Little Players, Big Game: College Basketball's Small-Statured Stars
"Rock Chalk Championship! Kansas takes the title!" That was the end of a heartbreaking 2008 for many players, but that was last year, and now there are six little players dreaming of the big time.
We will start off the list with senior Kellen McCoy, who needs to have a big season for Weber State for his team to have a chance at the tournament next year. He is tied with Tajuan Porter for the shortest player on this list, standing 5'6" and weighing in at 175 pounds.
Kellen is not the greatest shooter, and he will not amaze you with his athleticism, but he still averaged 8.8 points per game making smart plays. The Wildcats' two top scorers last season both graduated, and now it is all up to this little man to carry the team and their dreams for a tournament bid.
Next is an amazing shooter who can light it up from deep and who showed off his shooting ability immediately, making 10 threes while scoring 38 points versus Portland State in his third career game.
Tajuan Porter, the shortest player in the Pac-10 at 5'6", broke the Oregon Ducks' record with 110 threes as a freshman, the second-most ever in NCAA history for a freshman. He's clutch, very confident, and is the most likely player to go pro.
For most of these guys, there is no next level. They probably will not go pro, but that doesn't stop any of them from leaving it all on the floor every game, season after season, no matter the score or the opponent. That is why we cheer for the little guy, why the underdog always has that spot in our hearts. Now we may continue with the list.
UAB had a great recruiting year, and now Aaron Johnson and his team are pumped for next season and hoping to make a run in the tournament. Aaron is 5'8" but is a fierce competitor, using his blazing speed and good court vision. He has given Blazer fans high hopes for this season.
Aaron is a fan favorite and ranked second on the team in assists last season. He is a tough kid who grew up with 11 brothers and sisters in Chicago. He teams up with Robert Vaden and Paul Delaney III to make this Blazers' backcourt very dangerous and will be the main obstacle standing between Memphis and a fourth straight Conference USA title.
Tweety—it just sounds small. But there is nothing small about this little man's game. Tweety Carter is listed at a very generous 5'10", but either way he is the tallest player on this list. The junior guard for the Baylor Bears is described by coaches as "a scoring point guard with unlimited shooting range."
Tweety is the first All-American to play at Baylor and showed off his skill in his freshman season, breaking out and scoring 31 points and making seven threes against Syracuse. Tweety and the Bears are looking for a second straight tournament appearance.
Nebraska fans are hoping for a lot more than another NIT appearance coming into the 2009 season, and a lot of that will depend on their starting point guard, Cookie Miller. That's a lot of pressure for a 5'7", 165-pound player, but do not doubt the Cookie Monster, who led his Harmony Community squad to a number five prep school ranking while averaging 18 points and eight assists.
Cookie can use his unbelievable speed to run by Big 12 opponents but also has enough awareness to find his teammates for some easy scores. Cookie and the Cornhuskers are looking for a big season from their little guard.
Last but not least is a man who averaged 23 points last season and scored 39 points twice, David Holston. He not only led his Chicago State Cougars in points, assists, and steals, he also was 10th in all of college basketball in points per game last season.
David is a great athlete who can put the ball on the floor and drive past you or just pull up and drain a three. Look for this little 5'8" guard to be at the top again this season as he enters his senior season.
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