As one-and-done players become more and more prevalent in college basketball, rookies play a bigger role than ever in the NCAA Tournament. So, in addition to looking for those miraculous upsets, March Madness has also become a time for seeing which stars can break out and perform on the national stage. Likewise, this tournament — with the Elite Eight already coming into focus — has been no different.
Check out the Fresh Faces of March Madness, presented by Dove for Men + Care.
Glenn Robinson III, freshman forward, Michigan
After a full slate of regular-season games, especially in the Big Ten, the freshman label doesn’t quite apply to Robinson. The son of the former NBA veteran is starting to form a name for himself, even if it’s the same as his father’s. In two NCAA Tournament games, both double-digit wins for Michigan, Robinson is averaging 18 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Wolverine faithful better catch a good glimpse of Robinson, because his tourney performance, matched with his incredible upside, may have him joining Trey Burke in this summer’s NBA draft.
Ben McLemore, freshman guard, Kansas
McLemore may not have wowed in the tournament, but he still could be the NBA draft’s top pick this spring. The Kansas freshman is in a bit of slump in his NCAA Tournament debut, but that could be a different story in the Jayhawks’ Sweet 16 matchup with Michigan. Although he’ll go up against the links of Robinson and Tim Hardaway, the 6-foot-5 McLemore can get going in a hurry. The freshman guard has gone for 20 points or more times 10 times this season, including three games with 30 or more.
Brett Comer, sophomore guard, Florida Gulf Coast
Comer will live on in YouTube history after setting off one of the best dunks of this year’s NCAA Tournament. The point guard dribbled out of a trap then lofted a dangerous pass into the air, and teammate Chase Fieler reeled it in and threw down one of Dunk City’s many impressive slams so far. Comer is averaging more assists (12) than points (11) per game in this season’s tournament. He led the Eagles as they took down No. 2 Georgetown with a fast-paced offense. He also led his FGCU squad into the Sweet 16 after that high-powered offense kicked it up a gear in the second half of a third-round win over San Diego State.
Gary Harris, freshman guard, Michigan State
Coming off a career-high 23-point effort against Memphis, Harris returns to a place close to home for his next effort, as he grew up in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, Ind. The freshman isn’t as outwardly exuberant as some of his fellow competitors in the tournament, but his game speaks for itself, as Harris connected on four 3-pointers against Memphis. In Michigan State’s opening game, Harris also had 10 points and four rebounds, and he admitted to some nerves going into the game. However, Harris has now shown he can play on the big stage, with his next test coming up at Lucas Oil Stadium.
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