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The five most improved players a month into the college basketball season

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Casey Prather shoots against UConn in the first half Dec. 2 (USA Today Sports Images)

One month into the college basketball season, numerous players around the country have turned heads with a dramatic escalation in production for their teams. Here is a look at some of the most improved players in the nation.

Cameron Bairstow, 6-9, Sr., New Mexico
Bairstow was a pivotal part of the Australian team winning silver in the World University Games over the summer and his success there seems to have propelled him into a more prominent role for the Lobos. He averaged 9.7 points and 5.6 rebounds as a junior, but began to surge in productivity in the second half of last season, foreshadowing what has happened early this season. He's averaging 19.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and has led New Mexico in scoring four times in eight games.

Trevor Cooney, 6-4, So., Syracuse
Cooney scored in double figures five times all of last season and averaged 3.4 points as a redshirt freshman. He never had more than four assists or four rebounds. Cooney has led the Orange in scoring twice this season and steals four times. He's averaging 15.3 points and is Jim Boeheim's second leading scorer nine games into the season. Cooney has scored in double figures in eight of those contests.

Frank Kaminsky, 7-0, Jr., Wisconsin
Prior to this season, Kaminsky had appeared in 67 games with two starts for the Badgers and he had four double-digit scoring performances. He has led Wisconsin in scoring and rebounding three times in 11 games so far this season. Kaminsky is the Badgers' leading scorer at 14.7 points a game and the second leading rebounder pulling down 5.7 caroms each outing. He's also the Badgers' best 3-point shooter, knocking down 42.9 percent of his attempts from behind the arc so far.

Cady Lalanne, 6-10, Jr., UMass
Lalanne has already earned Player of the Week in the Atlantic 10 Conference twice this season and also earned the Most Valuable Player award at the Charleston Classic last month. He led the Minutemen in rebounding last year at 7.4 per game while scoring 8.4 points per game. He has nearly doubled his scoring so far this season and is averaging a double-double through eight games at 15 points and 10.4 rebounds.

Casey Prather, 6-6, Sr., Florida
He played in 29 games last year for the Gators with two starts, but averaged just 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds. He posted career highs of 14 rebounds and nine rebounds in separate games before this season. He is the only Gator to score in double figures in every game this season and his scoring has nearly tripled to 18.2 points a game with more than 6 rebounds.

Others: Marcus Paige, (North Carolina), Lamar Patterson (Pitt), Brad Waldow (Saint Mary's), Kethan Savage (George Washington), Kellen Dunham (Butler), Kyle Anderson (UCLA), Xavier Thames (San Diego State) and Nik Stauskas (Michigan).

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Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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