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Yes, it is that time of the year! Hope you are as excited as I am about this season. The regular season has already given we, the fans some amazing games this season. As Championship Week progresses, I wanted to share some top players that may not have many fans attention as of right now. Here is our top NCAAM players to watch for in the NCAA tournament.
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Joel Embiid (Kansas University Jayhawks)
Compared to: Kevin Garnet
The 7 foot, 250 lbs break out freshman from Yaounde, Cameroon has helped the Kansas Jayhawks to the university’s 10th straight BIG 12 championship this year. With only two years of previous basketball experience, Embiid already looks ready for the Association. The former volleyball player is developing a strong all around game. Embiid is very confident taking face up shots beyond the college three point line alone with running the floor and finishing at the rim. However, his post up game has needed improvement around the basket. Averaging 11 points and 8 rebounds per game (per ESPN.com), Embiid has no problem dominating on the defensive side of the ball, averaging over 2 blocks per game. This season, Embiid has had problems with injury. On March 10th, Embiid met with a specialist in Los Angeles and was diagnosis with a stress fracture in the lower back (per CBSSports.com). The Kansas freshman is said to miss the BIG 12 tournament and likely to miss most of the NCAA tournament. This injury for Joel Embiid could be the deciding factor in keeping Kansas in or out of the Final Four this season.
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Deandre Kane (Iowa State University)
Compared to: Mardy Collins
The 6-4 senior Marshall graduate transferred to Iowa State with a much improved game this year. One of his strength to this game is his already developed NBA frame. With his frame and great abliliy to push and score off transition, Kane puts pressure on teams transition defense. Kane, coming from Marshall has already taken control of the team and is a great communicator and positive attiude. He is also one of the best defensive rebounding guards bring in more that 5 rebounds with 17 points (per ESPN.com). Although, he is older than most, his shot isn’t the cat’s meow. Kane’s big weakness is his all around shot. DeAndre Kane still is a handful and can help Iowa State push deep in the NCAA tournament.
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Tyler Ennis (Syracuse University)
Compared to: George Hill
Coming from Canada, the freshman Tyler Ennis has helped The Orange stay on top of the ACC. One of his best strength is his lack of turnovers. Along with keeping the ball safe, he is a great pick and role player which will give teams with bigs much trouble. Ennis is one of the better “pure” point guards on the raise. Ennis is always looking to create shots for his teammates. Though, his age comes with some troubles. Ennis struggles with quickness and finishing at the rim. But as he develops those weak skills along his career, his reading of defenses shines above all. Look for Tyler Ennis to breakout during the NCAA tournament.
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Cleanthony Easly (Wichita State University)
Compared to: Sam Young
One of the most underrated players right now is 6-8 senior Cleanthony Easly. An active mover away from the ball and versatile game has produced Wichita State Shockers to a 34-0 perfect season and Missouri Valley champions. Easly is confident with in post up game with his back against the basket. A great free throw shooter, shooting 85% from the line (per NBADraft.net). Last year in the Final Four against Louisville, Easly raised his game with zero turnovers. Plus, his defensive game is just as consistent. Yet, Easly needs improvement with his ball handling skills. Easly has a tendency to avoids dribbling in tight match-ups and double teaming. With the tournament ahead of their perfect season, Easly is expected to raise his game just as he did last year and keep Wichita State’s record perfect.