On the eve of Final Four, Duke-North Carolina is the derby of dreams. The Seattle long with an Italian passport can retrace Davis’ success, even if many have not made it
It is the moment of truth. The one where the history of the game is made. The Final Four, the semifinals of the US university tournament, are just over 24 hours away. They will start a few minutes after midnight between Saturday and Sunday (Italian) with Kansas-Villanova. Then the highlight of New Orleans, for once not the jambalaya, but rather Duke-North Carolina, the derby of dreams for the first time reality at the level of NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils are the favorites, according to bettors. Also because they show off Paolo Banchero, the Seattle long with an Italian passport, named best player of the Western Regional, decisive in the first 4 successes of Coach K. Banchero’s team, he is imagined as one of the top three choices of the 2022 NBA Draft. plays with Chet Holmgren, long of Gonzaga, and Jabari Smith, winger of Auburn, so the question becomes necessary: how many Top 3 choices (then) were decisive to win the title in college, to close the Big Dance among the confetti, in the last 15 years? We went through the numbers and the answer is less obvious than expected.
Heir to Okafor
The most recent is Jahlil Okafor, precisely a long by Duke, who in 2015 cut the last retina and was then called by Commissioner Silver with the third call of his Draft. Like Banchero now, then Okafor was an unstoppable college-level scorer, though like and more than Paolo he struggled defensively. Then his NBA career derailed, of course he did not meet the enormous expectations, but then it was unimaginable to think of him as a supporting actor upstairs.
To find a student / athlete chosen at number 1 after winning the Tournament you have to rewind the tape until 2012. Then Anthony Davis, national champion with Kentucky, succeeded. Even as the best player (MOP) of those triumphal Final Four for the Wildcats. Who sent another boy of theirs, Kidd-Gilchrist, to number two of the draft. Then Davis, the current Lakers long shot, had a super career in the NBA, while Kidd-Gilchrist turned out to be a collegiate mirage.
The Horford Prehistory
In 2019 the NBA world idolized Zion Williams, even though Duke already came out at the Elite 8, and DeAndre Hunter, champion forward for the Virginia Cavaliers, was called “only” at number 4. Going back even further in time, to our border of 15 years ago, we find more illustrious names. Derrick Rose lost the grand final against Kansas with his Memphis University in overtime and was then called as the first overall pick in the 2008 draft. Brewer. Horford was chosen No. 3 to the Draft, Brewer n. 7 as the best player of the Final Four, the son of Yannick number 9. The curiosity: the center of the Ohio State folded in the final, Greg Oden, was selected with the number 1. It would later prove to be a resounding fiasco.
April 1, 2022 (change April 1, 2022 | 18:00)
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