Players You Don’t Want To Miss In The 2021 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament

    As the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournament get underway in Indianapolis and San Antonio, those in “Naptown” and the “Alamo” will be delighted to discover that there’s no shortage of talent when it comes to these student-athletes. 

    The ballers to watch starts with Cade Cunningham, the 6’8 stud from Oklahoma State who’s the projected top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. He led the Cowboys to the Big 12 title game and he’s most capable of leading his team on a run to the Final Four. 

    He’s clutch and unbothered by any defense he sees. The kid’s a  41.2 % shooter from deep and an active defender. He averages 20.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and a combined 3.2 steals and blocks per game. 

    Point blank, he’s just good at basketball.

    Ayo Dosunmu leads an awfully talented Illinois team that has what it takes to win it all. He truly has the clutch gene, as he hit big shots in wins versus Ohio, Ohio State (twice), Nebraska, Indiana and Northwestern this season.

    Sporting a mask that resembles “BATMAN” the kid has just been big time for the upstart Illini this season. Averaging 20.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game, while knocking in 38.8 from three for the Midwest region’s top seed.

    His backcourt mate Andre Curbelo from Long Island Lutheran in Brookville, Long Island, is so talented and provides a Northeast swag that the Illini feeds off of.

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    Gonzaga is the top overall seed and the only undefeated team in college basketball at (26-0). They’re led by a three-headed monster in Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert and Drew Timme.

    Suggs sets the table at point guard (6.0 assists per game), Kispert provides unlimited range shooting the basketball, (45.0%) from three-point range.

    And Drew Timme gives them a versatile post player who can step out and score, while also commanding double-teams in the post. No team scores at the rim more as the Zags get (49.0%) of their scoring there. Suggs is a projected top-5 NBA draft pick.

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    They have two wildcards in guards Jay Ayayi and Andrew Nembhard, and when they play well it’s usually a blowout waiting for the opposing team.

    The Alabama Crimson Tide has a player in Herbert Jones whom many probably have heard of it but if you haven’t watched them play you wouldn’t understand the effect he has on a game. He was named SEC Player Of The Year and Defensive Player Of The Year.

    His numbers don’t tell the story but watching him play is fun and you develop a respect for what he does. The Tide are a No. 2 seed and very capable of going on a run. His running mates need to make the most of the shots Jones will create for them.

    Guards Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and Macio Teague lead a Baylor Bears team that secured its first-ever conference title in school history and a No.1 seed.

    Butler is the straw that stirs the drink with his ability to get anywhere on the floor as well as his knack for drawing fouls and finishing through contact. He can shoot it as well. Teague supplies timely shotmaking and swag. Mitchell has also shown a propensity to make big shots and if there’s a better on-ball defender in college basketball please show me.

    Honorable Mention:

    Luka Garza – (Iowa) The big man has shown a unique inside-out skill set that should benefit the Hawkeyes in the tournament.

    Kofi Cockburn – (Illinois) The kid from Christ The King Highschool in Middle Village, Queens is the strongest player in college basketball and once he gets position it’s curtains in the post.

    Bones Hyland – (VCU) The reigning A-10 Player Of The Year has the type of skillset and moxie that could carry the Rams to a Sweet 16 and even an Elite 8 if he gets help. I call him a “Walking Bucket.” Delaware should be proud of this kid.

    Chris Duarte – (Oregon) The talented 3-and-D player for the Ducks has all the tools to wreak havoc on both ends. He shoots (44.0%) from three and averages two steals per game. He can wreck a game with his defense alone.

    Hunter Dickinson – (Michigan) The talented freshman big man by way of DeMatha High School has been good all season for Juwan Howard and “Hail To The Victor.” With leading scorer Isaiah Livers probably out of the tournament with a foot injury, they’ll need more from Dickinson.