7 Under-the-Radar Scorers Set to Explode on College Basketball Scene in 2012
College basketball season is just around the corner, and there is plenty to be excited about.
Big names like Shabazz Muhammad, Cody Zeller, Nerlens Noel and Doug McDermott are discussed constantly, but there are a number of less-heralded players who should put up big numbers and create some buzz of their own this season.
For one reason or another, these talented players have flown a bit under the radar in past years, but each has the capability to break out and become a household name this fall.
Here are seven under-the-radar scorers who are set to explode on the scene this season.
Michael Dixon, Jr.
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Dixon gets his chance to shine as a starter after serving as the sixth man last year. He's undersized at 6'1", but is impossible to contain when he has the ball.
The explosive senior has a deadly first step and is Mizzou's career leader in free-throw percentage. He's a very efficient scorer as well, shooting 48.7 percent from the field last year.
Dixon will benefit greatly from playing alongside one of the best point guards in the nation, Phil Pressey. Pressey is a great passer who pushes the ball and should complement Dixon's quick pace.
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As a senior, Johnson comes back for his final year at Kansas as the teams' leading returning scorer. The combo guard will be counted on to be the leader of the Jayhawks.
Johnson is an incredibly gifted physical talent with exceptional agility and jumping ability. For a 6'2" guard, he finishes very strong at the rim.
He can be inconsistent at times and has an average jump shot, but who knows what he can accomplish as the focal point of Kansas' attack.
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He made the decision to play for his father at mid-major Detroit, so McCallum doesn't get the recognition he deserves. But the junior from Beverly Hills, Michigan can flat out play.
A 6'2" guard, McCallum averaged 15.4 points and 4.0 assists last season. He led Detroit to its first NCAA tournament berth since 1999, and will be looking to get them back to the Big Dance next March.
He's a natural leader, can score from anywhere inside the three-point line and has a high basketball IQ. Don't be surprised if McCallum helps Detroit upset a title contender if the Titans get back to the tournament.
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Harrison averaged 16.8 points per game last season, which is no small feat as a freshman in the Big East.
Harrison is a dynamic scorer who can pull up from beyond the arc or take the ball to the basket. He plays as a combo guard, similar to Elijah Johnson and Ray McCallum, and can distribute if needed.
Harrison showed a lot of confidence and fire as a freshman, so it will be exciting to see what he can accomplish this season.
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Porter is a kid who came out of nowhere to become a surprise contributor as a freshman last year. He came from a small rural town in Missouri and didn't even play AAU basketball.
But Georgetown's scouts did their job and scooped up Porter, who is now a potential lottery pick whenever he decides to come out.
The 6'8" sophomore swingman has long arms and runs the floor well. He can get to the basket, but will also pull up and knock down a jump shot. He should continue to improve as he gains confidence and gets experience against tough competition.
This article by Bleacher Report's own David Heeb is a fantastic in-depth look at Porter's journey to Georgetown.
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While Mike Moser is considered the frontrunner to be Mountain West player of the year, don't be surprised if Franklin challenges for the award.
Franklin had a breakout campaign last season, averaging 17.8 points in 30.3 minutes per game. This year he should get more minutes and play exclusively on the wing, instead of at forward, where he was forced to play at times last season.
As a junior this year, expect Franklin to continue breaking out and start to get recognized as one of the top players in the nation.
He is an outstanding athlete who works for every point and is great at getting to the basket. I think Franklin will lead San Diego State on a strong run this season.
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I can't imagine a world where NC State is better than both North Carolina and Duke, but that may be the case in 2012-2013. There's a good chance that the Wolfpack win the ACC this season, and C.J. Leslie will be a huge part of their success.
While State has an outstanding freshman class coming in, they will still lean on Leslie's experience and scoring ability. The junior forward averaged 14.7 points per game last season and will get increased exposure if the Wolfpack have a great season.
Leslie is long and athletic and plays well above the rim. He has to continue developing his jump shot, but he has an uncanny ability to slash and make highlight-reel type plays.