March Madness 2011: Top 10 Superstars in This Year's Tournament
The 2011 March Madness is full of premiere young basketball players that are soon to be NBA-bound. However, before moving to the next level, there is no match for college basketball players like March Madness and the NCAA tournament.
It is here where we separate the men from the boys, the clutch from the not-so clutch, and the winners from the losers.
It's up to the superstars of the top-tier teams to prove who is worthy of hoisting of the almighty trophy at tournament's end.
Here's a look at the best of the best in this year's dance.
10. Derrick Williams (Arizona)
Williams led the Wildcats with 19.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG and 24 blocks on the season. Williams also had a ridiculous three-point field-goal percentage of 60.3.
As a result of Williams' leadership, the Wildcats willed their way to a 27-7 season and 14-4 overall in the Pac-10.
There is no doubt that this forward will be a superstar in this year's NCAA tournament that can take Arizona as far as they believe they can go.
9. Brad Wanamaker (Pittsburgh)
Wanamaker may not put up the most points, or grab the most rebounds, but there's no doubt he's a well-rounded athlete with big play ability.
Wanamaker averaged 12 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 5.1 RPG.
He's a solid all-around contributor, a big reason behind the success of the Pittsburgh Panthers and how they arrived at a No. 1 seed.
8. Ben Hansbrough (Notre Dame)
Hansbrough led the Fighting Irish this season with 18.6 PPG and 4.3 RPG. He shot 44.1 percent from downtown and is making people realize he's not just Tyler's younger brother.
Hansbrough has a stroke that can hit from anywhere on the court, and if he has a productive tournament and Notre Dame does as well, there is no doubt he will be joining his brother in the NBA.
7. Harrison Barnes (North Carolina)
Harrison Barnes is only a freshman, but he's turning heads nonetheless. Barnes has been in the highlights several times for his clutch moments in big spots for UNC this season.
He led the Tar Heels, who earned a No. 2 seed in the tournament, with 15 points per game this season.
If you're on the fence about whether or not he's a superstar, wait a couple of games into the tournament and then reassess the "Barnes."
6. Kyle Singler (Duke)
Singler averaged 17.1 points per game this season and his presence in the NCAA was felt all the way across the nation.
Kyle is an ideal big man in a Coach K offense that loves to facilitate the basketball.
Singler has progressively improved and because he's been at Duke all four years and won a national championship, there's nothing to argue against him being a superstar in the NCAA.
5. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
If it wasn't for Kemba Walker, the Huskies wouldn't have won the Big East. Walker threw a crossover on Pittsburgh's Gary McGhee that was so lethal it just about broke his ankles.
Kemba averaged 23.5 points per game, which was first on the Huskies, as well as 4.3 assists per game which also led the team. There's no doubt Connecticut's premiere guard is a superstar in this tournament.
He won the Big East, can he win the big tournament now?
4. JaJuan Johnson (Purdue)
JaJuan Johnson led the Boilermakers with 20.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.
Purdue went 25-7 and 14-4 in the extremely competitive Big Ten, and it's in large part because of JaJuan Johnson's play.
His ability at 6'10" to have 25-foot range and have the wherewithal to play aggressive in the paint makes him one of the most complete packages a superstar in the NCAA has to offer.
3. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
Fredette led the country with 28.5 points per game, and 112 three-pointers this season. Jimmer's one of the purest shooters the NCAA has ever seen.
Jimmer shot 45.6 percent from the field and single-handedly dominated every player that tried to match up against him.
The Cougars in turn went 30-4 and finished second in the Mountain West. Watch out for Jimmer in the tournament, he can break down any defense on any given day.
2. Nolan Smith (Duke)
Nolan Smith led the Duke Blue Devils with 21.3 PPG and 4.6 APG this season.
He's got the versatility that every coach loves to see in a young guard. Smith knows how to get himself open, how to get teammates open and knows how to make plays in transition.
Smith's a big reason why Duke is a No. 1 seed. He has the poise, the swagger and the confidence every superstar has in the game of basketball.
Expect big things to come for Mr. Nolan Smith.
1. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
Jared Sullinger led the Buckeyes with 17.2 PPG and 10.1 RPG. He shot 53 percent from the field, and also had 43 assists, 32 steals and 19 blocks in 34 games this season.
Sullinger seems to have figured out the secret to successful college basketball—spreading the floor and finding the open man.
Most often, it's Sullinger that gets open, but Ohio State faithfuls are certainly OK,with that. His ability to come in this year and command respect through his play from not only his coaches and teammates but everyone of his opponents shows his maturity and confidence for such a young player.
Superstar status—I think so.