The Top 10 Little-Known Names to Know for the NCAA Tournament
With the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament fast approaching, most of the nation's focus is on the top ranked teams and household names.
But look a little deeper at the teams not too many people are buzzing about, and several quality players emerge that for the most part have gone unnoticed by the national eye.
This list breaks down the top 10 players that haven't been receiving a significant amount of time in the spotlight but could do some unexpected damage come tournament time.
Some of these players you may know well by name, but most of them you probably aren't too familiar with. All of them should have a chance to shine once it's tournament time.
No. 10: Gerald Lee, Old Dominion
Forward Gerald lee of Old Dominion is averaging 14.8 ppg on .542 shooting to lead his team in his senior season.
The 6'10" 250 pound big man plays even larger than his size. His low post game is solid, but it's his soft touch and long range that really drive opponents crazy.
Lee is seven of 10 from downtown this season, and if Old Dominion does any damage in the Tournament, it'll be because of the big fellow.
Expected to be between the ninth and 11th seed in the South bracket, Old Dominion (25-8) has displayed a solid all around game throughout the year.
The reason for that is No. 12. He opens up the floor for everyone on the team.
No. 9: Derek Glasser, Arizona State
Senior guard Derek Glasser is the third-leading scorer for the Sun Devils, but he's usually one of their keys to victory amidst a 22-9 season that should have them seeded anywhere from 10th to 13th in the East bracket.
Glasser may not be the best shooter on his team, but he has good three-point range with 40 makes from downtown. He also is the only consistent threat to provide assists on a daily basis for Arizona State.
Without him the offense goes stagnant and it often leads to losses. Glasser is averaging 10.2 points and 4.8 assists on the season, but he's capable of doing more on occasion.
Though he's only had one game of double-figure assists, he has excellent court-vision and creates openings for teammates with a nice penetration game.
The senior point guard is the locker room leader of this squad.
No. 8: Wayne Chism, Tennessee
Wayne Chism is better know for his hair than his play on the court, but the Tennessee senior is a standout player that can dominate on both ends of the floor when things are going well for the Volunteers.
Chism won't wow you with scoring, but it's the little things that set the 6'9" 246 pound big man aside.
He's averaging 12.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1.2 steals on .469 shooting. Chism is one of the leaders for the Vols, who could do some serious damage in the tournament.
Their 23-7 record should warrant at least the fourth seed in the West bracket. They won't do much without the leadership and skills of Chism, though. Look out for the big man and his orange hair doo.
No. 7: Alex Franklin, Siena
Siena is a team that doesn't receive much attention from around the nation despite their 26-6 record.
They haven't faced as tough a schedule as some of the other teams out there, though, and as a result, Alex Franklin has been somewhat of an afterthought in his senior season.
Franklin is averaging 16.1 ppg on .564 shooting while adding 7.9 rpg and 1.4 steals.
The 6'5" forward/guard has a solid inside-out skill set and is able to matchup with many taller forwards on both ends of the court. A good defender, Franklin will get the dirty buckets as well as the fancy midrange jumpers.
Siena is between the 10th and 12th seed in the South bracket, and while most experts don't have them escaping round one, if they do Frankin will be the name buzzing around the country.
No. 6: Derrick Caracter, UTEP
Junior forward Derrick Caracter of UTEP is big. Very big. At 6'7" 275 pounds, he's a mountain under the basket that isn't bullied easily on either end of the court.
He's averaging 14.3 points and 8.4 rebounds a game on .552 shooting. For a player his size, Caracter can really move his feet when he finds himself near the rim, and there aren't many players who can back down their defender with such ease.
UTEP should be seeded anywhere from seventh to ninth in the South bracket and are one of the sleepers experts from around the league have targeted to exceed expectations in the tournament.
Look out for Caracter, you can't miss him.
No. 5: Trevor Booker, Clemson
Senior forward Trevor Booker is one of the leaders on and off the court for the Clemson Tigers. One of the best all-around players in the country, Booker leads by example.
At 6'7" 240 lbs, Booker is a large body under the basket, but moves with more grace and agility than most his size. His shooting percentage of .519 is the lowest of his college career, but the contribution he brings to the table goes beyond shooting.
Booker is averaging 15.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 bpg, and 1.4 spg. There are few players from around the country with stat lines like that.
The Tigers are expected to land anywhere from the eighth to 10 seed in the Midwest bracket. That could mean a face-off with Texas in round one.
While the Longhorns would be favored to win that contest, a guy like Booker could swing it the other way.
No. 4: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
Al-Farouq Aminu of Wake Forest is one of the names to keep a close eye on in the tournament.
The 6'7" forward is really coming into his own in his second season after putting up 12.9 ppg in his freshman year. This time around he's averaging 15.9 points on .458 shooting.
But his contribution goes well beyond points scored. Aminu plays way bigger than his size and is one of the best rebounders in the country. His 10.8 rpg leads Wake Forest.
Aminu is a beast above the glass and there aren't many who can box out his man for boards better than the sophomore forward.
He also adds 1.5 steals and blocks a night. His combination of size and athleticism is truly impressive. If Wake Forest is able to advance far, it'll be on Aminu's coattail.
No. 3: Denis Clemente, Kansas State
Denis Clemente has emerged as one of the better players in the country in his senior year. He is the second-leading scorer for a very dangerous Kansas State team many expect to see making a trip to at least the elite eight.
Clemente has the skill set to score from almost anywhere on the court and when he's hot, there are few players better in the nation. The 6'1" native of Puerto Rico is averaging 16 points and 3.9 assists on the year.
But he's the type of player who elevates his game against big-time opponents. He had 22 points against UNLV, 24 points against Texas A&M, and 21 points against Kansas.
Clemente loves the spotlight, and he will be one of the names shinning this month.
No. 2: Jimmy Butler, Marquette
Junior Jimmy Butler isn't leading Marquette in scoring, but the 6'6" guard is capable of exploding on any given night.
He's quick, has a solid all-around offensive game, and when he's hot, he's hot. Butler is averaging 15.2 points and 6.5 rebounds on .538 shooting. He's also 15-30 on the year from downtown.
While three-point shooting isn't the best part of his game, when he decides to go long the court often opens up wide.
This was his first season of meaningful production, and he's steadily increased throughout the year. Come tournament time, Butler will be ripe to blossom.
Marquette is looking at a ninth or 10th seed in the Midwest bracket, and while senior Lazar Haywood is expected to lead the charge, it'll be Butler who decides how far this team goes.
No. 1: Ryan Wittman, Cornell
Senior forward Ryan Wittman is leading Cornell in scoring with 17.5 ppg. He's a threat to score from almost anywhere on the court and is one of the best three-point shooters in the country.
Wittman is a matchup disaster for defenders. At 6'7", he can shoot over you or drive to the basket with a nice set of close range skills.
He's shooting .420 from beyond the arc and has 100 three-pointers on the year. There aren't many players who can stretch the court the way he can.
Cornell is expected to land the 10th or 11th seed in the Midwest and owe a big part of their 25-4 record to No. 20.
They'll surprise people in the tournament, and you can be sure Wittman is going to hit some big shots down the stretch.