Since its inception in 1969, only two freshmen have won the Naismith College Player of the Year award. Anthony Davis now stands next to Kevin Durant as the only first-year players to win the award; however Davis did something that Durant was unable to, as he led his Kentucky Wildcats team to the national title. Davis also earned the title of Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament.
Clothes don't make the man, but the most talked about socks belonged to Robert Griffin III. RGIII capped off a phenomenal Baylor career with a stellar senior season. He completed 72.4 percent of his passes, throwing for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns. As if that weren't enough, he also ran for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns. All of this earned him the 2011 Heisman Trophy award.
A key component to the two-headed tight end unit for the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski powered his way through opposing defenses during the 2011 regular season. He gathered 90 receptions, up from his 42-catch 2010 season, and tallied 1,327 yards. Gronkowski set an NFL record for TDs (17) by a tight end, making him nearly impossible to cover in the red zone.
Linsanity became a phenomenon unlike anything the NBA had seen in a long time. In such a short span, after injuries thrust him into the starting role, Jeremy Lin took control of the New York Knicks' backcourt. As a starter, he led the Knicks on a six-game winning streak and a 9-3 record in his 12 starts prior to the All-Star break.
In her first performance on the world stage, Alex Morgan emerged as an elite soccer player. Morgan was the youngest player on the roster for the U.S.'s 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup team. She secured the 3-1 victory over France in the semifinal with her first World Cup goal in the 82nd minute and scored the first goal, coming in the 69th minute, in the final against Japan.