March Madness is in full swing.
The Sweet Sixteen portion of the NCAA tournament starts today, and we've already seen a handful of upsets that left many a bracket busted. In honor of March Madness, we decided to ask our staff what current Hornet had the best NCAA tournament run. Here's what they had to say.
With Patrick Ewing on staff it's hard to go against him. There's also guys like Marvin Williams who were incredible in college, and overlooking Jeremy Lin's time at Harvard would just be criminal. That said, nothing can top Kemba Walker and 2011 UCONN.
To really appreciate the run that Walker had we first have to remember that UCONN wasn't even going to make the tournament at first. They had to go on a huge run through the Big East tournament and win the whole thing just to get in. That alone was impressive enough. Then, to take that team that he led through the conference tournament and carry them to a championship? It's one of those legendary performances that gets brought up every year around March. An incredible performance from an incredible player.
I would like this YouTube video to be my roundtable answer.
Aaron Harrison. We don't get to see him play all that much, but the kid was an stone-cold killer back in 2014.
Behold this compilation of daggers:
This is difficult to answer when you think about it. Tyler Hansbrough and Marvin Williams both won championships, and played really well, good enough that both managed to raise their draft stock. That said, I've got to give the slight edge to Kemba Walker. Averaging 23.5 points per game in the tournament, Walker played arguably better than anyone else in the 2011 tournament, a carrying a good, but not championship good UConn team to the title. He hit a number of clutch shots, some going back even before the NCAA tournament, with his game winner against Pitt still ranking as one of his best (the big man who switched onto him had no chance). So while a lot of Hornets deserve credit for the NCAA runs, none tops Kemba's.
Perhaps it is because it was so recent, but I'm not sure how you could say anyone other than Kemba Walker. He was the leader of a UConn team that wasn't supposed to even win the Big East, but became the first team to win five games in five days to win the Big East Tournament. Yes, I know that is not the NCAA Tournament, but Walker's stepback gamewinner against Pittsburgh is one of the more iconic ones in recent college basketball (and perhaps NBA) history.
His tournament run that year (2011) included two 30+-point games — one against six-seeded Cincinnati and the other against two-seeded San Diego State, which was led by Kawahi Leonard. He was the sole reason for one of the most unlikely national champions in recent history, and it was that run that got caught the eye of one Michael Jordan, which led to Charlotte drafting Walker, and the rest is history.
Need I say more?
Who do you think had the best tournament run? Let us know in the comments.