College Basketball Predictions: Top 10 Scorers in 2011-12
A lot of talent left college basketball in the NBA Draft, but plenty of elite players will be returning to their respective campuses come fall.
Scorers like Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker, Derrick Williams and Jordan Hamilton will be pros, so there will be new scoring leaders in college hoops.
Will anybody sweep the nation as much as Jimmer did? Probably not.
These 10 players, however, could very well be among the nation's leaders in scoring in the 2011-12 college basketball season.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Do-it-all Darius Morris was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the recent NBA Draft, so much of Michigan's scoring load will fall on the shoulders of Tim Hardaway Jr.
As a freshman, Hardaway Jr. was second on the Wolverines in scoring at 13.9 PPG, and scored 20-plus a cool six times. With nobody else returning to Ann Arbor who averaged double digits in scoring, expect him to reach that 20-point mark on many occasions.
Despite the lack of returning scorers, the Wolverines have a talented second-year class. They should be a major factor in the Big Ten come 2011-12, much thanks to Hardaway Jr.
I'm really glad Tu Holloway will be back at Xavier next year. It would be so sad to see his talents go to waste sitting on an NBA bench or maybe even somewhere in Europe.
Holloway led the Musketeers on the court in every way imaginable, scoring when needed and knowing when to distribute the rock. At a mere 6'0", he averaged 5.0 RPG, so he can crash the boards with the big men as well.
Holloway averaged 19.7 PPG last season, and there is no reason to believe he won't break the 20.0 PPG mark as a senior.
John Jenkins was an absolute beast in high school, averaging a nation best 42.8 PPG as a senior. At Vanderbilt, his production has obviously slowed down, but he is still one of the nation's best pure scorers.
Jenkins can stroke it from deep, has a nice mid-range game and finishes at the free throw line (89.4 percent last season.) He averaged a smooth 19.5 PPG as just a sophomore in 2010-11, so expect him to score a few points more this season, placing him among the nation's top scorers.
Jenkins, along with Festus Ezeli and Jeffery Taylor, will lead the Commodores to a great season come 2011-12.
C.J. McCollum has been a mid-major scoring machine ever since he stepped foot on the hilly campus at Lehigh University. Major schools shied away from him due to his slender frame, but that has not kept him from averaging 19.1 PPG and 21.8 PPG as a freshman and a sophomore, respectively.
McCollum's junior year should consist of much of the same, as he will place in the top few scorers nationwide. For his own sake, he should look to improve his efficiency, as he shot just 39.9 percent last season.
NBA scouts will be interested in McCollum. Next season could be his last as a Mountain Hawk.
Although the Connecticut Huskies lost superstar Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb will be there next year to carry the scoring load.
Lamb started off relatively slowly, but scored double digits in each of his last 11 games, helping UConn to a NCAA Championship. He will be an incredibly mature and savvy sophomore with a title under his belt.
Expect Lamb's 11.1 PPG as a freshman to almost double, as the Huskies will rely heavily on him next season—although not quite as much as they did on Walker last season.
The Wisconsin Badgers are saying goodbye to last season's leading scorer in Jon Leuer (18.3 PPG). Not far behind him, at 18.1 PPG, was Jordan Taylor, the heart and soul of Bo Ryan's squad.
Taylor will certainly carry the scoring load for Wisconsin, as the second-leading returning scorer, Josh Gasser, averaged just 5.9 PPG last season.
Although Wisconsin doesn't always have superstars, expect Taylor to be an elite scorer and an All-American performer in 2011-12.
The Villanova Wildcats had a solid, yet inefficient scorer last season in Maalik Wayns. He shot an abysmal 39.9 percent from the floor last season, and he really needs to raise that number.
Aside from that flaw, Wayns averaged 13.8 PPG and still managed to play over 30 minutes per game.
With the departure of Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes, who averaged a combined 30.5 PPG last season, Wayns will be expected to up his scoring average to around 20 PPG, something he is fully capable of doing.
Orlando Johnson of UC Santa Barbara is one of the nation's best-kept secrets. Last season as a junior, the 6'5" wing averaged 21.1 PPG on very efficient shooting percentages.
Johnson considered the NBA Draft but ultimately decided to return for his senior season for the Gauchos. Both parties will benefit, because he makes his team at least one of the best in the Big West, and another year in college can only help his professional aspirations.
Next season's leading scorer could easily be Johnson, who is capable of taking it to the hole, knocking down threes and finishing at the free-throw line.
Andrew Nicholson has steadily improved in each of his years at St. Bonaventure. Last season, he averaged a career-best 20.8 PPG to go along with 7.3 RPG.
The Bonnies benefited immensely from Nicholson's great play, making a postseason appearance in the CBI. St. Bonaventure will return a good amount of talent next season and could make the NCAA Tournament out of the Atlantic 10, although that is unlikely.
If Nicholson steps up, anything is possible.
Along with being possibly the best player in the nation next year, Jared Sullinger will be among the nation's best scorers.
As just a freshman at Ohio State, the highly touted Sullinger averaged 17.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG, leading the Buckeyes to an exceptional season. He could've left for the NBA Draft but decided to return for another year at Columbus.
It appears Sullinger has unfinished business on the college scene and will look to win a title for the Buckeyes before his time is done as a collegiate athlete.