College basketball has become a stomping ground for one-and-done talents, just biding their time before jumping to the pros.
Last year, Kentucky’s freshmen stars were the big story and heading into 2010-11, another bumper crop of first-year studs like UNC’s Harrison Barnes and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger will steal the headlines.
But what about those supremely gifted players with some college experience already under their belts? While the nation swoons over the fabulous freshmen, these guys will be putting up huge numbers and leading their teams toward March.Derrick Williams, Arizona Wildcats
Williams made the most of a down year for the Pac-10. While NCAA heads bitched about the lack of NBA talent in the league, Williams was busy putting up almost 16 points and seven rebounds per game in his first year in Tuscon. Heading into his sophomore campaign, Williams is the crowning jewel of Sean Miller’s frontcourt is starting to get buzz from pro scouts. Expect more from him, Arizona and the entire Pac-10 this season.Trey Thompkins, Georgia Bulldogs
If you’re looking for a solid underdog bet in the SEC this year, look no further than the Bulldogs and their stellar junior forward. Thompkins finished third in scoring in the conference last season, dropping in just under 18 points per game, and fourth in rebounding with 8.3 boards a night. Along with teammate Travis Leslie, Thompkins will lift Georgia out of the SEC East basement.Kris Joseph, Syracuse Orange
This product of Montreal, Quebec is proving there are some untapped talents north of the border. Joseph was used primarily off the bench last season but stepped into the first five when starting forward Arinze Onuaku went down in March. The 6-foot-7 Joseph, who averaged just under 11 points last year, is a versatile scorer who coach Jim Boeheim is counting on to step into Wesley Johnson’s empty shoes.Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech Hokies
Only in the ACC can the league’s leading scorer fall off the radar. With North Carolina and Duke hogging the spotlight, Delaney’s 20.2 points per game were a footnote in 2009-10 - especially after the Hokies fell apart in February and missed the NCAA for the third straight year. Delaney will have to top those numbers from last season if he wants to get Virginia Tech back to the tournament. He’s carrying a big load now that senior forward J.T. Thompson is out for the year after destroying his knee.Jordan Hamilton, Texas Longhorns
Hamilton was the forgotten star of last year’s recruiting class. He was forced to sit out a year between high school and college, which, along with injuries, slowed his production at the start of the season. However, the ultra-talented 6-foot-7 tweener exploded for a 27-point night against Oklahoma State and hung 24 on Missouri, averaging 12.5 points in the final two months of the season – all coming off the bench. Hamilton will be a starter and Rick Barnes' No. 1