The 10 Most Underachieving Players in College Basketball This Season

Doug Brodess@DougbrodessCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2013

The 10 Most Underachieving Players in College Basketball This Season

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    Every college basketball player wants to excel at every phase of the game.

    Expectations are raised and, sometimes, we witness stars emerging as the season unfolds.

    But, every year, certain players fall short of their potential and turn in one less-than-stellar performance after another.

    Here are the 10 most underachieving players in college basketball.

    Some of them are putting up respectable numbers, but they are still not getting it done at the highest level.

    Others on this list are just struggling.

10. Cameron Ridley (Texas Longhorns)

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    As the recruiting Class of 2012’s No. 8 overall prospect, Cameron Ridley was supposed to step in and become the next great Longhorn big man.

    He has the size (6’9 and 270 pounds) and the basic skills to dominate down low.

    Somewhere, between high school and Austin, Ridley came back down to earth.

    He is basically averaging four points and four rebounds per game. While Rick Barnes loves to bring in a player of Ridley’s bulk off the bench, the Horns would benefit even more if he would be able to effectively contribute on a nightly basis.

9. Adonis Thomas (Memphis Tigers)

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    Upside and potential...Two words that have been used regularly to describe Adonis Thomas ever since he arrived on campus two years ago.

    But instead of living up to his hype, Thomas has struggled with consistency and injury.

    He missed nearly half of his freshman season with an ankle injury and he has come back to play exceptionally at times, but he has never elevated his game to the heights that Tigers’ fans hoped.

    As a sophomore, Thomas’ 11.7 points and 4.4 rebounds averages fall short of expectations.

8. Tony Mitchell (North Texas Mean Green)

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    One of the hottest players coming out of last summer’s college hoops scene was UNT’s PF Tony Mitchell.

    In August, Neil Leitereg of the suggested that Mitchell could be a top-five pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

    But, the 6’8” combo forward’s sophomore season has been disappointing. His second-year numbers (13.2 PPG; 8.3 RPG) have dropped off his first-rate freshman stats.

    Instead of being an upcoming lottery lock, Mitchell should strongly consider returning for his junior season.

5, 6 and 7. Arizona's Freshmen Frontcourt Trio

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    Arizona's Sean Miller hit the recruiting jackpot with his monster class of 2012.

    Miller reeled in the No. 5 (7’0” Kaleb Tarczewski), No. 9 (6’10” Grant Jerrett) and No. 16 (6’8” Brandon Ashley).

    All three are contributing to Arizona’s success, but none of them individually have distinguished them as a consistent option in the Cats’ attack. Each one is averaging between five-seven points and three-six boards.

4. Khem Birch (UNLV Rebels)

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    Coming out of high school, Khem Birch was a five-star recruit for Jamie Dixon at Pitt.

    After ten ineffective games in his freshman year, Birch left school and landed in Vegas so that he could pick up his collegiate career at UNLV.

    Now, 19 games into his first season playing for the Rebels, Birch is averaging eight points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

    He shows flashes of brilliance interrupted by long stretches of non-production.

3. Tony Parker (UCLA Bruins)

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    Tony Parker was supposed to be the size and power of UCLA's top-rated recruiting class of 2012.

    Well, Parker is big and strong, but beyond that, the 6’9” center hasn’t delivered the goods for the Bruins.

    He is only averaging 2.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game. He has been scoreless in nine games this year, and only scored in double figures once this season.

2. Trey Zeigler (Pitt Panthers)

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    When Trey Zeigler decided to transfer to Pitt from Central Michigan, Pitt looked like they were on their way to a huge season.

    But, Zeigler has looked completely out of sync this season, struggling to score much more than a bucket here and a free throw there.

    After dropping in over 1,000 points in two years at CMU, the 6’5” wing is averaging five PPG in limited action.


1. Josh Hairston (Duke Blue Devils)

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    No one can say that Josh Hairston wasn't given his chance.

    When Duke's starting PF Ryan Kelly went down with a foot injury in January, Hairston was inserted into the Blue Devils lineup.

    Unlike any other opportunity that Hairston has been given, this was his chance to shine.

    But, because of his lackluster showing as a starter, Hairston was moved back to taking his seat on the Duke bench.

    The former four-star recruit has never averaged more than three points and two rebounds per game.