Memphis star Will Barton
Every team has one. From the NBA all the way down to biddy leagues all over America. The ball hog. The kid (or adult) who serves as a black hole for his team's offense. Everybody in the gym knows that once this player gets the ball, he's shooting it.
Some ball hogs are based on situation. A team has one star player who is forced to carry the load offensively, and has free reign from his coach to launch shots each and every game. Other times, teams stacked with talented players are ruined by a ball hog, and it causes negative discourse between teammates.
There are no shortage of ball hogs this season in college basketball, and here are the 15 who are most trigger happy with the basketball.
The 6'1" sophomore guard is enjoying a breakout season for the Maryland Terrapins. The southpaw is leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring at 21.3 points per game. While his game has grown tremendously from last season, his scoring numbers are also a byproduct of the Terps lack of offensive options.
The next leading scorer on the team is Sean Mosley at 10.1 points per game. Terrell Stoglin may be hogging the ball for Maryland, but he's doing it for two reasons. The first is that he's a tremendous scorer with an evolving game. The second reason is that in order keep his team out of the basement of the ACC standings, he must score as many baskets as possible, whether he is running point guard or shooting guard.
Marcus Denmon is having a spectacular season for the Missouri Tigers. Not only does he have his team in the hunt for a number one or two seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, but he is also on pace to become a 2012 consensus All-American.
The 6'3" senior is averaging 17.8 points per contest, leading a superb Tigers backcourt. He shoots a lot, but many players would do the same if they were as streaky a shooter as he is. When he is hot, he is capable of dropping 30+ points on any team in the nation. Look for at least a few outbursts from him in March Madness.
The Texas Longhorns are resting on the NCAA tournament bubble this season, and if it weren't for junior guard J'Covan Brown, they would be lucky to land an NIT bid. The 6'1" combo guard is having a breakout season and almost single-handedly keeping the Longhorns on the brink of March Madness, averaging 19.7 points per game.
While this year's Texas team lacks true scorers, Brown had trouble finding a shot he didn't like taking last year as well. You can expect him to do the same next year, provided he makes the smart decision and returns to school for his senior season.
The Pittsburgh Panthers are having an uncharacteristically dreary season with a 15-13 record. The leader of the Panthers is 6'2" combo guard Ashton Gibbs. He is the leading scorer of his club with a 15.8 point per game average.
He has always been a shoot-first guard, which has hindered his ability to make a full-time transition to point guard. He is shooting 34% from three-point range this season, which is much lower than what he was shooting last season. Though he is having a down senior year, he has the potential to make an NBA roster next season because of his scoring prowess.
The face of Oregon State basketball for the past three years, Jared Cunningham knows what it's like to have to carry the hopes and dreams of an entire team. The 6'4" shooting guard also knows what it's like to have to carry the scoring load for an entire team as well.
He is averaging 18.6 points per game this season for the Beavers, who are playing mediocre basketball in a down year for the Pac-12 Conference. He is one of the most electrifying athletes in the nation and will most likely test the NBA draft waters after this season.
Although Tu Holloway is the star of the Xavier offense, that hasn't stopped Mark Lyons from taking more than his fair share of shots for the Musketeers. The 6'1" junior is averaging 16.0 points per game for a team that has fallen apart ever since its rumble in a game with crosstown rival Cincinnati.
The shooting guard is trying his best to aid Holloway in helping resuscitate the once promising season for Xavier, but they seem to have never been able to fully recover from their reputation damaging incident.
Wendell McKines has got to be feeling pretty good about his performance so far in his senior season. The 6'7", 230 pound power forward is averaging 18.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game and enjoying one of the finer individual seasons in college basketball.
He also has led the New Mexico State Aggies to a successful season, with a 20-8 overall record in conference play. Although they trail prominent Western Athletic Conference power Nevada in the conference standings, they still have the potential to make the NCAA tournament by beating the Wolf Pack in the conference tournament.
The season may have started slowly with back-to-back losses to Illinois and Michigan State before the end of the calendar year, but the Gonzaga Bulldogs are once again on the brink of the NCAA tournament. One of the main reasons behind their resurgence this season is freshman Kevin Pangos.
The 6'1" point guard is leading the 'Zags in scoring at 13.4 points per game, and isn't shy about pulling the trigger on deep bombs at any time. In just the second game of his college career, he scored a career high 33 points, and in the process, took 13 three-point shots.
The leading scorer for the Florida Gators this season is 6'2" junior shooting guard Kenny Boynton. He is no stranger to being a focal point of his teams offense, which he has been for his entire career in Gainesville, as well as his high school days.
He is one of the most talented scorers in the country, and it shows with his 17.6 points per game average. However, he is the epitome of a streak shooter, one who is capable of either missing 10 shots in a row, or making 10 shots in a row.
John Jenkins might be the best shooter in the game of college basketball. If he isn't the best shooter, he at least has the prettiest release in the game. The 6'4" junior shooting guard averages 20.1 points per game for the Vanderbilt Commodores, and is known for pulling up for shots anywhere on the court.
Because of his ability to get hot at any time, Vanderbilt will be a trendy pick to surprise in the NCAA tournament by making a deep run. He forms a dangerous trio with small forward Jeffery Taylor and center Festus Ezeli.
One of the most charismatic players in college basketball this season is Mississippi State senior Dee Bost. The 6'2" senior point guard is the heart of the Bulldog team, and the offense runs through him. He averages 16.0 points per game and is never shy about taking shots, especially at the end of games.
The Bulldogs are on a late season slide at the moment, with four straight losses, but as long as they end the season with three straight wins against Alabama, South Carolina, and Arkansas, they should be getting an NCAA tournament invite.
Will Barton has been doing everything he can to help his struggling Memphis Tigers team live up to their preseason hype. The 6'6" sophomore shooting guard has shouldered the load of the team's offense, averaging 17.9 points per game, but it just hasn't been enough.
While the Conference USA power has an arsenal of talented players, they don't have the cohesiveness to finish out close games. The offense runs through Barton, who sometimes shows questionable shot selection. That being said, you can't blame him for trying his hardest to get his team back to March Madness.
The Long Beach State 49ers have been one of the best surprises in college basketball this season. They have tested their worth against some of the best teams in America, and have run the table in Big West conference play so far. Their star is undoubtedly Casper Ware.
The 5'10" senior point guard is a scoring point guard, and he is allowed by head coach Dan Monson to take the majority of shots in the backcourt for the 49ers. To date, he is averaging 17.3 points per game, and has every big school sweating out Selection Sunday, praying they don't draw LBSU in a first round game.
The main scoring threat in the Miami Hurricanes backcourt is without a doubt 6'1" senior combo guard Malcolm Grant. The former Villanova Wildcat has the natural scoring instincts of a New York City high school guard, like many that have come before him.
He is averaging 11.4 points per game for the Hurricanes, and is known for jacking up three-point shots at an alarming rate. Miami won't be making the NCAA tournament this season, but you can still catch this guard in the NIT before he closes out his career.
The St. John's Red Storm has had a rough 2011-2012 college basketball season. Their vaunted freshman recruiting class fell apart before the start of the season, while head coach Steve Lavin has battled prostate cancer.
Out of all of this darkness, however, emerged a future star in D'Angelo Harrison. The 6'3" freshman shooting guard leads the Red Storm in scoring at 16.9 points per game, and if he sticks around for the majority of his college eligibility, he could shatter many a record at St. John's.