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Stars will be Stars, Or will They?
By Reel Robinson

Stars will be stars, or will they?

There's no question that NCAA basketball starts to gain momentum around this time of the year. March madness is among us, as the conference tournaments start to heat up and teams jockey for their rightful positions in sports most exciting and unpredictable post season events, we start to see who are the pretenders and legit contenders across the country. The attention of this college basketball season has been undoubtedly the polarizing effect of freshman players and their impacts on their teams. With the publicity of freshman superstars like Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and Jabari Parker of Duke the country has been pleasantly gifted with chances to see some young players come of age in this year tournament festivities. Growing up, I remember hearing about players like Magic Johnson and seeing Carmelo Anthony at a young age lead their teams to cutting down those covenant NCAA championship nets. I have also witnessed veteran leaders like Kemba Walker a few years ago lead his team on an amazing run through the tournament leading to a Championship celebration for the UCONN Huskies.

This is the time when players who we all expect to become NBA prospects and major contributors to a franchise in the near future to step up. I will name some of the top players in the country who have the rare opportunity to take their respective teams to the promise land. This year in a whole is a very wide open field. The conference tournaments mean more than ever for those decent to good teams looking to get a decent enough seed to make a strong run to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX where this Final Four will be hosted. Stars will be stars, well in these four ball players case they will need to be the most productive star they can be to get their teams over the hump. Let me start this conversation with my favorite player of the last 2 seasons Doug McDermott of Creighton.

Senior Doug McDermott (F, Creighton): This 6'8 offensive juggernaut will have all eyes on him as he attempts to lead the once overlooked Creighton Blue jays to national acclaim in his record breaking senior season. He may be the front runner for the John Wooden award this season but his name has relatively stayed quiet due to the media. One thing about McDermott his game translates to each and every opponent with season averages of 26.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and nearly 2 assist it is only right to expect him to dazzle us with primetime performances in the tournament. From strong post moves to lights out 3 point shooting Doug will be a handful for teams just getting a chance to see him play.

Senior Shabazz Napier (PG. UConn): Napier is one of the most explosive point guards in the country. After being the right hand man to Kemba Walker in 2011 on UCONN last championship run. Napier has grown to become the leader and heart of this UCONN team lead by 2nd year head coach Kevin Ollie who took over for long time legend Jim Calhoun. Shabazz has shown signs of impeccable play most recently against Rutgers he hit 7 3 pointers leading UCONN to another big win preparing them for the AAC conference tournament. Napier numbers have been impressive all year leading his team with 17.8 points, 6 rebounds, and dishing out 5 assist a game as well. Can Shabazz relive his running mate from a few years back magic and put the team on his back? I think we will have a good time watching him attempt it.

Freshman Jabari Parker (F, Duke): If I wanted to I couldn't discount the impact of freshman Jabari Parker, the 6'8 forward from Duke. I have watched Jabari put his foot on the pedal in big games, and his ability to score the ball and rebound with relative ease is why he made my stars will be stars list. His 19.2 points, 9 rebounds a game make him a tough match up for any player his opponent will throw at him. I do expect a few more double teams going his way during the tournament but I doubt they stop Parker when he is playing at his best. Parker is one of the true freshmen who played up to his potential this year and if he shows up big Duke will have a chance to pull off another successful championship run.

Freshman Joel Embiid (C, Kansas): With all the hype and attention thrown towards teammate and fellow freshman Andrew Wiggins of Kansas I am sure you expected me to put him as the final spot on this list. I have looked at Kansas all season and come to find that their biggest mismatch and most over powering force to reckon with in the NCAA tournament is not Wiggins but their 7'0 center Joel Embiid. This African born big man has shown to have a semi-polished offensive presence and his defensive prowess will ultimately land him in the NBA as a top 3 draft pick in the 2014 NBA draft later this year. I expect his season averages to go up extensively in the tournament. The lack of 7 footers in college basketball is one reason but the fact that this big boy actually has game to go with his size Kansas could be a scary team to face in this tournament. If my assumption is correct we will see the star in Joel Embiid become evident.

It is March Madness and it already looks to be an unbelievable and unpredictable road to the Final Four. Who will be your star player? For McDermott and Napier these tournament games are their final collegiate games and it is only right that they strive for cutting down the nets. Parker and Embiid are perennial top draft picks so they have the platform to prove everyone why the freshman hype is real. In a season where Jerry West even thinks the talent of this class is mediocre at best this is the time of the year where we find out the truth about these young ball players. So leave me a comment about the players that will be stars this year in your opinion. March Madness is among us!! Just remember Stars will be Stars...

Photo Credits:

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Statistics found on ESPN.com

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