GOAT Bracket Candy 16: South and Midwest breakdowns
On March 19, ESPN launched SportsCenter Particular: School Basketball’s Biggest of All Time, a 64-player bracket celebrating the most effective males’s and girls’s gamers ever.ESPN writers and commentators will present every day roundtables and predictions because the bracket advances by March 31. Beneath, writers Jerry Bembry, Jeff Borzello and Andrea Adelson break down the Candy 16 within the South and Midwest areas.Candy 16South area(9) Zion Williamson vs. (5) Carmelo Anthony — VOTE HERE(3) Magic Johnson vs. (7) Kevin Durant — VOTE HEREMidwest area(8) Wilt Chamberlain vs. (12) Stephen Curry — VOTE HERE(11) David Robinson vs. (2) Michael Jordan — VOTE HEREWhich of those eight names are you most stunned to see nonetheless standing within the Candy 16, and why?Jerry Bembry: Youthful individuals at present see Invoice Walton as a tie-dye-wearing, weed-advocating Deadhead. I keep in mind Walton as being among the many best school gamers of all time. Which is why I am shocked he isn’t nonetheless within the discipline. That is no knock in opposition to Wilt Chamberlain, who topped Walton within the final spherical. Chamberlain averaged 29.9 factors and 18.Three rebounds over the course of a 48-game school profession the place he typically needed to endure triple-teams and stall techniques from opponents desirous to restrict his touches. Walton, together with his turnaround financial institution pictures, unbelievable courtroom imaginative and prescient and defensive prowess, was unstoppable in successful two nationwide titles and producing maybe the best school efficiency ever in scoring 44 factors (making 21 of 22 pictures) within the 1973 title win over Memphis State. Individuals overlook Walton’s total greatness as a result of his NBA profession fell flat attributable to accidents. As a younger boy who was simply falling in love with basketball, I keep in mind Walton’s UCLA days as a result of in school, he was that man.1 RelatedJeff Borzello: I suppose I am not completely stunned about Stephen Curry advancing, given his title cachet and the truth that I picked him to tug off at the very least one upset — however he went by two actually robust matchups to get to the Candy 16. Maya Moore had arguably the best particular person profession of anybody from the game’s all-time best program, ending as the college’s all-time scoring chief, successful two Wood Awards, making 4 Closing 4 appearances and having two excellent seasons. And David Thompson is among the finest ACC gamers of all time, having an ideal season in 1973 and successful the nationwide championship in 1974. Curry was superior within the 2008 NCAA event and the voters undoubtedly do not forget that, however he beat some stiff competitors to get to the regional semifinal.Andrea Adelson: Kevin Durant shouldn’t have superior previous the primary spherical, not to mention the second. A fast refresher: His matchup out of the gate was in opposition to Candace Parker, thought to be one of many best ladies’s basketball gamers of all time. She’s a two-time nationwide champion and a two-time NCAA event MVP. Within the subsequent spherical, Durant squared off in opposition to Patrick Ewing, one of many all-time memorable/iconic NCAA event gamers in males’s hoops historical past: three nationwide championship recreation appearances, one title in 1984 (and Most Excellent Participant honors that 12 months as effectively) and three-time All-America honors. What Durant has achieved within the NBA is totally separate from his collegiate profession, which lasted just one season. It’s merely onerous to disregard the longevity and success each Parker and Ewing had within the NCAA event in favor of a one-and-done who didn’t even make the nationwide championship recreation. However the voters have spoken, and Durant strikes on.A number of the gamers above have been undoubtedly helped by the title cachet they constructed throughout their NBA careers. However which of those gamers deserves extra credit score for his or her school profession than the overall basketball fan is perhaps prepared to offer?David Robinson was a two-time All-American who went on to win the Wood Award as a senior in 1987. Deal with Sport/Getty ImagesBembry: It wasn’t lengthy after I took a job as a police reporter in Baltimore in 1985 that I started to listen to about this wonderful participant on the Naval Academy. So I drove all the way down to Annapolis, purchased a ticket to the outdated Halsey Area Home and watched in amazement as David Robinson dominated throughout his junior season. Robinson did not come from big-time packages like the vast majority of the remaining gamers, however if you happen to watched him play at Navy — and noticed the expertise limitations of the blokes he performed with — you actually admire his skill to have achieved extra with much less. I think about myself lucky to have lived so near Annapolis to witness the blossoming of a star.Borzello: Kevin Durant is among the best NBA gamers of our era, if not all time, however his one school season was additionally traditionally good. His profession ended within the second spherical of the NCAA event with a 19-point loss to USC (though Durant scored 30 factors and grabbed 9 rebounds) — however individually, his one season was onerous to prime. He received the Wood Award in 2007, the primary freshman to ever win that award, and was the consensus Participant of the Yr throughout the board. And take a look at his one-year stats: 25.Eight factors, 11.1 rebounds, almost two blocks and two steals, higher than 40% from 3-point vary. His NBA profession has been terrific, no query, however he was additionally a transcendent participant on the school degree.Adelson: I wrote about David Robinson within the first spherical, totally predicting his upset win over No. 6 seed Jay Williams. There might have been a small Duke issue concerned, however I believe Robinson’s stature as one of many best NBA large males performed a job too. However there would have been no NBA Robinson with out his unbelievable transformation at Navy. He acquired into basketball late — his senior 12 months in highschool late — and when he arrived on the Naval Academy, he wasn’t even a middle. However because of a development spurt that noticed him attain 7 toes in his sophomore season, the transformation started. He led Navy to back-to-back NCAA event appearances, together with the Elite Eight in 1986. Within the Elite Eight run, he had 35 factors, 11 rebounds and 7 blocks in an upset win over Syracuse and had 23 factors and 10 rebounds within the Elite Eight loss to Duke, scoring almost half of Navy’s 51 factors.Which of the above 4 matchups do you count on to be closest, and what’s one truth you’d prefer to relay to voters which may assist affect their vote?Bembry: Voting within the early rounds has favored title recognition, gender and period of dominance over true school accomplishments. Now we’re in a spherical the place, within the South and Midwest areas, we now have eight males with comparatively large names and spectacular school résumés. I believe the Zion Williamson/Carmelo Anthony matchup is perhaps the tightest for the straightforward incontrovertible fact that the 2 symbolize school dominance over the previous 20 years, which — primarily based on voting in our early rounds — is when school basketball was invented. Melo ought to win as a result of he received a title, however Zion in all probability wins as a result of his school accomplishments got here final 12 months. Facet be aware: If you happen to voted in opposition to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the best school participant ever, in any spherical it is best to have your Information of Basketball card revoked.Borzello: Carmelo vs. Zion. Zion was ridiculous throughout his one season in school, however so was Carmelo — and this is the most important deciding issue for me: Carmelo carried Syracuse to a nationwide championship. He was merely unstoppable within the NCAA event, particularly within the remaining three video games. Anthony had 20 and 10 within the Elite Eight in opposition to 1-seed Oklahoma, 33 and 14 in opposition to 1-seed Texas within the Closing 4 after which 20 factors, 10 rebounds and 7 assists within the title recreation in opposition to Kansas. He was the NCAA event Most Excellent Participant, a consensus All-American and he averaged 22.2 factors and 10.zero rebounds. Zion had nice numbers too, however Anthony has the trophy.Adelson: I believe the closest can be Wilt Chamberlain in opposition to Stephen Curry in a battle for NBA title recognition supremacy … and NCAA event title recognition supremacy. Chamberlain performed solely two years on the varsity crew at Kansas (again then he performed on the freshman crew his first 12 months) and didn’t win a nationwide championship — though he did win Most Excellent Participant honors in 1957. His legacy grew because of his legendary NBA profession. We will say the identical about Curry, who performed three seasons at Davidson and didn’t win a championship both. Chamberlain has a better profession scoring common and higher NCAA event résumé, however followers do just like the plucky underdog. In that regard, Curry the faculty participant qualifies as a result of he performed for Davidson and their event run in 2008 stays an indelible reminiscence to many.