After enduring a tragic sophomore year in which he lost his mother and grandmother, Robinson opted to return to the Jayhawks rather than enter the NBA Draft. As a first-time starter this season, Robinson has blossomed into the country's most dominant power forward, with 10 double-doubles in 15 games despite heavy attention from opposing defenses.
No point guard has better court vision -- and makes more breathtaking passes -- than Marshall, whose assist-turnover ratio has jumped from 2.5-to-1 as a freshman to 4.1-to-1 as a sophomore. He is the consummate creator, passing up his own shots in favor of easy buckets for his many talented teammates.
The country's biggest breakout sophomore is having a monster high-usage (28.1 percent of the Bluejays' possessions), high-efficiency (130.1 Orating) season after a summer of development on the U.S. Under-19 national team. Can he really keep hitting 58.2 percent of his threes?
Despite battling injuries over the first two months, Sullinger has increased his field-goal percentage (60.9) and defensive rebounding percentage (32.5) from his All-America freshman year. In November, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called Sullinger "the best player in the country."
The long-armed, unibrowed Davis has made a mammoth defensive impact on the young Wildcats, blocking 14.7 percent of opponents' shots and grabbing 25.4 percent of defensive rebounds. Although there's no metric that can prove it definitively, we believe he's the nation's top defensive force.
As the lead gunner on one of the biggest surprise teams of the first half, Denmon's offensive rating of 137.8 is absurdly good; he's making 44.7 percent of his threes and 92.0 percent of his free throws.
An MKG for MVP campaign is underway in Lexington, where Kidd-Gilchrist has emerged as the unquestioned leader of the country's No. 2 team. The fact that he had his biggest game -- 24 points and 19 rebounds -- against Louisville might have helped endear MKG to the locals, too.
Taking into consideration stats, versatility and leadership ability, Green might be the country's best all-around forward. He's the main reason the Spartans have emerged as a top-10-caliber team despite lukewarm expectations in the preseason.
Jones is one of the game's least-hyped, double-double machines, even though he plays in the Big East. He's been an absolute workhorse for the Mountaineers, playing 37.1 minutes per game, and has them looking like a quiet contender in a league race that's wide open after Syracuse.
The Hoosiers are nationally relevant a year before anyone expected it, and much of that has to do with the ahead-of-schedule production they're getting from Zeller. The five-star freshman has played like a veteran over his first two months in college, shooting 66.1 percent from the field and creating a surprising number of steals and deflections on D.
Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State; Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina; Mike Scott, PF, Virginia; Herb Pope, PF, Seton Hall; John Henson, PF, North Carolina; Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse; Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse; Rob Jones, PF, St. Mary's; Mike Moser, PF, UNLV; Nate Wolters, PG, South Dakota State; Scott Machado, PG, Iona; Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray State