t get the hype that a player of his caliber should, and that might hurt him when it comes to awards like this. With that being said, Mason will most likely be the best player this season on a KU team that Sporting News ranked as their preseason #1, and that could be more than enough to give him a real shot at being an All-American.
It’s not crazy to think Wayne Selden could be the top-10 player this season that would gain All-American honors. It’s also not very realistic. The jump Selden would have to make to become that caliber of player would be unprecedented, not just for him, but for almost any player under Bill Self’s time at KU. Perry Ellis and Frank Mason will probably be KU’s leading scorer and best player respectively, so they have a much better shot of making an All-American team. But I wouldn’t be too mad if Selden proved me wrong.
How many All-Americans will Kansas have this season? Leave your responses in the comments or tweet them @RockChalkBlog on Twitter.