Only one CBS Sports first-team, second-team or third-team All-American from last season will be playing college basketball this season. That’s a result of nine of the players honored entering the 2020 NBA Draft early (Obi Toppin, Devon Dotson, Vernon Carey, Malachi Flynn, Filip Petrusev, Immanuel Quickley, Jalen Smith, Tre Jones, Daniel Oturo) and five others exhausting their eligibility (Markus Howard, Payton Pritchard, Udoka Azubuike, Myles Powell, Cassius Winston).
Iowa’s Luka Garza is the lone returning All-American.
So this season should mostly be headlined by fresh faces, as is usually the case in college basketball. No other mainstream American sport endures such talent turnover, year after year. It’s an unfortunate (but acceptable) byproduct of the players being able to enter the draft whenever they like, which isn’t the case for college football and college baseball players. As the saying goes, it is what it is.
Either way, new stars will emerge; they always do. And the following is our best guess at who those stars might be. The 15 players listed as 2020-21 CBS Sports Preseason All-Americans are a result of ballots submitted by our panel of writers and analysts. The 15 players listed as 2020-21 CBS Sports Preseason All-Americans come from six different leagues — three each from the Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East, two each from the Pac-12 and ACC, and one each from the SEC and WCC.
Note: The CBS Sports Preseason All-America Teams were voted on by college basketball writers at CBSSports.com and 247Sports as well as broadcasters and analysts from CBS and CBS Sports Network.
CBS Sports Preseason All-America First Team Jared Butler | Baylor | 6-3 | Jr. | Guard
Butler is the best player on one of the two or three best teams in college basketball. Butler led Baylor in scoring last season (16.0 ppg) in addition to providing 3.2 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 1.6 steals per game. He’s an opportunistic shooting guard who should be among the most consistent power-conference players we’ll see this season. Baylor has a really good roster, but its potential starts with Butler’s playmaking.
Luka Garza | Iowa | 6-11 | Sr. | Center
There can be no doubt. Of the 15 players who made CBS Sports’ First, Second and Third All-America teams at the end of the 2019-20 season, Garza is the only returnee to college basketball. The Iowa center has his team in position to be top 10 in college hoops and has the potential to average 24 points and 12 rebounds on one of the best offenses in college basketball. If he is better than last season, it’s hard to see how he’s not the best player in America.
Ayo Dosunmu | Illinois | 6-5 | Jr. | Guard
There were very few surprising stay-or-go decisions that went the way of the former, but Dosunmu opting to return to campus to give Illinois its best outlook in a decade-plus might be the best. The heady, athletic, fearless lead guard has Illini fans dreaming of a Final Four. Dosunmu averaged 16.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 2019-20. All those numbers should climb. Alongside Kofi Cockburn, this has the potential for a special season in Champaign.
Cade Cunningham | Oklahoma State | 6-8 | Fr. | Guard
The projected No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Cunningham is going to inject optimism into the Oklahoma State program because he’s a wonderful blend of size, smarts, strength, maturity and expert decision-making. He’s a power point guard and could turn an otherwise just-OK Cowboys team into one of the 40 best squads in the sport. Would rank high on the short list of must-see college basketball players.
Corey Kispert | Gonzaga | 6-7 | Sr. | Forward
Kispert is listed as a small forward but he can do more than that for the Zags, who will look to recapture last season’s dominance on the way to, ideally, a No. 1 seed. Kispert would have likely been drafted in the second round had he stayed in the NBA pool. Instead, he returns to Mark Few’s program and is poised to average close to 20 points. Kispert’s a high-level 3-point shooting (43.8%) and should thrive in a go-go-go Gonzaga O. — Matt Norlander
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CBS Sports Preseason All-America Second Team Marcus Zegarowski | Creighton | 6-2 | Jr. | Guard
Creighton lost its top scorer from last season, Ty-Shon Alexander, to the NBA Draft. Now an opportunity awaits its top returning scorer in Marcus Zegarowski who last season averaged 16.1 points and 5.0 assists per game for the Bluejays in a starring role alongside Alexander. He’s an electric scorer and playmaker who enters the season as the unquestioned No. 1 on a Creighton squad with top-10 potential this season.
Remy Martin | Arizona State | 6-0 | Sr. | Guard
The top returning scorer in the Pac-12 and a reigning All-Pac 12 First-Teamer, Remy Martin’s task as a senior is to lead the charge of an Arizona State team capable of winning the league under Bobby Hurley. He has plenty of weapons to do it, too, with co-star Alonzo Verge Jr. returning and five-freshman Joshua Christopher joining the mix. He’s the best and most dynamic offensive weapon out west.
Collin Gillespie | Villanova | 6-3 | Jr. | Guard
Jay Wright’s system sets up guards for success, and Collin Gillespie is next in line to make a star turn in Philly after the Wildcats lost Saddiq Bey early to the NBA Draft. Gillespie is in his fourth season with Villanova and is coming off his best season yet after averaging 15.1 points and 4.5 assists per game. With most of the team’s core returning and Bey, the team’s leading scorer, pursuing a pro career, Gillespie just by volume should see more opportunities coming his way.
Trayce Jackson-Davis | Indiana | 6-9 | So. | Forward
Last season Jackson-Davis led all freshmen in the Big Ten in scoring, blocks and PER. Now, as a sophomore, he figures to again stand out as the featured player on IU. One of the most technically sound and reliable producers in the Big Ten should be back and better than we last saw him.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl | Villanova | 6-9 | So. | Forward
The frontcourt anchor for Villanova last season, Robinson-Earl earned Big East Freshman of the Year and was named a unanimous selection to the Big East All-Freshman Team, averaging 10.5 points and 9.4 boards per game. He’s a walking double-double whose role and production expanded as the season went along, and we’re expecting he’s locked into that position and should see an uptick in both in Year 2. — Kyle Boone
CBS Sports Preseason All-America Third Team Marcus Garrett | Kansas | 6-5 | Sr. | Guard
The defending Naismith Defensive Player of The Year is likely to become an offensive focal point as a senior for a Jayhawks team replacing leading scorers Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike.
Garrison Brooks | North Carolina | 6-10 | Sr. | Forward
A six-man recruiting class ranked No. 2 in the county has arrived to lighten Brooks’ burden, but the Tar Heels will still rely heavily on Brooks for scoring and leadership.
Sam Hauser | Virginia | 6-8 | R-Sr. | Forward
The Marquette transfer is a career 44.5% 3-point shooter and will provide immediate help for a Virginia team that struggled from beyond the arc season.
Evan Mobley | USC | 7-0 | Fr. | Forward
The No. 3 overall player in the 2020 recruiting class is projected to be a one-and-done star in the Pac-12 as he replaces Onyeka Okongwu in the post for the Trojans.
BJ Boston | Kentucky | 6-7 | Fr. | Guard
The highest-rated prospect in Kentucky’s vaunted freshman class, Boston will be immediately charged with producing at a high level. — David Cobb