It is no surprise that in their preseason player rankings, the folks at CBS Sports placed both Doug McDermott and Isaiah Canaan in their top 5, with Tony Mitchell just missing out at No. 7 - that should be expected, given everything we know about those players throughout their collegiate careers. However, the rest of the list leaves a bit to be desired.
First comes CJ McCollum of Lehigh. Can you really justify taking a player who is so good that "coaches told Brett Reed they’d gladly schedule his team again -- once McCollum was gone" and ranking him as the 17th best player in the country? I find that a little bit absurd.
There are players all over the middle of the rankings - Matthew Dellavedova, Adonis Thomas, Elias Harris, Ray McCallum and Joe Jackson all make appearances (Nos. 30, 33, 37, 50 and 67), but I think the commentary about Harris is overly-sensationalist at best:
I think Harris is a top-25 player, but it’s because I fell long ago and don’t know how to stop sending late-night text messages. I’m probably putting too much stock into Harris’ game at this point; he’s regressed, undeniably, from what we thought he’d be at the end of 2010.
I'm going to ignore that first sentence, because it's a very poor attempt at humor that has nothing to do with anything. Saying he has regressed from the end of his freshman year is an oversimplification. His junior year was an across the board improvement over his sophomore slump, just not quite back to his freshman level.
If he can continue that upward trend - past where he was as a freshman - then he is probably a borderline top-25 guy, but there's no reason to throw him under the bus like that.
The bottom third of the list finds our biggest cache of mid-major players: Nate Wolters (71), DJ Cooper (73), DeAndre Kane (75), Jackie Carmichael (79), Mike Muscala (80), Keith Clanton (82), (the currently injured) Will Cherry (88), Kevin Pangos (92), Damion Lee (95), Javon McCrea (97), and Frantz Massenat (100). There aren't a huge number of surprises here, but I'm really surprised that Pangos isn't at least ten spots higher, and both Muscala and McCrea include a description that says "these two should probably be 20-25 spots higher in the list." So why aren't they?
What about any notable snubs? I think it could easily be argued that South Alabama's Augustine Rubit, Princeton's Ian Hummer deserve not only to be on the list, but should be on it somewhere in the top half - Hummer had a season in 2011-12 that was possibly better than players like McDermott and Canaan.
Then there are guys like Belmont's Kerron Johnson, Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks at Davidson, and Julian Boyd and Jamaal Olasewere at LIU. Every one of them could argue for a spot somewhere on that list.
But I guess that's what lists are for, right?