March Madness Talent Then and Now
The Cinderella story of Stephen F. Austin loosing in the closing moments to Notre Dame broke all our of hearts. We all enjoyed watching Thomas Walkup do it all in their first round upset against 3-seeded West Virginia. He also came very close to pulling off the upset against the Fighting Irish. He will be one March Madness talent that will be remembered.
Now that the Lumberjacks are eliminated, we don’t have any remaining underdogs we’re all secretly rooting for. Yes, Syracuse and Gonzaga are 10 and 11 seeds, respectively, but we have seen them in the tournament year in and year out. Not to mention, they have historically had great programs.
While Thomas Walkup stole the show this tournament, their have been plenty of other Cinderella teams that had their go-to-player show the world what he can do on the big stage.
Lets take a look at some of the previous stars from small schools and see where they are now.
2013 – Cleanthony Early
Cleanthony Early, Wichita State, is now with the New York Knicks. During the tournament, Cleanthony was clearly the best defender in the tournament and was drafted 34th overall the following year because of it. Wichita State fell short of upsetting #1 seed Kentucky, but any one that watched that tournament remembers the athleticism he displayed game in and game out. Now in the NBA, he hasn’t made much headlines, except for the fact he was robbed and shot in late December. He recently just played his first game of the year.
2011 – Troy Daniels
Troy Daniels, Virginia Commonwealth University, led his team to the Sweet 16 and had an incredible tournament run. He has since had his
high school jersey retired and is enjoying a solid career in the NBA D league and NBA.
2010/11 – Butler
Butler has had as much NBA talent as the recent Kentucky teams. Not only did 2 of their players get selected in the NBA draft, but there head coach Brad Stevens is now an NBA coach. Stevens, now coaching the Celtics, is currently the 3 seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs. Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack lit up the tournament. They helped carry Butler to National Championship games back-to-back years. Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack are teammates, once again, for the Utah Jazz.