Four NBA Stars That Once Dominated March Madness
March is the best month of the year to be a basketball fan. With the NBA in full swing and, of course, the NCAA March Madness Tournament as a fixture of the sport, it’s a good time to get a preview of the future professional superstars and to look back and current top players getting it done at the collegiate level. Here are some of our favorite moments of tourneys past from current NBA beasts.
Carmelo Anthony Shreds as a Freshman
Melo may have been run out of every town he’s played in since reaching the pros, but there was a time when he was a young and seemingly humble upstart freshman. Way back in the halcyon days of 2003, he led Syracuse to their first championship ever by dropping 33 points on the University of Texas in the semifinals, following it up with 20 points and 10 boards against the University of Kansas. In retrospect, maybe there’s a reason he got such a big head.
Dwayne Wade Gets a Triple-Double
The same year Melo stopped being mellow, D-Wade knocked a triple-double, only the fourth ever, with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists as he led his Marquette team to a victory over the University of Kentucky. Did we mention that Kentucky was the top ranked team in the field and the favorite to take the crown? Unfortunately, they ran into Kansas in the Final Four, but Flash earned his spot in the draft that year.
Steph Curry Dominates the Field
Stephen Curry has become one of the most dominant players in the pros, but in college he was even more of a force. In 2008, dude led Davidson to the Elite Eight by scoring 40 on Gonzaga, 30 against Georgetown, and 33 against Wisconsin. They ultimately lost to Kansas, who was able to shut him down, holding him to only 25 points to win by 2. Wait, maybe some of his teammates should have helped out a little.
Blake Griffin Shreds Everybody
In 2009, Griffin averaged 25.8 points and 16.5 rebounds per game in the tournament as he led Oklahoma deep into the field, only to get tossed by number 1 seed North Carolina. In that game, he performed below average, with only 23 points and 16 rebounds. You know he’s good when those numbers are below average for the future number 1 pick.
(Cropped image courtesy of Eric Wong via Flickr.)