College Basketball: Ranking the 12 Best Players of 2011-2012

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College Basketball: Ranking the 12 Best Players of 2011-2012
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Drum roll please: NFL locked out.

Continue drum roll: NBA locked out.

What now?

College athletics.

If you have never indulged on the momentary magic of college basketball, then I urge you to give in and let go in 2011-2012. A sport that offers both NBA prospects and over-achieving four year standouts glory on one of the world's biggest stages is seductively riling.

With 350-plus teams vying for a shot as one of 68 in March, this ulcer-inducing excitement leaves fans fixed from October on. After the heated bouts of rivalry through conference pre and postseason, the mountaintop of memories culminate into madness.

The tourney's one-and-done playoff format not only test the will of each and every team, but platforms Cinderella upsets all of us crave.

Even better, we get the "one-up" into who, why, when and where on NBA Draft night. For that reason alone, the game itself should be the most celebrated fixture in the life of the American fan. This reconciliation is a needed bridge to increase awareness from the sports perspective.

It also celebrates the college athlete who, with or without an NBA future, has a fruitful road ahead. Their experience in collegiate athletics is not only a physical barometer but a mental one as well.

 Learning in class is one thing, but learning to handle stress, network with teammates and respect authority is a valuable lesson learned in an extra-curricular environment.

As we inch closer to this upcoming season, I have ranked the 12 best players of 2011-2012. "Best" is but an opining based upon many factors. To be fair to college basketball as a whole, I have decided to include player who may not have a sharp NBA future. Though they might not be NBA material, it does not mean they are not good from the standpoint of the college game. 

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