One aspect of the NCAA tournament is the fact that so many players get a chance to make a name for themselves on the sport’s biggest stage. Some have the ability to lead their teams to a national title while others can produce a moment that makes them a household name for years to come.
Here are 10 big men (in no particular order) that you’ll want to be aware of before the tournament gets going on Tuesday.
Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
This one’s pretty straightforward as the freshman forward is the best player on the top overall seed in the tournament. You’ve heard the stories about the growth spurt and his overall skill set has NBA scouts salivating. If the Wildcats are to win the national title he’ll be a big reason why.
Thomas Robinson (Kansas)
The other accepted favorite for National Player of the Year honors is Robinson, who took the reins for the Jayhawks and hasn’t shown any signs of a letdown. Averaging 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, the junior forward from the nation’s capital has the ability to lead the Jayhawks to a national title.
John Henson (North Carolina)
Already a mediocre defensive team, the Tar Heels were even worse at the ACC tournament with Henson out with a wrist injury. The junior forward’s health will be one of the major storylines this week, as if he’s not 100 percent a team with national title potential loses a little luster.
Royce White (Iowa State)
White plays the role of the point guard for the Cyclones despite his 6-9, 250-pound frame, and it’s that versatility that makes him a player to watch. Those who are jumping for joy over a possible UConn/Kentucky match-up in the third round may want to hold off on that for the time being.
Draymond Green (Michigan State)
Green made mention of Tom Izzo’s words about leaving a footprint in the sand, and after winning a Big Ten regular season title and following that with a tournament crown there’s one piece of business left to attend to. The senior forward a coach on the floor for the Spartans, and he’ll need to continue that if they’re to win a national title.
De’Mon Brooks (Davidson)
Bob McKillop’s got three very talented players that will concern Louisville with the SoCon Player of the Year being one of them. They’ve already beaten Kansas, and with the forward leading the way the Cardinals better be careful.
Doug McDermott (Creighton)
McDermott has been one of the best players in the country this season, and he’s got the potential to lead the Bluejays a long way. And yes, that’s taking into consideration the fact that they’re in an 8/9 game. The sophomore forward is that good.
Drew Gordon (New Mexico)
Gordon felt a bit disrespected due to the fact that he wasn’t named Mountain West Player of the Year (San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin won). The UCLA transfer is averaging 13.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, and with the senior center’s athleticism and physical strength Gordon’s a tough match-up inside.
Cody Zeller (Indiana)
The freshman center is one of the reasons why the Hoosiers are back in the NCAA tournament, as his ability to score on the block opens things up for Indiana’s perimeter shooters.
Perry Jones III (Baylor)
He’s another likely lottery selection whenever he chooses to enter the NBA Draft, and Jones showed why with his 31-point, 11-rebound showing against Kansas State on Thursday night. But he can also disappear within games, something that cannot happen if the Bears are to get to the Final Four.