I've long believed All-America teams should consist of five players who could theoretically play together — meaning you need at least one lead guard and no more than two bigs. (Fill in the rest however you like.) But name, image and likeness rights becoming a reality for student-athletes at the same time NBA franchises no longer value traditional bigs has created a scenario where a lot of great college centers double as the sport's best returning players (and millionaires).
So never mind my previous rules.
Because the three best players returning to college basketball this season are all bigs — namely Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky), Drew Timme (Gonzaga) and Armando Bacot (North Carolina). It would be silly to vote any of them anything other than a First Team All-American. And the ballots from our voters reflected as much, which is why the three frontcourt stars — from three preseason top-five teams — represent 60% of the CBS Sports All-America First Team. Marcus Sasser (Houston) and Jamie Jaquez (UCLA) rounded out the First Team.
Our three All-America teams consist of 15 players from seven different leagues — the AAC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and WCC. Among power conferences, only the Big East lacks a representative. Timme is the lone repeat preseason First Team All-American. Hunter Dickinson (Michigan) and Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana) — two other established bigs at the Division I level — are preseason Second Team All-Americans for the second straight year. -- Gary Parrish
Note: The CBS Sports Preseason All-America Teams were voted on by college basketball writers at CBS Sports and 247Sports as well as broadcasters from CBS and CBS Sports Network.
2022-23 CBS Sports Preseason All-America First Team
Drew Timme | Gonzaga | F | 6-10 | Sr.
For the second consecutive season, Timme is a CBS Sports unanimous selection for preseason First Team All-America. Now in his fourth season, Timme might be the most recognizable face among any player in college basketball. The Gonzaga big man is coming off a junior campaign in which he averaged 18.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists for the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. With Chet Holmgren off to the NBA, Timme should see an increase in his production once more. He's building one of the biggest careers in recent college hoops history, and Gonzaga's national championship hopes ride in significant part on Timme's in-the-paint creativity and dominance. -- Matt Norlander
Oscar Tshiebwe | Kentucky | F | 6-9 | Sr.
The reigning National Player of the Year is the central force in Kentucky's chase for its first national title in more than a decade. Tshiebwe was the first Kentucky player in program history to sweep every major NPOY award, doing so by becoming the first player in more than four decades to average more than 15.0 points and 15.0 rebounds. Tshiebwe's line: 17.4 points, 15.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks on 60.6% shooting. Winning a national player of the year award in back-to-back seasons is a rarity. If Tshiebwe can do it, he'll be the first in men's basketball since Virginia's Ralph Sampson three-peated in the early '80s. -- MN
Armando Bacot | North Carolina | F/C | 6-11 | Sr.
Another no-brainer on our First Team. CBS Sports was one of only two major outlets to award Bacot as an end-of-season All-American in 2021-22 when he made our Third Team. A significant reason why was his elevated play in the NCAA Tournament. In guiding UNC to the title game, Bacot made history by becoming the first player in tournament history to have a double-double in six tournament games. He averaged 16.3 points, 13.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. His 31 double-doubles tied for the most in a season in NCAA history. Carolina will try to win a title with Bacot as its centerpiece. -- MN
Marcus Sasser | Houston | G | 6-2 | Sr.
Houston enters the season not only with its highest preseason hopes ever, but can also have a legitimate claim to boasting the best guard in the sport. Sasser is a two-way menace. As a 6-foot-2 combo guard, he averaged 17.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.2 steals for a Cougars team that could be even better than the 32-6 group from last season. Sasser shot 43.7% from 3-point range ... but he only played the first 12 games due to a broken foot. Now he's fully healthy and the expectation is he'll be the alpha on the most rugged team in college basketball. -- MN
Jaime Jaquez Jr. | UCLA | G/F | 6-7 | Sr.
Our voting for the final spot on our First Team was close, but Jaquez won out due to his expected value and statistical jump for a UCLA team that we've got favored to win the Pac-12. Jaquez averaged 13.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists for the Bruins last season. He and Tyger Campbell are UCLA's two returning starters, so expect Jaquez's stats to bloat as the Bruins try to maintain their reputation as a top 10-15 team in the country. Jaquez is a Bruin through and through, and like Sasser, he's now fully healthy after enduring injury a season ago. Jaquez is listed as a guard/forward, but in reality he's the best option to play the 2, 3 or 4 in college hoops. -- MN
2022-23 CBS Sports Preseason All-America Second Team
Trayce Jackson-Davis | Indiana | F | 6-9 | Sr.
Indiana finally made its way to the Big Dance last season for the first time since 2016 behind a banner year from Jackson-Davis, who posted career-highs in scoring, assists and blocks on a per-40 minute basis while shooting a career-high 58.9% from the field. With four returning starters for an IU team with lofty expectations, Jackson-Davis, who flirted with the NBA before opting to give it one more go, should enter the season as the preseason favorite to win Big Ten Player of the Year. -- Kyle Boone
Hunter Dickinson | Michigan | C | 7-1 | Jr.
While Michigan took a step back last season after a 23-5 campaign and just narrowly squeezed into the NCAA Tournament field, Dickinson was quietly sensational as a sophomore, finishing top five in the Big Ten in scoring, rebounding and blocks. Now in his third season, the burly big man enters 2022-23 as the leading returning scorer and rebounder in the Big Ten – a league loaded with talent in the frontcourt. -- KB
Kendric Davis | Memphis | G | 6-0 | R-Sr.
Fresh off a career year at SMU when he was the AAC Player of the Year, Davis heads to conference foe Memphis where he gives the Tigers and coach Penny Hardaway their first superstar point guard in years. After ranking dead last in turnover percentage each of the last three seasons, he provides not just a stabilizing force at point guard, but difference-making talent as a scorer and creator. -- KB
Caleb Love | North Carolina | G | 6-4 | Jr.
Love was a second-year supernova in the NCAA Tournament for North Carolina in its run all the way to the title game, scoring 30 in the Sweet 16 on UCLA and 28 in the Final Four vs. rival Duke. He remains the most microwaveable bucket-getter in the ACC entering his junior season and should continue to thrive for the Tar Heels playing in a more natural off-ball role next to backcourt mate RJ Davis. -- KB
Nick Smith | Arkansas | G | 6-5 | Fr.
Arkansas runs one of the most guard-friendly systems in the country with Eric Musselman, and Smith, the No. 1 recruit in the 2022 cycle, steps into arguably the biggest opportunity for any freshman in the sport. The team lost 87% of its scoring and 78% of its assists from last season's team that advanced to the Elite Eight. Smith should shoulder a significant load in both categories as he looks to push the Razorbacks to the top of the SEC. -- KB
2022-23 CBS Sports Preseason All-America Third Team
Purdue's towering center averaged 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.2. blocks last season and should only improve on those numbers while playing more minutes following the departure of Trevion Williams. -- David Cobb
Adam Flagler | Baylor | G | 6-3 | R-Sr.
Flagler played a key role off the bench for Baylor's national title team in 2021 and stepped into a starring role last season while averaging a team-high 13.8 points on 38.7% 3-point shooting. -- DC
Keyonte George | Baylor | G | 6-4 | Fr.
Ranked the No. 9 overall prospect in the Class of 2022, George should be one of the nation's most-productive freshmen as he steps into a Baylor rotation that is replacing James Akinjo, Kendall Brown, Jeremy Sochan and Matthew Mayer. -- DC
Mike Miles Jr. | TCU | G | 6-2 | Jr.
Miles is no longer flying under the national radar after helping TCU to its first NCAA Tournament victory since 1987. He is the Big 12's leading returning scorer and a big reason why the Horned Frogs are ranked No. 14 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll. -- DC
Dereck Lively II | Duke | C | 7-1 | Fr.
As the nation's No. 2 ranked freshman stepping into a Duke lineup that returns just one contributor, Lively will have an immediate chance to shine on the national stage amid the Blue Devils' coaching transition from Mike Krzyzewski to Jon Scheyer. -- DC