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Jamaal Franklin Is the Most Exciting College Basketball Player You Don't Know

Mike Walkusky@mwalkuskyContributor INovember 15, 2011

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Jamaal Franklin #21 of the San Diego State Aztecs reacts after a play against the Connecticut Huskies during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Prior to the 2011-12 college basketball season, San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin was likely known to casual basketball fans solely for bumping into Connecticut's Kemba Walker after a timeout during their Sweet 16 game. Walker subsequently took a dive and Franklin was called for an undeserving technical foul, which was arguably the turning point of the game.

The only other highlight of Franklin's freshman year was a botched between-the-legs dunk attempt against Wyoming that got airtime on Pardon the Interruption.

Stuck behind a first-round NBA draft pick in Kawhi Leonard and two great shooters in James Rahon and Chase Tapley, Franklin rode the bench for the majority of his freshman season. In just 22 games, Franklin averaged eight minutes per game and 2.9 points per game.

During the offseason, Franklin worked extremely hard to improve his overall game and he destroyed the Pomona Division of the Say No League. Franklin's mind-boggling highlights are floating around YouTube for anyone that wants to view his amazing athleticism.

Franklin was also at the center of a ridiculous story when he got his tooth stuck in between the rim and net on a dunk attempt at the Aztec recreation center. As Franklin came down, his tooth was viciously ripped from his gums and he had to spend five hours in the dentist's office getting his tooth repaired.

One knock on Franklin has been his shooting. However, the sophomore has been on a mission to disprove that he's a poor shooter.

In an interview with the North County Times, Franklin said, "As I came into college, I was labeled a dunker. Now I'm trying to show the world I can shoot. I can shoot off the jump shot, I can shoot set, I can shoot off the dribble and I can jump. And I want to prove I'm a good defender also."

In Franklin's second game of the season, he proved that his hard work had paid off. Against UC Davis, Franklin scored 20 points in the first half. Twelve of Franklin's 20 points came from four three-pointers.

Franklin finished the game with 31 points and five rebounds. 

Through two games this season, Franklin has already thrown down a dunk off of the backboard to himself and has been the recipient of several alley-oops.

Thanks to his improved shooting, Franklin can wow the fans not only with amazing dunks, but his upgraded offensive arsenal as well.

For college basketball fans that do not get to see San Diego State basketball often, the Aztecs will be taking on the Baylor Bears at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET on ESPN tomorrow night. 

It will be exciting to see how Franklin matches up against Baylor's two fantastic swingmen, Deuce Bello and Quincy Miller.

If Franklin performs to the best of his ability, tomorrow's game should be his introduction to the country as a future star.

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