By the end of the season, a big fuss is always made about who the leading scorers are.
These scorers normally have a few things in common that allow them to dominate opposing defenses.
Top scorers are versatile. The best scorers beat defenses from anywhere on the floor.
Scoring leaders sometimes play in weaker conferences against weaker defenses.
Lastly, top scorers are team leaders who are expected to shoot early and often to ensure their team has a chance to win.
This season is no different. Players near the top of the list of top scorers fit these criteria, and they will continue to dominate because of it.
Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum broke onto the national scene when he led the Mountain Hawks to a stunning upset of second seed Duke in the NCAA tournament last season.
McCollum proved his scoring prowess with a dominating 30-point performance that will surely be a benchmark for great March Madness scoring for years to come.
Some were surprised when McCollum did not enter the draft and instead returned for his senior year.
This decision has already paid dividends as he is averaging 26.3 points-per-game with no end in sight.
McCollum is a dominant scorer that seems to make all the right decisions.
The toughest part of Lehigh’s schedule is behind it, with its toughest remaining game being at VCU.
As Lehigh enters Patriot League conference play, McCollum will be able to boost his scoring averages against weaker teams such as Army, Navy and American.
After the departures of Jared Sullinger and William Buford, Deshaun Thomas has made the most of his opportunities this season.
The small forward out of Fort Wayne, Ind. has put up impressive numbers this season—22.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg.
This is a considerable jump from the 15.9 ppg he averaged a season ago.
Thomas will continue to dominate this season for two reasons.
First, Ohio State needs his scoring. Losing two starters a season ago has been good for Thomas, as it has allowed him to take more shots, but it has weakened Ohio State overall.
Thomas will be depended on to score well each game. This means that the offense will be run through him and he will get the shots he wants.
Secondly, Thomas is an incredibly versatile scorer.
At 6’7”, he can play between positions as a 3-4 combo. Thomas can shoot the jump shot, slash into the lane and back down smaller defenders.
Doug McDermott is the most efficient scorer in college basketball.
He shoots 53 percent from the field, 40 percent from beyond the arc and 86.7 percent from the foul line.
What has impressed me the most about McDermott this season is that he is not relying on his jump shot as much.
After watching Creighton defeat Wisconsin last week, it became clear that McDermott has worked tremendously on his post game and his baseline drive.
Both of these tools will certainly allow him to dominate the weakened Missouri Valley Conference.
Furthermore, McDermott’s aggressiveness to get into the lane has gotten him to the foul line a lot this season.
The only thing better than attempting 45 free throws is the fact that he has made 39 of them.
Lastly, McDermott can always fall back on his three-point shooting, and as the year progresses, he will likely get more opportunities to do just that.
Jamaal Franklin makes this list because he has showed his versatility as a scorer this season.
Franklin, who often relies on his fantastic three-point shooting (43 percent made last season), was in trouble against the 2-3 zone of Syracuse during the Battle on the Midway. More troubling than Syracuse’s staunch defense were the gusts of wind that were obviously altering shots.
Franklin was able to make the best of a 0-6 three-point shooting effort because he is so versatile.
Throughout the second half of SDSU’s loss to the Orange, Franklin would slice and dice his way through Syracuse’s zone.
Franklin has also stepped up as a leader this season.
SDSU downed the underrated USC Trojans last week due to the fantastic play of Franklin who ended the game with 17 points. A win against a Pac-12 team on the road is always impressive, and Franklin made this happen.
Franklin’s ability to change games with his rare combination of shooting prowess and elite physical ability will allow him to continue dominating defenses, especially in Mountain West conference play.
The little we have seen of Shabazz Muhammad this season has proven one thing: he can score in bunches.
Muhammad, an elite recruit, has lived up to his billing as a fantastic scorer.
In 25 minutes off the bench in his first game against Georgetown, Muhammad put up 15 points.
Since then, the freshman has put up double digits in each game he has played in.
He must continue to score well because the struggling Bruins will not be able to turn around their season without him.
In fact, at 17 ppg, Muhammad is actually under-performing to UCLA’s needs. This says more about the dismal state of UCLA, a team that just lost to Cal Poly, than Muhammad, who is scoring more than most freshmen.
With his team needing more from him, don’t be surprised to see Muhammad take this team over and put up closer to 22 ppg.