5 NBA Superstars Whose College Didn’t Make the NCAA Tournament
These guys will easily make the postseason in the NBA, but their Alma Mater won’t be dancing this March.
The NCAA tournament has had some truly exciting moments, and some of them have been created by the superstars of the game today. Their Alma Maters probably wish they had them on their roster this season, as none of them made it to the tourney. Who is apart of this prestigious list?
Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
The Klaw has been putting up some serious performances as of late, and is a major reason why the Spurs have now snagged the first place position in the Western Conference.
His 26.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists are impressive alone, and many think he is the best 2-way player in the NBA. And it all started with his career with the Aztecs.
Unlike their 2010–2011 season, San Diego State was unable to make the tournament, finishing with a 19–14 record. Leonard’s last season with SDSU went a tad differently.
Like Thomas, Leonard’s last season with San Diego State was the 2010–2011 season. However, unlike Thomas, Leonard was only a sophomore when he decided to leave for the NBA. His final year consisted of being named regular season co-champions, the Mountain West Conference Tournament champions and a run to the Sweet 16 to lose to the eventual national champions, the Connecticut Huskies.
Their final record was 34–3. Ya.
Isaiah Thomas, Washington
A rising star in the NBA, Isaiah Thomas has helped lead his Celtics squad to be third in the Eastern Conference. Despite his small stature, Thomas has been a menace on the court, averaging 29.2 points, 6.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds.
His Washington Huskies have not been so fortunate. After a thrilling playoff-clinching football season, the basketball program disappointed with a pitiful 9–22 record, finishing second-to-last in the PAC 12. It also was recently announced that Lorenzo Romar, former Washington Head Coach, was released after missing the tournament for the 6th straight season.
Having Thomas on the roster may have changed things. In his final season with the Huskies, he put 16.8 points, 6.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds. This was his 7th seeded team getting bounced from the tournament by the might 2-seeded North Carolina team.
Kevin Durant, Texas
As Kevin Durant has been sidelined due to injury and forced to watch his team play without him, his Longhorns will also be sitting at home watching others compete in March, being left out of the NCAA tournament.
Despite high expectations of the young Texas squad, paired with the fiery Shaka Smart, the season did not go according to plan. The Longhorns finished dead last in the Big 12, going 11–22 to end the year. They are missing the production of Durant, who is currently averaging 25.3 points, 4.8 assists and 8.2 rebounds (The Warriors miss him too).
Durant was a “one-and-done” player, and was not able to take his team very far. Despite making it to the Big 12 Championship, and going into the tournament as a 4 seed, Durant and his team got upended by USC in the second round by 19 points. This was just a year after Texas beat USC in the Rose Bowl to win the college football national championship.
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
After a Final Four run, the Sooners finished just one place in front of the Texas Longhorns. Losing three core players, national player of the year included, OU was faced with a down year. They didn’t struggle like this when no. 23 was playing in Norman (not MJ).
Blake Griffin, currently averaging 21.3 points and 8.5 rebounds, has made some noise since entering the NBA. He has won rookie of the year, the NBA dunk competition and had a stretch of four years of four consecutive all-star appearances and starts. Oklahoma could have used that this year.
In only two years in Norman, Griffin managed to take the Sooners to the Elite Eight before getting beat by Tyler Hansbrough and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Griffin ended the year by winning all six national player of the year awards.
Steph Curry, Davidson
Okay, Davidson not making the tournament is not as significant as some of these other “big-name” schools being left out. However, if it was not for Steph Curry, none of us may even know who Davidson was.
Davidson finished 17–15 this year in the American Athletic Conference. They may be missing probably the greatest player to ever play in their program. Steph Curry, before he was considered “Chef” Curry, was that skinny kid from Davidson who was upsetting big-time schools.
Curry stayed three years at Davidson, with his Sophomore season being the year that everyone remembers. After going 26–6 throughout the year, and going undefeated in conference (20–0), Davidson was given its’ third straight NCAA tournament bid.
The 10th seeded Davidson Wildcats beat seventh seeded Gonzaga, second seeded Gonzaga, third seeded Wisconsin before losing to the soon-to-be national champions, Kansas Jayhawks, in the elite eight 59–57.
Curry was given the award of Most Outstanding Player of the Midwest Region, and was nominated for an ESPY for this NCAA tournament run.
In other words, if your college has a soon-to-be NBA all-star, they may not be dancing in the tournament soon.