The Associated Press recently released their Men’s Basketball Preseason All-America Team and while the WCC didn’t make the prestigious list, a couple of the conference’s best did come close. Both Tyler Haws of BYU and Kevin Pangos of Gonzaga were listed as receiving votes for the team.
Most of the attention on the team has been towards Jahlil Okafor of Duke. The #1 overall recruit in this freshman class, Okafor became the third freshman in the past five years to be named an AP Preseason All-American. The rest of the team was all juniors and seniors highlighted by leading vote-getter Marcus Paige of North Carolina.
March 10, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Tyler Haws (3) shoots against the San Francisco Dons during the second half in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
It’s no knock on the WCC that none of their players made the team. To have the top player in the entire country at a position is not easy, especially for a mid-major conference. That being said, it’s a testament to the WCC that they had two players receiving votes for the team. Both Haws and Pangos could be among the best guards in the country this year. Even if they aren’t the single best player at their positions they are among the elite.
Haws in particular probably got a of consideration from voters. He has a lot of eyes on him after his high-scoring season last year. He’s one of the top returning scorers in college basketball, and many people like his chances to lead the nation in scoring and be a contender for National Player of the Year. He could very well end up on the actual All-America Team at the end of the season.
Pangos on the other hand isn’t going to put up flashy stats that will lead the nation, but the fact that he got votes too says a lot about how he and Gonzaga are viewed on the national stage. People recognize that Gonzaga has a very good team and that Pangos ties them together with his ability to do everything well. He is every bit an elite guard an team leader because of the way he contributes in a variety of ways. Nice to see voters recognizing that as guys with huge stat numbers normally get the national recognition.