March Madness is in full swing, so what better way to celebrate the month than by acknowledging the best players in the country?
Disclaimer: Two considerations are made for this team:
1. Players production in correlation to team success & laying the foundation for continued growth & success.
2. My desire to coach/enjoyment level of seeing these kids play.
So, inclusion here is the purpose. There’s four teams & 20 guys to be split amongst them. This team is built from the idea of creating an actual team of superhero players in the college game. Let’s get into it.
Jalen Brunson, 6’3” Guard | Junior | Villanova
• 19.4 pts 4.7 asts 41% 4FG• Big East Player of the Year• Wooden Award Finalist
Trae Young 6’2” Guard | Freshman | Oklahoma
• 27.4 pts 8.7 asts 86% FT • Big 12 Freshman of the Year • Wood Award Finalist
Miles Bridges 6’7” Forward | Sophomore | Michigan State
• 16.9 points, 6.9 rebs, 2.8 assists, 88% FT
Marvin Bagley III 6’11” Center | Freshman | Duke
• 21.1pts 11.5 rebs 61% FG, 37% 3FG• ACC Player, Freshman of the Year
DeAndre Ayton 7’1” Center | Freshman | Arizona
• 20.3pts, 8.2 rebs,, 62% Fg, 36% 3Fg• Pac-12 Player, Freshman of the Year, All Pac-12 First Team, Defensive Team
I dare you to direct me to a better quintet in college basketball this season. Jalen Brunson has been a starter in 109 of the 110 games he’s played at the Division I level & it shows. Coaches, take notes. Stop sitting freshmen because they’re freshmen.
Trae Young gave us the best freshmen season we’ve ever seen from a guard during the same season that Marvin Bagley III (more on him later) did for the post game. But please, stop with the Steph comparisons. The analysts don’t have anything better to do & old dogs don’t hear well. But I challenge my generation to educate themselves to the capacity that we no longer rely on player comps to get a point across. I can confidently project the thought process I have for any player I speak on. Feel free to @ me.
Miles Bridges is an absolute winner. He didn’t have to come back & did. Here’s to him taking his coach to a title & his talents to the NBA, where he’ll be appreciated as opposed to lied on.
Random Fact: DeAndre Ayton & Marvin Bagley III played high school ball together. Let that sink in.
Devonte’ Graham 6’2” Guard | Senior | Kansas
• 17.3 pts, 7.5 assists, 38 minutes • Big 12 Player of the Year
Kyle Guy 6’3” Guard | Sophomore | Virginia
• 14.1 pts, 50% 3FG, .6 turnovers(61 total turnovers in career)
Trevon Bluiett 6’6” Forward | Senior | Xavier
• 19.5 pts, 5.7 rebs, 25 asts, 42% 3FG, 86% FT
Luke Maye 6’7” Forward | Junior | North Carolina
• 17.2 pts, 10.1 rebs, 44% 3FG
Jock Landale 6’11 Center | Senior | St Mary’s
• 21.5pts, 10.1 rebs, 64% FG, 65% 2FG
This second team is filled with low mistake, high IQ guys who are going to be efficient, effective & elaborate with everything you do. You trust your recruits to spend time with these guys. They’re your team captains in just about every setting they’ve been in.
Here’s hoping Luke Maye ignites a trend across the country. If guys are working hard, they deserve opportunities. Regardless of how many stars ESPN gave them while seeing them in mostly AAU settings only.
Jevon Carter | 6’2” Guard | Senior | West Virginia
• 17.0 pts, 6.6 asts, 2.9 steals• Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year
Keenan Evans | 6’3” Guard | Senior | Texas Tech
• 17.5 pts, 3.0 rebs, 3.1 asts• 2nd in Big 12 in FT attempts
Gary Clark | 6’8” Guard | Senior | Cincinnati
• 13.0 pts, 8.5 rebs, 43% from deep• AAC Player of the Year
Mike Daum | 6’9” Forward | Junior | South Dakota State
• 23.8 pts, 10.4 rebs, 42% 3Fg, 86% FT• Back-to-back Summit League Player of the Year
Keita Bates-Diop | 6’7” Guard | RS Junior | Ohio State
• 19.4 pts, 8.8 rebs, 1.1 asts• Big Ten Player of the Year
The lunch pail & hard hat guys that you absolutely know will bring it every night. Also, Gary Clark is the most productive, valuable player in college basketball. Highly efficient. Terrific IQ. The NBA loves potential & youth but as we transition towards improving the pro model, its time these veteran college guys stop being disrespected.
Imagine if we celebrated CJ McCollum & Malcolm Brogdon as much as we talk about Lonzo Ball & Jayson Tatum.
Aaron Holiday | 6’1” Guard | Junior | UCLA
• 20.3 pts, 5.8 asts, 1.3 stls, 43% 3FG
Carsen Edwards | 6’1 Guard | Sophomore | Purdue
• 18.5 pts, 3.9 rebs, 3.0 asts, 41% 3FG, 81% FT
Wendell Carter Jr | 6’10 Forward | Freshman | Duke
• 13.8 pts, 9.3 rebs, 2.1 asts.• 56% FG, 46% 3Fg, 73% FT
Mikal Bridges | 6’7” Forward | RS Junior | Villanova
• 18.0 pts, 5.4 rebs, 1.1 blks, 2.1 asts,• 52% FG, 43% 3FG, 85% FT
Nick King | 6’7” Guard-Forward | Senior | Middle Tennessee State
• 20.9 pts, 8.5 rebs, 39% 3FG
Bright bright futures ahead for every young man on this list, including the only senior. Trials & tribulations make a man stronger, wiser. Nick King has seen his share of adversity so him being able to finish college basketball on his terms, playing at a high level & taking home a conference player of the year, after all the new homes he’s had to adjust to is a story that needs to be heard. One that should be told boldly.
Mikal Bridges has so many tools on both ends of the floor & hasn’t even figured it out yet. Guys like he & Wendell Carter Jr are why I’m working so hard to get to my spot on the sidelines.
This caliber of talent deserves someone who will be excited to go to work with them & create new art with their talent every game.