March Madness: three names point to future stars

Leaders of one of the most promising litters of recent years, they face the final phase of the college tournament as draft favorites.


The NCAA season has been weird. Like everything since, still in 2019, the last tournament champion, Virginia Cavaliers, was proclaimed. Universities that have stepped aside, postponements ... and the birth of Ignite, the G League team proposed as an alternative for all those players who, with their sights set on the draft, prefer to avoid university competition. With all this he has had to ride the NCAA and with all this he has reached his most anticipated appointment: the March Madness. With the table defined and the dates fixed, the focus is on the most important thing, the players; the, a priori, future stars of the NBA. And, for the moment, with capital letters. If this season's litter was one of the most questioned in recent times, the next season's litter lives at the opposite pole. With Cade Cunningham as commander, who will hardly be snatched at number one, the string of strong-sounding names is important. In it, and with Cade, Evan Mobley or Jalen Suggs, the favorites in several Mock Drafts to occupy the podium of the selection. At the very least, regardless of the Jaleen Greens or Jonathan Kuminga (Ignite) .

Cade Cunningham

Team: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Averages: 20.2 points - 6.3 rebounds - 3.6 assists

One of those players who, since college, it is predicted that they can mark an era. What will be, will be; but, for the moment, it boasts a repertoire available to few. And the always important NBA narrative is with him: he has been named, at the same time, best player and rookie of the Big 12, his conference. A milestone that, so far, had only been achieved by Marcus Smart, Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant. In his first and last year of college, he has been able to lead Oklahoma State to the gates of winning its tournament, something he has not done since 2005. He is 19 years old, but he looks many more, both on the track and outside her. Inside, it stands out, among many other things, for its intelligence. Contemplate to a serene beat and get many more right than wrong in decision-making. Far from hoops and nets, he defines himself: "I hope to be more remembered for what I do off the track, with money and my social status, for how I have helped people, that was," he assures.

It acts in the base demarcation, but its 203 cm high and 100 kg of weight allow it to defend any position. In attack, your possibilities are endless. It plays the pick and roll well, it generates good shots by itself, via step back, change of rhythm or crossover, it is easy to locate spaces in static and is deadly in one on one. He has led his team in scoring and is on the verge of doing so in assists and rebounds: his teammate, Isaac Likekele, has averaged 6.7 and 3.7 respectively. From the perimeter, he has shot with a 41.2% success rate and has left contest dunks in the area. During the season, he has added four games of at least 20 points and 8 rebounds, a bombastic display of 40 points and a considerable string of decisive actions in the cluch time. In the semi-final of the Big 12 itself, against Baylor Bears, a team that had only lost one game up to that moment and is competing for the championship, made it clear: four minutes from the end and losing two, triple to start the comeback until the 83-74 final. He finished the game with 25 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. "When there is a lot of pressure, or whatever you want to call it, I see it as an opportunity," he is not afraid to say. Until proven otherwise, he is the chosen one.

Evan Mobley

Team: USC Trojans

Averages: 16.8 points - 8.6 rebounds - 3 blocks

The future is here. It is no secret. Basketball has evolved and the big men with it. Adapt or die, universal law in the field in which you want to apply. Mobley is no exception. Its 210 cm at the top and 230 cm at the sides do not prevent it from being one of the most special talents of the generation. In the purest sense of talent. Write down in every possible way. Under the hoop, of course; but also from the middle distance, by means of a hook that reminds of other times and with capacity for a coast to coast that impresses the eye. For his determination, but also for his physique: despite his high values in centimeters, he only weighs 95 kilos. It is tremendously tall and also has pronouncedly elongated lower extremities. Something that even makes him seem taller than he really is (which is a lot). He has not attempted more than two 3-pointers in any game this season, but overall he shoots with 33.3% accuracy. Far from being a great pitcher, but not deprived of the resource either.

Your greatest strengths may also be your shortcomings. Tremendously agile and coordinated as he is, the lightness of his body can take its toll, a priori, in professional basketball. Like Cunningham, what is not going to fall short is intelligence and vision. From his privileged position, he organizes when he must, from the inside out; although, generally, bet by the annotation. Also 19 years old and in his first, and last, university campaign, he is presented as one of the most interesting bastions in defense under the rim. Its characteristics give it the advantage of the one that links its jump to the first reaction, being intimidation one of its main attributes: it modifies many rival actions and conditions systems. With all this, he can act as both a center and power forward. Off the track, he is characterized by his shyness; but those who know him speak for him. "He's the most perfect basketball player I've ever seen. When he gains weight, and if he's on the right team, he'll be a huge NBA star," says his high school coach, Ray Barefield. With the university team, which he has led in points, rebounds and blocks, he lost in the conference final (72-70), the Pac-12, in which he has been voted best player, rookie and defender. The present.

Jalen Suggs

Team: Gonzaga Bulldogs

Averages: 14.3 points - 5.5 rebounds - 4.5 assists

The brain of the best team of the season and, right now, favorite in the famous bets. He came to a team full of talent, with voracious aspirations and his pulse has not trembled when taking the reins. Character and competitive gene that nobody doubts that he can transfer to the NBA. Pristine calendar (26-0) in which, from less to more, it went from the background to the first positions of all the pools. It is a base of multiple alternatives, although more traditional than the polyhedral Cunningham. Like him, however, he enjoys a privileged physique: 193 centimeters and 90 kilos that, beyond his creativity, allow him to be tough and difficult to fight on defense. He leads his team in steals (2 per game), ranks third in the rebounder category and possesses that innate instinct that leads to occupying spaces at the right time.

It is no coincidence. Before basketball, American football came. A decision that was worth more than one cry, but that seems to be the right one. His father, Larry Slugs, coach of the rejected sport, even observes football movements that his son has incorporated into his game: "When Jalen starts, his shoulder is always very low, so he can be in the way of attacking the basket. constantly. That's like making a delivery in football, "he explains to Yahoo Sports. The point is, certainly, penetrations and changes of pace are some of Suggs Jr.'s most dangerous tools, but not the only ones. He does not abuse the perimeter, but when he decides to do so it can be tremendously dangerous: his percentage stands at 35.4%, but he has signed performances of 7-10 or 4-7, as in the conference final. His greatest virtues come to the fore, however, on the open track and with his wings spread: there he is practically unstoppable. Despite this, and in line with his teammates, he is not a player who tends to rush or look for a continuous runner-up. When to stop, stop. The latter, the emblem of a long-awaited generation that is already here.

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