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NCAA Midseason All-Americans: Top 10 College Basketball Players of 2010-11

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2011

NCAA Midseason All-Americans: Top 10 College Basketball Players of 2010-11

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    http://www.nydailynews.com

    We are halfway through the 2010-11 college basketball.

    Pre-conference tournaments and games have come and gone.

    Conference play has begun.

    Ten players have stood out from the crowd in the first two months of the season.

    While there are no official midseason All-American awards given, here are the top 10 players in college basketball at midpoint.

10. Alec Burks, Colorado

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Alec Burks is one of the best kept secrets in college basketball.

    Even though he plays in the Big 12, suiting up for the Colorado Buffaloes (12-4) means that he is somewhat out of the mainstream media coverage and attention.

    But Burks, a shooting guard with size, has been creating lots of excitement in Boulder.

    He is averaging 20.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3. assists per game.

    He has hit at least 20 points in nine of the Buffaloes' 16 games, with his latest game being his greatest—a 36-point (career high), eight-rebound (season high) masterpiece that helped CU upset No. 8 Missouri.

    Burks is exceptional at finishing at the rim and getting to the line.

9. Terrence Jones, Kentucky

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Terrence Jones came to Lexington as one the nation's top recruits...and the freshman has definitely not disappointed.

    The Wildcat faithful knew from game one that Jones was special—he opened his college career with a 25-point, 12-rebound performance to remember against East Tennessee State.

    Jones went on to score 69 points and grab 34 rebounds (in three games) at the Maui Invitational.

    He is averaging 18.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, helping to lead the Kentucky Wildcats to a 13-3 start.

8. Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Life has never been so good for San Diego State basketball and Kawhi Leonard is doing a little of everything to make it happen.

    Leonard is picking up where he left off in his freshman year, when he was the only freshman in Mountain West Conference history to earn first-team all-conference honors.

    The Aztecs (17-0) are currently ranked No. 6 and show no signs of slowing down.  

    Leonard leads the team in scoring (15.9) and rebounding (9.6) and is second in assists (2.5).

    He has already stacked up 10 double-doubles in the first half of the season.

    Leonard's all-around ability helps him make contributions beyond point and rebound statistics, however. He plays tough defense and is always ready to make a steal.

7. Marcus Morris, Kansas

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The Kansas Jayhawks are undefeated (15-0, ranked No. 3) and Marcus Morris' game is firing on all cylinders.

    He's leading the team in scoring (15.7) and rebounding (6.3), while only playing 25 minutes per game.

    As a team, Kansas is the best shooting team in the nation (52.5 percent), while Morris, a junior, is shooting 58.7 percent from the field.

    Morris is one of the most skilled big men in college basketball. He is just as comfortable on the perimeter as he is in the post.

6. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Purdue is off to an amazing 15-1 start and JaJuan Johnson is leading the way. 

    He is averaging 19.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

    Johnson decided to return to play his senior year for the Boilermakers, thinking that he was going to be playing alongside another preseason All-American, Robbie Hummel.

    But Hummel tore his ACL, sidelining him for the season before it even started.

    Rather than ruining Purdue's hoops future, this unfortunate injury paved the way for Johnson to elevate his game to another level.

    Johnson has already put up six double-doubles this year and is the top shot blocker in the Big Ten.

5. Derrick Williams, Arizona

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    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com

     

    Derrick Williams, last season's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, may be the best inside-outside threat in college basketball.

    He is shooting 65.7 percent from the field and an unbelievable 70.8 percent from beyond the arc (17/24). Wow! Not bad for a guy who mostly plays center for Arizona.

    Williams leads the nation in free throws attempted (158 in 17 games), which is also one of the reasons why he is tops in the country in points per shot (2.27)

    He leads the Wildcats (14-3) in both scoring (19.1) and rebounding (7.1).

4. Nolan Smith, Duke

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Senior Nolan Smith may be the most complete backcourt player in the country.

    He is a potent scorer, a lockdown perimeter-defender and now, after Kyrie Irving's season-ending injury, is demonstrating his solid handle and playmaking abilities.

    Smith leads the No. 1 ranked Blue Devils (15-0) in scoring (19.5) and assists (5.7), and pulls down an impressive five rebounds per game.

    Over the last six games, Smith averaged 25 points per outing.

3. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

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    http://sportstalk4us.blogspot.com

    The best freshmen and best big man in college basketball is Ohio State's Jared Sullinger.

    Sullinger leads a very talented, No. 2 ranked, undefeated (16-0) Buckeye team in scoring (17.9) and rebounding (10.3). A freshman averaging a double-double? Incredible!

    He is a good scorer on the block and his strength and big body make him tough to box out and keep off the boards.

    Sullinger has an unusually-high basketball IQ, which helps him to get good positioning for both defense and rebounding.

    Sullinger very well could be the kind of player that could throw his team on his back and take them to the championship.

2. Kemba Walker, Connecticut

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Kemba Walker is more than a scorer (even though he is second in the nation in scoring at 25.3); Walker is, pound-for-pound, the most productive player in college basketball.

    He leads the No. 10 Huskies (12-2) in scoring and assists (3.7), as well as grabbing an outstanding 5.5 boards per game.

    Earlier this season at the Maui Invitational, Walker helped the Huskies beat Michigan State and Kentucky by scoring 90 points in 99 total minutes to take home MVP honors.

    He has scored in double figures every game, with five games scoring 30 points or more.

    In the second game of the season, Walker scored a career-high 42 points as Connecticut beat Vermont

1. Jimmer Fredette, BYU

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Jimmer Fredette is the best college basketball player in the first half of the 2010-11 season.

    He is the nation's leading scorer (26.1), leads the Cougars (17-1, No. 10 ranked) in assists (4.4) and grabs 3.4 rebounds per game.

    He scored a season-best 47 points at Utah and has posted 30-plus points five times this season.

    Fredette is shooting 48.2 percent from the field, 40.8 percent from beyond the arc and 89.5 percent from the free throw line.

    Like UConn's Walker, Fredette has scored in double figures every game this season.

    The Salt Lake Tribune described Fredette's shooting this way: "...stupid-long range, preposterous range. A 30-footer here, a 27-footer there."

    He is one of 20 finalists for the 2011 Bob Cousy Award (rewarded to the nation's top point guard).

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