The college basketball season has officially ended, meaning it is time to look back on one of the most memorable years of hoops in recent memory.
The season started off with a bang, as un-ranked UConn won the Maui Invitational behind three outstanding performances by Kemba Walker. It didn't take long before Walker became a household name, but as the Huskies stumbled down the end of the regular season, few people imagined he would lead UConn to 11 straight wins while capturing the national championship.
But this season was about a lot more than just Walker and the Huskies.
It featured great dunks, ridiculously long three-point shots by a guy named Jimmer, numerous upsets, a few Cinderellas, and hundreds if not thousands of games that went right down to wire.
This article will highlight and award some of the best plays, games, coaches, players, tweets of the year, along with a few more interesting categories.
It is time to re-witness the 2011 college basketball season for one last time, and I promise you this will be a lot more enjoyable than "One Shining Moment."
Feel free to share your opinions, as I love to read comments responding to the article. All I ask of you is to not use my profile picture as an argument for me being biased of a certain player.
Of all the awards to give out, this was by far the easiest. Just two days after Thomas Robinson and the rest of the Jayhawks went to his mother's funeral, Robinson scored 17 points to lead Kansas to a victory over rival Kansas State.
Everyone would have understood if Robinson didn't want to play in the game and perhaps not for a few weeks. But Robinson ended up having one of the best games of his career, and it was capped off by the Wildcats' Jacob Pullen giving Robinson a hug after the game.
Pullen later said, "Regardless if this is a rivalry or whatever, the things that he is going through right now are things you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy."
Sometimes controversy makes games even better than they already were. That was certainly the case when St. John's beat then-fourth ranked Pittsburgh 60-59, thanks to a last-second layup by Dwight Hardy.
Upon closer look, it appears that Hardy's foot may have been out-of-bounds before he made the game winner. Either way, Hardy made a remarkable play to get underneath the basketball before scoring.
The win officially marked the return of St. John's, and Hardy will forever be remembered as one of the key reasons the Red Storm were able to so quickly return to prominence.
Kemba Walker and UConn get fifth victory in five days to win the Big East Conference Tournament.
Right off the bat, I am a huge Arizona Wildcat fan. Derrick Williams is my favorite player, but I think even an ASU fan will admit that Williams' block against Washington in the closing seconds of an Arizona victory was one of the greatest plays of the season.
In a nationally televised white out, Williams went up and made a clean block to pretty much end the game. However, Washington had the final laugh when Isaiah Thomas hit a buzzer beater to beat Arizona in the Pac-10 Tournament Final.
Even more remarkably, Williams blocked a potential game tying shot by Memphis when Arizona played the Tigers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
How could Jimmer not win this award? He makes hitting long-range three-pointers look as easy as layups.
This three-point shot in particular was extra amazing. With the clock running down in the first half, Jimmer takes a shot from near the half court line and swishes it to give BYU a double-digit lead going into halftime.
Fredette went on to score 47 points in that game, largely because of his incredible shooting range.
There are literally hundreds of Derrick Williams dunks I could have chosen from for this award, but due to the importance of this dunk, I had to pick it.
Arizona had already established a big lead, but this dunk put the exclamation point on their incredible run and sealed away any chances for the Blue Devils to repeat this year.
Although this dunk may have been more flashy, it did not have nearly the impact as the other one.
If you need any more convincing that Williams was the best dunker of the season, just go to YouTube and type his name.
Here is the tweet in its entirety: “Starting to see why people Transfer. You can play the minutes but not getting your talents shown because u watching someone else wit the ball the whole game.”
Early on, this season was looking like a disaster for Mississippi State, highlighted by Ravern Johnson's tweet about not getting enough playing time. Renardo Sydney, who earlier in the year got into a fight with a teammate, later re-tweeted Johnson's message.
Not surprisingly, both players took down the twitter accounts just hours later; but the damage was already done. Both were suspended but went on to have good seasons after the incident.
In the end, Johnson got his wish as he averaged 35 minutes for the Bulldogs in his senior year but not before NBA GMs got to see what type of team player Johnson really is.
Ivy League schools don't usually care too much about sports, but students at Harvard and Princeton were very passionate about their school's chances to make the NCAA Tournament.
Because the conference doesn't have a tournament to determine who receives the automatic bid to the Big Dance, the winner of the regular season gets the bid. Princeton and Harvard had the same conference records, so they faced off in a winner-takes-all game at Yale.
Down by one point with 2.8 seconds left but with the ball, Princeton knew they controlled their own destiny. Douglas Davis was the Tigers' savior as he nailed the buzzer beater to send Princeton to the NCAA Tournament where they lost to Kentucky.
If Kyrie Irving hadn't got injured early in the season, he may have been this year's top freshman. Still, it would have taken a lot for him to have a better season than Ohio State's Jared Sullinger.
The 6'9" forward scored an average 17 points for the Buckeyes, leading them to a Big 10 title and the number one overall seed in the tournament.
The best thing Sullinger did all season may have been when he announced he would be returning to Ohio State next year. He will almost certainly be a preseason All-American next year.
- Jimmer Fredette, BYU: The AP Player of the Year led the NCAA with 28.5 points a game, while making shots from almost every spot on the court.
- Nolan Smith, Duke: The senior guard did every thing he could to put Duke back in the Final Four, and although they lost in the Sweet 16, Smith's 2011 season will never be forgotten by the Blue Devil faithful.
- Jared Sullinger, Ohio State: As a freshman, Sullinger led a loaded Buckeye squad in both scoring and rebounding and might be the only player from this list returning back to school next season.
- Kemba Walker, UConn: He put UConn on the map early in the year by winning the Maui Invitational, and his sensational season ended with him winning the national championship.
- Derrick Williams, Arizona: He was a highlight reel machine but also shot a ridiculous 60 percent from three-point range to lead the Wildcats to the Elite Eight.
- Jordan Hamilton, Texas: Had a tremendous season for the Longhorns as he led them in scoring with 18.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
- Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame: Not as good as his brother, but established himself as one of the top guards in college basketball while boosting his draft status.
- JaJuan Johnson, Purdue: The senior averaged 20.5 points for Purdue and made nearly half of his shots, making him one of the most efficient players.
- Marcus Morris, Kansas: He led the high scoring Jayhawks in points and also grabbed an average of eight rebounds a game.
- Kyle Singler, Duke: His shooting percentage was down from last year, but he still scored an average of 17 points to go with seven rebounds.
Steve Fisher and the San Diego State Aztecs didn't have their perfect ending, but their success was still one of the greatest stories of the year.
Heading into the season, San Diego State was not in the top 25 but quickly rose in the rankings because of their amazing 20-0 start to the season.
The only team the Aztecs lost to in the regular season was BYU, and they got their revenge on the Cougars by beating them the Mountain West Conference Tournament final.
Fisher is best known for being the head coach of Michigan when the Fab Five played there, but if he continues winning 30+ games a season at San Diego State, it won't be long before people forget that he coached for anyone but the Aztecs. Just kidding.
While Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker were neck and neck throughout the regular season in the national player of the year race, Walker pulled away in the Big East and NCAA Tournament.
With UConn as the national champions, there is no way to justify reasoning that Fredette is the better player, if you add in what the two players did in postseason play.
Walker scored 33 points against Syracuse in the Big East semi-final and 19 points against Louisville to lead the Huskies to the Big East championship.
Then in the NCAA tournament, he put up a combined 69 points against Cincinnati and San Diego State before dropping another 20 on Arizona.
In the Final Four, on college basketball's biggest stage, Walker scored 18 points against a tough Kentucky team. Finally in the championship, he led all scorers with 16 points, but it was more than just his scoring that has made hm the player he is.
Walker is great at creating scoring opportunities for his teammates and has an energy that his team feeds off of. In his junior season, Walker established himself as one of the greatest UConn Huskies of all time.