NCAA Tournament Players to Watch

March 16, 2011 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

This is the greatest time of year in all of sports.  The upsets, the underdogs, the madness!! Each year during March Madness there are players that lift their teams to great achievement.  Below is a list of some of my favorites players to watch who have NBA futures and should make a lot of noise in the NCAA Tournament.

Jared Sullinger (Ohio State): The freshman engine that makes the #1 overall seed run.  Sullinger is so polished for a freshman and displays a high basketball IQ.  In addition, he is a man among boys in the paint and they have surrounded by shooters.  A much better prospect than Greg Oden ever was in my opinion.

Derrick Williams (Arizona): Dominant PF with great athleticism, skill set, and rebounding.  Even has hit 60%+ from three.  Should be one of the top five picks if he declares.  He is a force in the post and attacking the rim.  Has led the rebirth of Arizona hoops as a sophomore.

Terrence Jones (KY): The lefty for Kentucky has more of a finesse game than Williams and it very effective of the pick and roll.  He’ll occasionally pop the three, but what he does most impressively is get to the rim and hits bank shots from impossible angles on the run. His teammate and fellow freshman, Brandon Knight is a tall point guard with solid range who has continued the Calliperi run on first round PGs.

Harrison Barnes (UNC): After not living up to the hype for half a season, Barnes has grown more than any player I can remember.  He has a smooth stroke from beyond the arc, is difficult to guard when driving to the lane, and has the all-around game that many expected from the beginning.  John Henson looks like he has all the makings of a all-defensive team player in the NBA and Tyler Zeller would be a first rounder as well.  Barnes would be one of the top picks in the NBA Draft were he to declare.

Jimmer Fredette: BYU lucked out by getting the 3 seed and playing in Denver.  Since Davies has left the team Jimmer is shooting close to 50% of their shots and the location in mile high should only encourage them to run more.  Now more than ever they will have to rely on the Jimmer.  This could be some special stuff.

Kemba Walker (UConn):  Kemba has made drastic improvements in his game from last season to now.  He has reduced his turnover rate and at the same time become one of the top scorers in the country.  5 wins in 5 days blew the minds of many past week and a birth in at least the elite 8 is on many mind, while some know Bucknell in the first round won’t be a pushover.

Khris Middleton (A&M): Although Middleton has been treading downward, he is definitely a player to watch as Texas A & M could make or break some brackets.  This inconsistent team has somewhat come back to form recently and has a decent draw where they have upset potential in the second round.  At the same time, I like Florida State to beat them but Middleton could lead them to the sweet 16.

Kyrie Irving (Duke): I’ve said for months that I know he will be back and Coach K announced yesterday that he will play in the NCAA Tournament.  With him on the floor, it looked like an inevitable Duke repeat.  No better way to get your first game action versus a 16 seed, although Coach K said he won’t see extended minutes.  He is a huge difference makers and certain top pick. Nolan Smith is a fine player as well, who has taken his game to another level since that first night I saw him on ESPN2 high school hoops.

Honorable Mention

  • JaJuan Johnson & E. Moore
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton
  • The Morris Twins
  • Jacob Pullen
  • Dwight Hardy
  • Tu Holloway
  • Isiah Thomas

NOTE: There are a lot of Big Men who should go high in the NBA Draft.

Here’s the Bracket: Printable

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