Anthony Davis, John Henson and the 10 Best Shot-Blockers in Division I

Ethan BackCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2012

Anthony Davis, John Henson and the 10 Best Shot-Blockers in Division I

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    Anthony Davis may only be a freshman, but he has been a man amongst boys for the Kentucky Wildcats this season. He is averaging a double-double, to go along with 4.7 blocks per game, best in the nation. He has already won a game for Kentucky by blocking John Henson, another elite shot-blocker, in the final seconds of a 73-72 victory over North Carolina.

    Davis and Henson are just two of the nation's many elite shot blockers. Throughout the many conferences and regions of the country, there are plenty of tall, athletic players that just love to play defense.

    This love for defense shows up on the stat sheet in blocked shots, and the following 10 players are likely to show up on SportsCenter with highlight-worthy rejections.

Alec Brown (Green Bay)

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    Alec Brown, a 7'1" center for the Green Bay Phoenix, has incredible size and shot-blocking instincts, which may lead him to a few Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year awards, especially since he is only a sophomore.

    Brown is averaging 3.2 blocks per game, and recently turned away an incredible eleven shots in a one-point win against conference foe Wright State.

C.J. Aiken (Saint Joseph's)

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    While C.J. Aiken is undeniably skinny (190 pounds), that doesn't prevent his 6'9" self from being a force on the defensive end. He is blocking shots at an incredible rate this season (4.3 per game), up from 3.5 from a season ago when he was just a freshman.

    Aiken's offensive game has developed from just a year ago, and he could very well be one of the nation's top players by the time he leaves Saint Joseph's.

Jeff Withey (Kansas)

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    Jeff Withey has seen his role expand greatly this season for the Kansas Jayhawks, and the junior has definitely adjusted just fine. In just under 22 minutes per game, he is averaging 7.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and, most notably, 3.1 blocks per game.

    Withey blocked six shots in a win against in-state rival Kansas State, and he swatted seven shots against Iowa State in a nine-point win.

Gorgui Dieng (Louisville)

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    Gorgui Dieng is a nightly double-double threat for the Louisville Cardinals, having racked up seven already this season. I wouldn't be that surprised if he had a triple-double by the end of the season.

    Dieng flirted with a triple-double against St. John's, scoring 12 points, grabbing nine boards and blocking seven shots. He is averaging 3.3 blocks per game on the season.

Damian Eargle (Youngstown State)

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    Damian Eargle just may be the most athletic Penguin ever. He is a great shot-blocker and rebounder for Youngstown State, whose athletic teams are called the Penguins (the reason for which, I do not know).

    Eargle is averaging 4.2 blocks per game, and came close to achieving a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks against UC Riverside.

Fab Melo (Syracuse)

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    Fab Melo was universally declared to be a bust by the end of his freshman season, but he has been terrific on the defensive end for Syracuse this year.

    Melo is the anchor of the Orange's stifling defense, averaging 3.0 blocks per game in under 23 minutes of action. Syracuse is sitting pretty at 20-0, and much of that is due to the great play of the much-improved sophomore.

Kyle O'Quinn (Norfolk State)

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    Kyle O'Quinn is a double-double machine and a legitimate NBA prospect given his 6'10" frame, which has allowed him to block shots on a regular basis playing for Norfolk State.

    O'Quinn is averaging 3.1 blocks per game, and has blocked at least six shots on four occasions this season. His 14-5 Spartans look to be the team to beat in the MEAC, so we could very well see him in action come March.

William Mosley (Northwestern State)

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    William Mosley is a bit undersized for a center at 6'7", but his height hasn't prevented him from being one of the nation's top shot blockers ever since he became a Northwestern State Demon. In his freshman year, he averaged 2.5 blocks per game, increased that number to 3.4 as a sophomore, and he led the nation in blocks last season at 4.9 per game.

    During his junior campaign, Mosley blocked at least 10 shots in three games, and he is averaging 4.2 blocks per game this season.

John Henson (North Carolina)

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    John Henson has been an impressive shot blocker throughout his career at North Carolina, and he is the defensive anchor for the eighth-ranked Tar Heels. He is also much improved on the offensive end, but his biggest impact is blocking shots.

    Henson is averaging 3.0 blocks per game this season. If he can maintain that average, he will have averaged at least three blocks per game in back-to-back seasons. He blocked nine shots in the season-opener against Michigan State, and also swatted seven shots in just 21 minutes against Nicholls State.

Anthony Davis (Kentucky)

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    Anthony Davis has been incredible in his first year at Lexington, and he appears to be in line for many awards at the season's end. He is averaging 13.8 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game and an outstanding 4.7 blocks per game.

    Against Arkansas, Davis exploded for 27 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks. This was his second game with seven blocks in a 10-day span. He will likely be leaving for the NBA next season, but he could lead the Wildcats to glory with his shot blocking prowess before his collegiate career is finished.