College Basketball's Pivotal Seniors in 2009
In this era of college basketball its rare for a star player to see through his four years of eligibility. In 2008 the marque teams were led by freshman.
Derrick Rose took Memphis to the title game for the first time since 1973.
Kevin Love gave UCLA an inside presence they lacked the previous two seasons and helped lead them to their third consecutive Final Four.
Michael Beasley led Kansas State to it first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996 and their first win since 1988.
Other freshmen stars included USC's O.J. Mayo, Arizona's Jarryd Bayless and Indiana's Eric Gordon.
In 2009 many of the successful teams have had to rely on their Seniors to earn the success they have achieved.
Tyler Hansbrough - North Carolina
Tyler Hansbrough had a storybook career at North Carolina. He led the Tar Heels to their second straight Final Four.
He is a three time All-American that won the National Freshman of the Year in 2006. He is the ACC's all-time leading scorer and free throw shooter (made attempts). He won over 30 awards in his career.
In 2009, Hansbrough averaged 20.1 PPG and 8.1 RPG. After an Elite Eight Appearance in 2007 and a loss in the National Semifinals in 2008 Hansbrough and co. finally achieved a National Championship.
UNC had one of the most dominating runs to a national championship. They won every game by double digits.
Danny Green and Bobby Frasor were also key seniors for Roy Williams.
Green averaged 13.1 PPG and shot 41.8% from three point range.
Frasor was a capable backup to Tywon Lawson.
Levance Fields and Sam Young - Pittsburgh
Fields continued in the latest tradition of great point guards at Pittsburgh. He meant more to Pittsburgh than most stats can rely.
His astounding 3.8/1 astounding to turnover ratio was the reason Pittsburgh had one of its best seasons in school history. He also averaged 10.7 PPG and 7.5 APG and was the team leader with Young.
Young was a four year contributor who improved every year. In his senior season he posted 19.2 PPG and 6.3 RPG.
Terrence Williams - Louisville
Terrence Williams has been described as a freakish athlete by Coach Rick Pitino. Williams was the most dynamic player in the Big East in 2009.
In 2008, Williams posted the third and fourth triple doubles in school history. He is the only UL player to ever have a triple double twice.
The 2009 Big East season has been described as the best in conference history. Williams led Louisville to the regular season and tournament titles this year. The Cardinals fell one game short of the Final Four for the second straight season.
Teammate Jerry Smith said that Williams is a potential triple double every night. He averaged 12.7 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 5.0 APG and 2.6 steals.
A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien- UConn
The days of two senior leading a team in scoring are indeed rare. In 2009, A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien led UConn in scoring and to a Final Four.
Price was able to overcome illiness, injury and legal troubles to become a memorable player for the Huskies. Coming back from a torn ACL, Price led UConn in scoring and assists. In reaching the Final Four, Price achieved what his father did 30 years earlier. Tony Price led Penn to the Final Four in 1979.
Adrien became a starter as a sophomore in 2007 and was arguably their best player during that time. He posted over 13 PPG and Nine rebounds during each of the past three seasons.
Demarre Carroll and Leo Lyons - Missouri
Carroll and Lyons were the heart and soul of Missouri's run to the Elite Eight. Their trip to the NCAA Tournament was the Tigers first since 2003 and their Elite Eight Finish, their first since 2002. Carroll and Lyons led MU in scoring and were the only Tigers to average double figures.
Darren Collison, Alfred Aboya and Josh Shipp - UCLA
Other than winning a national championship, this senior class has accomplished more than any UCLA graduating class since the 1970's. In their four years in Westwood, Alfred Aboya, Josh Shipp and Darren Collison finished 123-26, won three Pac-Ten titles, two Pac-Ten Tournament Titles, advanced to three Final Fours and played in one national championship game.
They will be remembered as the class that helped Ben Howland restore UCLA basketball to College Basketball Elite.
Dante Cunningham, Shane Clark and Dwayne Anderson - Villanova
When Dante Cunningham, Shane Clark and Dwayne Anderson arrived at Villanova, they were reserves as part of a great Villanova team that advanced to the Elite Eight.
Three years later they left as part of one of the most successful classes in Villanova history. In the past four season, Villanova has advanced to three Sweet Sixteens, two Elite Eights and in this season made their first Final Four since 1985.
Cunningham raised his averages significantaly every season. In 2009 he was the team leader in rebounds and scoring.
Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon - Washington
Washington has seen unprecedented success under Lorezno Romar. The class of 2009 had a lot to do with that.
They entered in the fall of 2005 following one of the most successful seasons in school history. They left with the school's first outright Pac-Ten Championship since 1953.
Justin Dentmon and Jon Brockman both enjoyed great careers as Huskies.
Denton ran Romar's high powered offense and Brockman provided toughness, rebounding and inside scoring.
Baylor Senior Class
In 2003, Baylor basketball dealt with one of the biggest scandals in college basketball history. When the class of 2009 entered Baylor they dealt with the specter of NCAA Sanctions and no non-conference schedule as freshman.
In their four years in Waco they accomplished as much as any class ever has there. Under Scott Drew they went to their first NCAA Tournament in 20 years in 2008, advanced to the Big XII conference tournament and Championship Game of the NIT Tournament in 2009 and won the school's first postseason game in 59 years and their 65 victories were the most in school history.
Jerrells finished his career third in school history in scoring behind NBA Players Micheal Willams and Terry Teagle.
Jerrels, Kevin Rogers, Henry Dugat and Mamadou Diene can all be remembered as helping Drew set the foundation for future success at Baylor.
Jeff Pendergraph - Arizona State
Pendergraph was a four year started at ASU who was a key player in helping Herb Sendek lead the Sun Devils to only their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance since 1981 and the first time the Sun Devils have won 20 games in back to back seasons since 1979-81.
Pendergraph averaged double figures every year in
Tempe. He helped change the culture of losing.
Pendergraph and Sophomore James Harden were the core that turned around the fortunes of Sun Devils basketball. The past two seasons with the best back-to-back seasons since Fat Lever, Byron Scott and Alton Lister matriculated in Tempe.