With only a quarter of the 2016-17 regular season in college basketball remaining, some players have jumped in front of the pack in terms of skill and performance. Whether these stars are dominating on an underdog mid-major team or dazzling as the face of a powerhouse program, great players have made their names known this year. If the season ended today, which five players would make the All-America first team?
1. Frank Mason III
As the undisputed leader of one of the best teams in the country, Frank Mason III is one of the best players in college basketball. The Kansas senior averages 19.9 points per game for a team that is currently ranked #2 in the nation. Mason has steadily increased his scoring average in each of his four seasons in college, culminating in his Big 12-leading output in 2017. Mason doesn’t just put up big scoring numbers; he scores efficiently. The super senior is shooting over 50% from the field while posting a 74% average from the free-throw stripe. In addition to his scoring, Mason averages 5.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Beyond the numbers, Mason’s leadership and grit put him among college basketball’s elite.
2. Malik Monk
John Calipari has become synonymous with the term “one and done.” That’s because the Kentucky coach has fostered an absurd amount of NBA-ready freshmen that declare for the draft after one season of college basketball. Even with the rich history of stud freshmen at Kentucky, Malik Monk stands out. The freshman is averaging 21.9 points per game while shooting almost 50% from the floor. In addition, Monk averages 2.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game.
3. Marcus Keene
In order to receive national attention while playing for a mid-major program, you have to post eye-popping numbers. That’s exactly what Central Michigan’s Marcus Keene has done this season. The junior averages 29.8 points per game while posting a 39% three-point percentage. Keene has also scored 40 or more points four times this season, making him the third player in the past ten years to do so in a season.
4. Josh Hart
As the defending national champion, Villanova has felt significant pressure to return to another Final Four. The Wildcats’ Josh Hart is making that goal a possibility. The senior from Maryland is averaging 19 points per game while shooting 54% from the field. Hart also averages 6.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
Washington’s season has been a disaster thus far. The Huskies have gone 9-11 overall while posting a 2-6 record in conference play. Even on a bad team, Markelle Fultz has shined. The freshman has averaged 23.7 points per game in what will most likely be his only season of college basketball. Fultz has shot a sterling 42% from the three-point line while dishing out 6.2 assists per game.