The NCAA Tournament is a really interesting spectacle for many different reasons. There are certain players who are primarily focused on their studies but are also good enough to compete in Division I college basketball at a high level.
There’s also another tier of athletes who were using the college game as a stepping stone to continue playing basketball professionally. There are a few players who will be earning contracts at the NBA level next season, and their presence can factor into the March Madness betting odds.
Some of these NBA prospects might even turn out to be Hall of Famers. We’ll take a closer look at four collegiate players who have a chance to make a name for themselves at the next level.
It’s been a whirlwind of a freshman season for Alabama forward Brandon Miller. He’s been one of the premier first-year players in the sport, demonstrating elite skills that make him one of the most tantalizing professional prospects. Miller is averaging over 19 points per game, to go along with eight rebounds and efficient shooting numbers. His 6’9” frame makes him an ideal fit on almost any NBA roster.
However, Miller’s name has come up in some unsavory off the court news in the last few weeks. The Crimson Tide will be one of the favorites to win the NCAA Tournament, and it will be interesting to see if Miller gets a different reception on the bigger stage from the crowd. Miller can further stamp his top three draft potential by delivering on the floor.
Another dynamic SEC freshman is Anthony Black, who plays for the Arkansas Razorbacks. At around 12 points per game, five rebounds, and four assists per contest, his numbers don’t really jump off the page. However, Black’s 6’7” frame as a guard and ability to take the ball away(averaging two steals per game) makes him someone to keep an eye on during this year’s March Madness tournament.
Charged with ballhandling duties on a team with high expectations, the Razorbacks’ fate will rest in large part on the decisions that Black makes. He’ll need to avoid costly turnovers and keep Arkansas’ offense on schedule if they are to make a deep run in the tournament.
It’s a familiar script for the Iowa Hawkeyes. At this time, one year ago, Keegan Murray was about to lead the team to the NCAA Tournament, as his NBA Draft stock soared. As it turned out, Murray was selected fourth overall last year by the Sacramento Kings and is having a solid rookie campaign at the next level.
This year, Iowa has a similar story, except with Keegan’s brother Kris. While the Murray brothers enjoyed playing with one another in college, it is now Kris’ time to shine. At this juncture, Kris figures to be a top ten selection in this June’s draft, and the Hawkeyes will need him to continue his volume scoring in the postseason.
The Baylor Bears are going to be a dangerous team come tournament time, thanks to their experience and dynamic three guard lineup. L.J. Cryer and Adam Flagler have been staples of the Bears’ rotation for a couple of years, but Keyonte George’s ability might raise the ceiling for a team looking to make noise in March.
Fans don’t have to watch George for too long to realize that he’s something special as a talent. His moves are often more fluid than his opponents, and he has the ability to rise up over defenders on the boards. If Baylor is able to get out in transition, look for George to be on the end of some highlight reel plays.
Leave a Reply