NCAA Tournament's Most Valuable Players

Jacqueline KirbyContributor IIIApril 5, 2011

NCAA Tournament's Most Valuable Players

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  The Connecticut Huskies react after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament by a score of 53-41 at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Te
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The 2011 NCAA Tournament was a great pedestal for many players.  

    Some we have known long before the tournament started, like Harrison Barnes, Nolan Smith, Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker.

    For lesser known players, the tournament brought them to household name status and placed them in the limelight.

Kemba Walker

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies cuts down the net after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament by a score of 53-41 at Reliant Stadium
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Kemba Walker was the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and the recipient of the Bob Cousy Award for being the best point guard in the country.  

    Any objections to the titles?  

    Didn't think so.  

    He averaged 23.7 points per game in the tournament and has helped the team win 11 straight postseason games.  

    If the UConn students have their way, Walker will stay around another year, but it looks like this guy has a promising future in the NBA.  

Jimmer Fredette

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    HOUSTON - APRIL 03:  Jimmer Fredette of BYU received the 2011 Naismith Trophy Presented by AT&T at the NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Program on April 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    BYU's Golden Boy Jimmer Fredette made an even bigger name for himself during the tournament. Fredette beat out big names like Kemba Walker and Nolan Smith for the Naismith Men's College Player of the Year Award.  

    Although BYU didn't make it all the way, Fredette put up some impressive numbers for his team.

    In the game against Wofford he scored 32 points, he had 34 against Gonzaga, and scored another 32 in the loss to Florida.  

    Not too shabby there Jimmer!

Harrison Barnes

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    NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 27:  Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels in action against Josh Harrellson #55 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the east regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Prudential Center on March 27, 2011 i
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    The University of North Carolina Freshman has been impressive throughout the season, but really shined for the Tar Heels in the postseason.  

    He helped lead them to the Elite Eight, with an average of 21 points per game in the tournament.

Derrick Williams

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 26:  Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts after a dunk against of the Connecticut Huskies during the west regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 26, 2011 in Anaheim, Cali
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The Arizona powerhouse streamed them right past Duke in the Sweet Sixteen game.  In the game, Williams scored four of the teams' five three-pointers.  

    He averaged 22.8 points overall in the tournament.  

    This kid will only continue to improve for the Wildcats in seasons to come. 

Matt Howard

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Matt Howard #54 of the Butler Bulldogs looks on against the Connecticut Huskies during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    He had a less than stellar performance Monday night, shooting just one for 13 and bringing in only seven points for the Butler Bulldogs.  

    But that doesn't mean we can just write off the work he did to help get them to the title game.  

    Howard averaged around 16 points per game in the tournament.

    He has been a role model for the younger players and has left a mark on Butler basketball.

Shelvin Mack

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs celebrate after a shot to end the first half against the Connecticut Huskies during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium o
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The guard for Butler is essentially who propelled them past the Final Four and onto the Championship game.

     Mack averaged 20.3 points per game and scored 24 in the win against VCU.  

Jamie Skeen

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Jamie Skeen #21 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams reacts after hitting a three pointer and drawing a foul against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    VCU was the Cinderella story, making the Final Four as an 11 seed, and freshman Jamie Skeen helped get them there by averaging 17.5 points each game.  

Brandon Knight

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Brandon Knight #12 of the Kentucky Wildcats moves the ball while taking on the Connecticut Huskies during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Last, but certainly not least, is Kentucky's Brandon Knight.  The freshman who was named the National Player of the Year in both his junior and senior years of high school (only the third person to do that behind LeBron James and Greg Oden) averaged 16 points in each game leading to their loss in the Final Four to UConn. 

NBA Draft

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Shabazz Napier #13 and Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrate with the trophy after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament by a sc
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The interesting thing will be to see how many of these players will stick around  and how many will leave for the NBA.  

    Some of their odds have definitely been increased for getting drafted after their excellent play in the tournament.