- Who made our midseason All-America first- and second-team? Duke's Zion Williamson leads the way, but there are plenty of honors to go around.
We're over two months into the college basketball season, with still two months to go before the start of what promises to be an exciting 2019 NCAA tournament. This year we've already been thrilled with several elite individual performances, from 50-point games to breakout efforts to sublime dunks. It's hard to narrow down the best of the best, but we asked our staff to each vote on 10 players worthy of midseason All-America honors, broken down into a first-team and second-team. The results are below, including those who merited an honorable mention at the bottom.
An asterisk (*) next to a player's name indicates that he was a unanimous first-team selection.
First-Team Midseason All America
Zion Williamson, Duke*: There wasn't a more-hyped player in college basketball heading into the season than Williamson, who has lived up to every bit of the massive expectations that were placed on him thanks to his unique talent and the high-flying dunks that made him an Internet sensation before he ever set foot in Durham. Williamson has generated headlines for everything from his recent 360 dunk against Clemson to a study that found drawing a charge from the 6'7", 285-pound Blue Devil is comparable to a head-on collision with a Jeep traveling 10 mph. His stats back up his legend, as Williamson is averaging 21.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 66% from the field and leads the country with a whopping 41.6 Player Efficiency Rating.
Grant Williams, Tennessee*: The Vols' undersized star was just a three-star recruit when he committed to Tennessee back in 2015, but under the guidance of Rick Barnes, he has blossomed into one of the country's best players. Williams, whose other talents include the ability to play a half-dozen instruments and tap-dancing, is a big reason why the Volunteers are harboring hopes of getting to the first Final Four in program history this April. The 6'7" forward is averaging 18.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.6 blocks and posting a kenpom.com offensive rating just a shade behind Williamson's, at 129.6. He's also drawing more fouls per 40 minutes than all but 12 other players in the country.
Markus Howard, Marquette: It's not every year that college basketball has a super-scorer like Howard, who has already posted games of 53, 45, 45 and 37 points this season, including a 40-point half in December. The Golden Eagles' talented 5'11" guard can light up the scoresheet at a moment's notice, which he's done while averaging 24.4 points and shooting 44% from three and 90% from the free throw line. Howard is also chipping in 4.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds for Marquette, which is looking to make a run at the Big East title this year.
Ja Morant, Murray State: If you're not familiar with Murray State's electric point guard, you're going to want to get up to speed. The 6'3" Morant has turned heads this year with his offensive ability (which includes being able to do this) while making his NBA lottery case, and he's averaging 23.1 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Racers, helping them climb into the top 50 on kenpom.com as they march toward what they hope will be an NCAA tournament appearance. Morant is far from just a scorer, however, topping the nation's assist leaderboard by a healthy margin at 10.7 per game (TCU’s Alex Robinson sits in second with 8.2 per game). He leads the nation in points produced per game, sitting just shy of 27.
Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech: The leap Culver has made in his sophomore year is one of the single-biggest reasons the Red Raiders have shown little drop-off from last season's Elite Eight squad. By far the biggest offensive threat on a defensive-minded team, the 6'5" guard has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders in Lubbock but has stepped up to average 18.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists, while raising his field goal percentage from 46% to 54%. He more than pulls his weight on the defensive end, as well, where he leads the nation (along with teammate Matt Mooney) with 1.8 defensive win shares, per sports-reference.com.
Second-Team Midseason All-America
Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga: The headliner on a Gonzaga team that is chock full of offensive weapons, Hachimura is another player who has made great strides as part of a breakout year. The Japan native played an instrumental role in the Bulldogs' Maui Invitational win over Duke and has been strong all season, averaging 20.8 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 61% inside the arc and even hitting the occasional three.
Dedric Lawson, Kansas: A former Memphis transfer, Lawson has been everything the Jayhawks were hoping for in his first season in Lawrence, leading the team in both points (19.2) and rebounds (10.6) and having an All-America-type year. Lawson's success has been an integral part of Kansas's season, and he's become even more important after the loss of center Udoka Azubuike for the year.
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin: Happ has been one of the most consistent players in college basketball across his four-year career, but he's having his best season yet as a senior. The glue of the Badgers is averaging a double double at 19.4 points and 10.4 rebounds, and he continues to take advantage of Wisconsin's strong shooters while facing double teams, collecting 4.6 assists per game. His 31.4% usage percentage is 10th nationally, per sports-reference.com.
Cassius Winston, Michigan State: Winston is the engine that makes the sixth-ranked Spartans go, ranking fifth nationally in assists with 7.4 and posting the sixth-best rate. He's also Michigan State's leading scorer at 17.6 points per game and is making 45% of his three-pointers, and has become even more invaluable of late after an injury to backcourt mate Joshua Langford.
R.J. Barrett, Duke: Zion Williamson may steal the show at Duke, but don't overlook the efforts of Barrett, who may not be as efficient as his eye-popping teammate but still plays an invaluable role for the Blue Devils. Barrett leads the team with 23.4 points per game—which is third nationally among freshmen—and adds 6.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists, and was an assist shy of a triple double earlier this week when Duke fell to Syracuse without fellow five-stars Tre Jones and Cam Reddish.
Carsen Edwards, Purdue; Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga; Ty Jerome, Virginia; Kyle Guy, Virginia; Shamorie Ponds, St. John's; Mike Daum, South Dakota State.