March Madness 2012: Anthony Davis and 15 Great Stat-Stuffers in NCAA History

Chris CarsonContributor IMarch 19, 2012

March Madness 2012: Anthony Davis and 15 Great Stat-Stuffers in NCAA History

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    Anthony Davis, who just celebrated his 19th birthday this March, has already been called one of the greatest shot-blockers of all time.

    Not bad for a guy who's only just been able to buy tickets to R-rated movies.

    But he does more than that. The 6'10" center for the nation's top-ranked team and Final Four favorite Kentucky Wildcats also leads the squad in scoring and rebounding.

    With that sort of skill in the middle, it's championship or bust for Kentucky, who advanced to the Sweet 16 yesterday, where they will meet the Indiana Hoosiers.

    But is Davis really one of the best to play college basketball?

    This slideshow will look at some of the best stat-stuffing big men from the last 25 years of college hoops, and how each one fared in March.

    By the end, you can decide for yourself if Davis belongs in such talented company.

15) Andrew Bogut

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    If the Golden State Warriors are lucky, Andrew Bogut will play like he's back at the University of Utah.

    In two seasons as a Ute, Bogut averaged 16.6 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.

    But what Bogut did especially well for a seven-footer was pass, and he averaged 2.3 assists for his career.

    In 2004, as a freshman, Bogut's Utah lost to Boston College in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

    But the following year—his last of college hoops—he led Utah to the Sweet 16, where the Utes fell to the Kentucky Wildcats, led by former Golden State Warriors forward Kaleed Azubuike.

    Bogut left college an All-American, a Naismith award winner and an example of how big men can translate guard skills to the post.

14) Donyell Marshall

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    Does Donyell Marshall count as a big?

    At 6'9" and over 200 pounds, his size would suggest so, but his game may have been more suited to the perimeter.

    In his three years as a UConn Huskie, Marshall shot a competent 30.6 percent from behind the three-point arc and grabbed 1.3 steals per game.

    In the minds of Huskies faithful, however, Marshall will be remembered for his scoring ability and his athleticism.

    Marshall combined an 18.1 points-per-game average with 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks.

    In three years, Marshall made two appearances in the NCAA tournament, leading the Huskies to the Sweet 16 in 1994.

13) Kenneth Faried

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    Kenneth Faried's story is the one all tournament underdogs want to live.

    An unknown as the 2011 NCAA Tournament began, the rock-solid Faired led his Morehead State Eagles past the fourth-seeded Louisville Cardinals, placing himself in the first round of the NBA draft.

    But Faried didn't come out of nowhere.

    For his career, he averaged a double-double, 14.8 points and 12.3 rebounds while shooting 56.9 percent from the field.

    He could play D, too, averaging 1.8 blocks and 1.7 steals per game.

12) Troy Murphy

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    Some of you may be surprised to see Notre Dame's Troy Murphy on this list, but in truth, the 6'11" Morristown native is one of the best forwards to ever play in the Big East.

    Twice named league Player of The Year and once a First Team All-American, Murphy scored 21.4 points per game and grabbed 9.8 rebounds for his career.

    He was an all-around stat-stuffer, even averaging 1.7 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals.

    Not much of a dancer, though.

    In Murphy's three years with the Irish, they made the NCAA tournament only once, losing in the second round.

11) Billy Owens

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    Another Big East great, Billy Owens may be one of the more versatile bigs on this list.

    From 1988 to 1991, Owens averaged a full sheet—17.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 51 percent from the field.

    That was good enough to be named a First Team All-American in 1991.

    What else would you expect from a former McDonald's All-American?

    Owens took the Syracuse Orangemen to the NCAA tournament three times, with one appearance in the Elite Eight and one appearance in the Sweet 16.

    In his final year, however, the No. 2 seed Syracuse was upset by Richmond in the first round.

10) Derrick Coleman

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    Billy Owens' former teammate will be remembered as the symbol for wasted talent.

    That is, if you measure talent by success in the NBA.

    If you take NCAA accomplishments into account, Derrick Coleman is one of the best.

    The 6'10" forward could do it all—15 points a game, 10.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.3 blocks, 1.3 steals, shooting 56.8 percent from the field, and he could even knock down a three or two.

    Coleman was named an NCAA All-American and was a part of the 1987 Orangemen who made it to the National Championship game.

9) Blake Griffin

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    Once, when Blake Griffin was at Oklahoma, he hit his head off of the backboard.

    A prophetic image of the highlights that would come to the NBA.

    With all the spectacular dunks, however, it's easy to forget that Griffin is an all-around ball player.

    In a Sooner uniform, he averaged 18.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.1 steals while shooting over 60 percent from the field.

    In 2009, Griffin led Oklahoma to the Elite Eight, where they lost to the eventual national champion North Carolina Tar Heels.

8) David West

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    Xavier's David West could be considered the offspring of Derrick Coleman, and not because they look alike with their muscular build and bald heads.

    West had that Coleman-like mix of power and grace that makes a great post player.

    As a result, the two players have an almost identical stat line.

    In four years as a Musketeer, West averaged 16.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.4 steals.

    West also had the ability to step out and knock down the three, connecting on 32.7 percent of his attempts from long range.

    West went to the NCAA tournament in each of his four years at Xavier, but they didn't do much—until his senior year, when he led his team to the Elite Eight.

7) Chris Webber

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    In the 1993 NCAA Championship game against the North Carolina Tar Heels, Chris Webber called that now-famous timeout, unaware that that moment would go on to symbolize the success of Michigan's Fab Five.

    So talented, got so close, but in two consecutive trips to the title game, they just couldn't seem to win it all.

    Championship banner or not, there is no denying Chris Webber's talent.

    In those two years, he averaged 17.4 points, 10 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.4 steals while shooting nearly 60 percent from the field.

    No wonder he was the first pick in the 1993 NBA draft.

6) Glen Robinson

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    Okay, maybe the Big Dog doesn't exactly count as a big, but it's worth having him on the list just to remind everyone how hard his bite was.

    In two years at Purdue, Glenn Robinson was one of the nation's best scorers, averaging 27.5 points per game while shooting 38.5 percent from three.

    Robinson also averaged 9.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.8 steals—good enough to be named National Player of The Year in 1994.

    That same year, he led the Boilermakers to the Elite Eight.

5) Tim Duncan

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    Back when The Big Fundamental was slightly smaller in size, his game was still enormous.

    From 1993 to 1997, Tim Duncan averaged 16.5 points and 12.3 rebounds for Wake Forest, making him one of the best big men to ever play college basketball.

    Duncan could do a bit of everything, also averaging 2.3 assists and 3.8 blocks while shooting 32.1 percent from the three.

    Duncan brought Wake Forest to the NCAA tournament four years in a row but never went further than the Elite Eight in 1996.

    If Anthony Davis develops as many expect, he could pick up the mantle as the Little Big Fundamental as Duncan moves closer to retirement.

4) Joe Smith

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    In most conversations about the best post players in NCAA history, Maryland's power forward Joe Smith is usually absent.

    But in the last 25 years, few could do more than Smith.

    Over two years, Smith averaged 20.2 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.9 blocks and 1.5 steals, and he shot 42.3 percent from beyond the arc.

    In his freshman season, Smith helped bring the 10-seeded Terrapins to the Sweet 16. The following season saw the same results.

    That year, 1995, Smith was named a First Team All-American.

3) Michael Beasley

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    In just a single year at Kansas State, Michael Beasley did more than most do in four years.

    The left-handed double-double machine averaged 26.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals. He shot 53.2 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from three-point land.

    That was good enough to be named National Freshman of the Year and a First Team All-American.

    In the 2008 NCAA tournament, Kansas State was given an 11 seed and upset the sixth-seeded USC but lost in the second round to Wisconsin.

2) Larry Johnson

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    When you look at the numbers Larry Johnson put up at UNLV, it's hard to imagine why he was a junior college transfer.

    How could he have slipped through the cracks during recruiting? Especially as a McDonald's All-American.

    In his two seasons as a Running Rebel, Johnson averaged 21.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals while shooting 64.3 percent from the field and 35 percent from three.

    In 1991, Johnson won almost every award from First Team All-American to National Player of The Year.

    But it was 1990 that remains the highlight season, as Johnson led UNLV to their first National Championship.

1) Shaquille O' Neal

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    Has there ever been a more fitting moniker for someone in the history of sports than Shaquille O'Neal?

    Two syllables, the hard Q in the middle—it's a solid, powerful name, like the way Shaq plays.

    He played three seasons at Louisiana State and was twice named an All-American.

    His numbers were 21.6 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 4.5 blocks and 1.2 steals with a 61.0 field-goal percentage, making him the top stat-stuffer in the last 25 years.

    In the NCAA tournament, however, Shaq and LSU didn't do much, never advancing past the second round in his three years.

    So how does Davis measure up? Voice your view in the comment box.