March Madness is almost here and just like in past years we will see plenty of Cinderellas and upsets and there will be a few standout players who will rise up the draft boards. Remember the play of Tyrus Thomas at LSU a few years ago? His tournament heroics vaulted him to the number 4 overall pick in the 2006 draft.
So who might the standout players be in 2011?
If UCLA is able to get past a tough Michigan State team I think they could make a deep run and make players like Tyler Honeycutt and Joshua Smith into household names. Honeycutt can be streaky and the Bruins will need a hot streak from the small forward if they want to advance. Joshua Smith seems to be coming into his own later in the season and is an imposing presence inside. If he can stay out of foul trouble he can do big things.
Vanderbilt has no less than three pro prospects in John Jenkins, Jeffrey Taylor, and Festus Ezeli (left). They play Richmond in the round of 64 and potentially Louisville in the round of 32. After that Kansas looms large but if the three players mentioned above can perform at a high level, anything is possible. Very few people know the names John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli. By next week they might.
Finally, Tristan Thompson of Texas could be the next Freshman sensation to burst onto the national scene with a big tournament. Texas has a tough road and a young team but a ton of talent to make a run.
The NCAA Tournament is nearly impossible to predict and just has hard to ignore. It’s finally that time of year again, when stars are born and legends are made. Good luck to all. Let’s play some ball!
by NBA Draft Room