10 College Basketball Standouts Who Could Be 2012's Kemba Walker

Jim Sullivan@jsully711Featured ColumnistDecember 19, 2011

10 College Basketball Standouts Who Could Be 2012's Kemba Walker

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    Last season, the Connecticut Huskies pulled off one of the most impressive postseason finished in college basketball history.

    After just finishing tied for ninth in the Big East, only a player like Kemba Walker could have jump-started that squad and lead them to the top.

    A 9-9 conference record was unimpressive, but the Huskies entered the Big East Tournament with swagger and walked away with some huge wins over Pitt, Louisville, and Syracuse.

    Walker took over and piloted UConn onto their seventh Big East Tournament Title.

    In the Big Dance, Walker was once again the leader of this strong Huskies squad. No one seemed capable of shutting him down. Storied programs such as Kentucky, Cincinnati, and Arizona fell, allowing UConn to claim their third National Championship since 1999.

    Superstars like Kemba Walker are few and far between.

    But, this season there are many candidates who can replace him in the spotlight as one of the league's best. Who out there really has the skills to break tournament scoring records? 

    Does anyone have ice in their veins that is cold enough to nail game winning shots consistently? 

    I believe so.

    Here are my top ten players with the potential to be this year's Kemba Walker.  

Ashton Gibbs

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    This 6-foot-2 senior superstar guard from New Jersey leads this Pitt Panthers squad in the 2011-12 season. Already averaging 18.7 points per game, his quickness and agility will give Pitt a legitimate shot in the Big East this year.

    Averaging just under 40 percent on field goals and almost 85 percent from the line, Gibbs has all the tools to take over games late and secure big wins.

    Watch out for this Pitt team to explode late.

Jeremy Lamb

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    Hailing from Kemba Walker's alma mater, Jeremy Lamb has taken over this Huskies squad. Averaging a stunning 20 points per game so far, as well as just under five rebounds, UConn may be holding onto a second superstar.

    This sophomore is the pulse of the Huskies. Their only loss this season was to UCF, when Lamb had his second lowest scoring game.

    Jim Calhoun and company could be looking at a repeat of last year if Lamb explodes late in the season like Walker did.  

John Jenkins

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    This junior guard leads Vanderbilt in a difficult SEC East division. Jenkins and company have to matchup against tough divisional rivals Florida and Kentucky, but expect some fireworks to fly when games are still pretty close late.

    Putting up over 21 points per game and pulling down over three rebounds a game, Jenkins is more than dangerous.

    Opponents have to game-plan around trying to stop him, which hasn't happened yet. 

Jason Clark

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    Georgetown almost always holds a strong candidate for a superstar.

    This year, senior guard Jason Clark fits the bill. The Hoyas will be a threat in a powerful Big East this season, and Clark is a huge reason why many coaches are shaking in their boots. 

    One of the weaker scoring players on this list, this senior only puts up 16 points a game. He does average around four rebounds as well.

    Georgetown should pull off some stunning upsets with Clark at the helm this season.

Austin Rivers

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    Duke's freshman phenom has been turning heads all year.

    Putting up around 16 points a game and acquiring more than two assists, Rivers is a force to be reckoned with. Young talent in the ACC is quite rare nowadays.

    Now, the Blue Devils lean on the freshman for a spark. He is more than explosive and a danger to anyone Duke takes on this season. The ACC may once again be taken over by a young superstar.   

Kenny Boynton

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    A very experienced junior guard out of Florida, Boynton scores a solid 19 points per game and about three assists.

    The Gators wouldn't be the same without one of the toughest players in the game. 

    With him, Florida will have the talent to challenge SEC East rival Kentucky. Super-quick and with a solid shot from beyond the arch, Boynton is a danger to drive or pull up for a jumper. 

Tu Holloway

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    Hailing from the Atlantic-10 basketball powerhouse Xavier, Holloway is easily one of the best in the nation.

    Already responsible for over 17 points, four rebounds, and five assists per game, the conference once again seems like it will be owned by the Musketeers.

    Sitting undefeated so far this season, Xavier will have the opportunity to secure a 1-seed in the Big Dance. Holloway will be the reason for that continued success, as not only his scoring, but his selflessness has kept this Musketeer squad on track this season.  

Marcus Denmon

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    One of the strongest candidates on this list, Denmon is making a huge impact in Missouri.

    Not only can he shoot, but he can also steal, rebound, and assist like no other man in the Midwest. 

    Averaging 21 points per game and over five rebounds, Mizzou is loaded with possibly the most talented guard in the nation. Kansas may have a big-time challenger this season in the Big 12, so the Jayhawks better start preparing for Marcus Denmon and the Tigers. 

Dee Bost

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    With a lot of experience playing in the SEC already, this senior guard is a threat to Kentucky's and Florida's power this season. He leads an extremely talented Bulldogs squad that may usurp the traditional SEC basketball order. 

    You can hold Bost responsible for 18 points, four rebounds, and at least four assists per game, making him not only a great scorer, but also a great teammate.

    MSU is looking like they are on track to repeat their superb 1996 season, and Bost will heading the charge.  

Darius Johnson-Odom

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    Another senior showing himself to be a superstar, Johnson-Odom and Marquette know how to win.

    Putting up 19 points, grabbing three rebounds, and assisting over three times a game, he is easily the heart of this team.

    The Golden Eagles are a talented squad in the Big East and will be a huge threat to traditional powers such as Georgetown, Syracuse, and Pitt. Johnson-Odom is possibly the best player conference-wide. Watch for him to take apart defenses, especially late in the season.