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NCAA Tournament: 68 people who will impact the 68-team tournament

by Berry Tramel Published: March 18, 2013

33. John Pelphrey: Sean Sutton's great friend and former Kentucky teammate now is in his second go-round as a Florida assistant coach. Pelphrey spent five seasons as head coach at South Alabama and four as head coach at Arkansas. He also was an Eddie Sutton assistant at OSU in 1993-94.

34. C.J. Leslie: John Wall's high school teammate has become one of college basketball's most consistent players for North Carolina State. Leslie, a 6-foot-9 junior, has averaged 11.0, 14.7 and 14.9 points, plus 7.2, 7.3 and 7.5 rebounds.

35. Anthony Bennett: The Nevada-Las Vegas freshman has had his moments. Even been mentioned as a possible overall No. 1 pick. But he's also been wildly inconsistent. Bennett has the package, though; 6-foot-7, 240 pounds, long, quick and fast.

36. Tom Izzo: In his 18th season as the Michigan State coach, Izzo is 37-13 in the NCAA Tournament, with six Final Four trips. That's not Mike Krzyzewski territory (76-24 in 33 seasons), but it will do.

37. Cleanthony Early: The best name in the tournament and the best scorer for Wichita State, a great old basketball school. Early, a 6-foot-8 forward, is averaging 13.6 points a game for the Shockers.

38. Marshall Henderson: The Ole Miss sharpshooter, averaging 20 points a game, is the SEC's most vilified player. But he's making the most of his first season in Oxford. Henderson averaged 11.8 points a game for Utah three years ago, then transferred to Texas Tech, stayed a year and moved on to a junior college before signing with the Rebels.

39. Joe Holladay: The 1969 OU graduate has spent 20 years with Roy Williams — 10 at Kansas and now 10 at North Carolina, where he's director of basketball operations. Holladay spent 23 years coaching high school in Oklahoma; Williams hired away Holladay from Jenks in 1994.

40. Jason Brickman: The point guard found his way to Long Island-Brooklyn from San Antonio — and has become the nation's best distributor. The Filipino-American leads the NCAA in assists, 8.5 per game.

41. Colton Iverson: The 6-foot-10 Colorado State center from Yankton, S.D., is one of those no-name players who could become a household name by next weekend. He's a 60-percent shooter who averages 14.7 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.

42. Jerry Jones: Cowboys Stadium will host the South Regional in two weeks, in advance of hosting the 2014 Final Four. Let's hope those events go better than the Super Bowl did two years ago, when some of JerryWorld's temporary bleachers were deemed unsafe.

43. Ian Clark: The Belmont marksman leads the nation in 3-point percentage, .463, and averages 18.1 points a game, part of the reason Belmont is 12th nationally with 8.5 treys a game.

44. Kareem Jamar: Yep, that's the Montana swingman's name. And he's a ballplayer. The 6-foot-5 junior might not have a sky hook like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but Jamar is averaging 14.3 points a game for a program making its third NCAA trip in four years.

45. Steve Alford: The star of Indiana's 1987 NCAA title team hasn't found such March Madness success as a coach. Since taking Missouri State to the Sweet 16 in 1999, Alford has five times fallen short of the regional semifinals, thrice with Iowa and twice with New Mexico. Now he's a 3-seed with the Lobos.

46. Tim Hardaway Jr.: The 6-foot-6 Michigan junior is averaging almost 15 points a game. The son of a five-time NBA all-star teams with Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke to form quite the backcourt for the Wolverines.

47. Judy MacLeod: The former Tulsa U. athletic director now is Conference USA's executive associate commissioner — and a member of the NCAA basketball committee, through 2015.

48. Sean Kilpatrick: A year ago, Cincinnati was known for that ugly brawl against crosstown rival Xavier. This year, it's strictly basketball for Cincinnati, and the Bearcats are led by Kilpatrick, a 6-foot-4 junior averaging 16.9 points a game.

49. Siyani Chambers: The Harvard point guard became a Bob Cousy Award contender as a freshman, and he reminds Harvard coach Tommy Amaker of himself. Jeremy Lin taught us to never underestimate Harvard point guards.

50. Dana Altman: Before Altman got this Oregon team back into the NCAA Tournament business, and before he built Creighton into a basketball somebody, Altman was Lon Kruger's chief recruiter at Kansas State and helped the Wildcats become a power in the late ‘80s. That's how Altman got the K-State job when Kruger left in 1990.

51. Phil Pressey: Missouri's point guard has taken his talents to the Southeastern Conference, where he's doing the same kind of damage he did in the Big 12 — 7.1 assists per game and 11.6 points on a team that features six double-digit scorers.

52. Mike Bruesewitz: Wisconsin often is good for a deep NCAA run, so get used to Bruesewitz's robust red Afro. Here's Bruesewitz's self-scouting report — “The guy's got flaming red hair, a goofy-looking kid. But he gets on the floor and gets rebounds … he's always looking to make the extra pass.”

53. Julie Boeheim: March Madness cameras love to show coaches' wives, and they love no wife more than Syracuse's Jim Boeheim. They met at the 1994 Kentucky Derby and were married in 1997. Julie is more than 20 years younger than Jim.

54. Andre Roberson: The Buffs have prospered in hoops since leaving the Big 12 almost two years ago. The Buffs won the Pac-12 last season and now are headed back to the NCAAs. Roberson, a 6-foot-7 forward and the Pac-12 defensive player of the year, is second in the nation in rebounding, 11.3 per game.

55. Tyler Self: The Kansas freshman walk-on has played 25 minutes and scored four points all season, but expect to see Self's face a lot on the Jayhawk bench. His dad is Kansas coach Bill Self. Tyler was born in Tulsa but, hard to believe, has lived in Lawrence since fourth grade.

56. William C. Merwin: Florida Gulf Coast's second president brought vision to a school that didn't conduct its first classes until 1997. His ideas took Florida Gulf Coast from a university that featured mostly online classes to a university that now has more than 12,000 students, with plans to reach 20,000. Florida Gulf Coast didn't reach NCAA Division I status until 2011.

57. Bubo Palo: The Iowa State point guard might have played on a high school team more talented than his college team. Palo was the point guard on an Ames High team that included Doug McDermott, now an all-American at Creighton, and Harrison Barnes, a rookie standout with the Golden State Warriors.

58. Jimmy Williams: The former OSU assistant coach under both Eddie and Sean Sutton was hired in December 2011 as an assistant coach for Memphis' Josh Pastner. Williams had left OSU in 2007 for a job at Minnesota on Tubby Smith's staff, but that job was pulled because of allegations Williams was involved in NCAA violations while coaching at Minnesota in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Williams won a lawsuit against Minnesota, but it cost him four years of his career.

59. Jack Cooley: The Notre Dame power forward is fourth nationally with 19 double doubles. But he's also prone to stretches where Mike Brey sits him on the bench to make a point. Doesn't sound like a good recipe for the NCAA Tournament.

60. Sharon Goldmacher: The public relations whiz is executive director of the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee for the Final Four. The newest wrinkle? The NCAA Division II and Division III title games will be played in Atlanta on Sunday, April 7, the off day in the Final Four.

61. Brandon Paul: The Illinois guard has flourished under new coach John Groce, averaging 16.6 points a game as a senior. Paul's brother, Darius, is a freshman star at Western Michigan.

62. Marv Albert: The longtime NBA announcer is part of the new CBS/TNT partnership. Seems a little strange, considering Albert's resume' and cross-dressing scandal appear at odds with college basketball's showcase.

63. Randy Bennett: The Saint Mary's coach has built a fine program, but these are dark days. Saint Mary's is headed for NCAA probation (scholarship and recruiting restrictions) for attempting to lure recruits with extra benefits. Bennett has been suspended for the first five West Coast Conference games of next season.

64. Kevin Grevey: The Kentucky star of the 1970s is one of three UK legends who will be an analyst on SiriusXM's radio broadcasts of March Madness, joining Jamal Mashburn and Kyle Macy. Kentucky guys do radio. Duke guys do television.

65. Mouphtaou Yarou: The Villanova senior center is a solid inside presence, averaging 9.7 points and 7.8 rebounds a game. He channels both Serge Ibaka (Yarou is from Benin, West Africa, and speaks five languages) and Kevin Durant (each graduated high school from Montrose Christian in Rockville, Md).

66. Austin Hollins: The son of Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins averages 10.6 points and 2.5 assists for the University of Minnesota. But don't get cnfused. Andre Hollins, who also is from Memphis and is the Gophers' leading scorer, is not related to Lionel and Austin Hollins.

67. Bryce Drew: Shooter of one of March Madness' most famous shots, the running 3-pointer at the buzzer that gave Valparaiso an upset over Ole Miss in 1998 in Oklahoma City, Drew now coaches his alma mater, succeeding his dad (Homer) and his brother (Scott).

68. Zeke Marshall: Most mid-majors get by on deadeye shooting and skilled ballhandling, but Akron has the luxury of this 7-footer, who averages 3.6 blocked shots per game.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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