By the end of the first week of March Madness, only 16 teams remained but under-the-radar guards such as Fletcher McGee (Wofford), Aubrey Dawkins (UCF) and Tremont Waters (LSU) made names for themselves.
Heading into March Madness, everyone knew to keep an eye on the potential lottery picks such as Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish. It was no surprise that Murray State’s Ja Morant dropped a triple-double in his March Madness debut. However, a player that fell through the cracks, or played for a smaller school can truly make a name for themselves during March Madness.
The majority of college basketball fans finally caught a glimpse of the shooting exploits of Fletcher McGee. The senior guard drilled 509 treys over his four-year career, but hardly anyone noticed because Wofford plays in the Southern Conference. In the case of Tremont Waters, all eyes were on the departure of head coach Will Wade and LSU’s current recruiting scandal.
The most notable performance of the weekend goes to Aubrey Dawkins, the son of UCF’s head coach and former Duke standout. Johnny Dawkins is second all-time on Duke’s scoring list. The elder Dawkins faced his former coach and mentor Coach Krzyzewski, in what was the most-exciting game of the tournament thus far.
Aubrey Dawkins (UCF)
With UCF and Duke squaring off in the Round of 32, everyone fixated on the epic battle between Duke’s Zion Williamson and UCF’s 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall. Zion is projected to become the overall top pick in the upcoming NBA draft, while the towering Fall is a true giant among men.
With the spotlight shinning on the big men, UCF’s Aubrey Dawkins took over the game. Dawkins, a junior guard from Durham, North Carolina, averages only 15.6 points per game this season, but he dropped 32 against a team of future NBA players.
In 40-minutes of action, Dawkins hit 66.7 percent of his shots for 32 points. He went 5-for-7 from three-point range and didn’t miss a free throw. He also added 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals in a MVP performance.
“Aubrey Dawkins is a magnificent player,” said Coach K.
Down 77-76, Dawkins missed a potential game-winning tip in.
“It was up there forever, I felt like, in slow motion,” Dawkins said.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 24, 2019
Fletcher McGee (Wofford)
Fletcher McGee from the Wofford Terriers came into March Madness needing only four three-pointers to become the NCAA’s Division I all-time three-point scorer. McGee, a 6-foot-4 senior guard from Orlando, Florida, led the Terriers in scoring this season with 20.4 points per game. He hit 41.9 percent of his treys this season.
McGee had one of the worst games of his career in a 62-56 loss against Kentucky in the Round of 32. Kentucky played without their best player PJ Washington, but held on for the win. McGee went 0-for-12 from three-point land.
“I just feel like I let everyone down,” a dejected McGee said after the game.
It is a shame that the public’s only glimpse of such a legendary player occurred at one of his weakest moments. McGee finished his illustrious career with 509 three-pointers.
In the opening round game against Seton Hall, McGee finished with 24 points. He knocked down seven treys on 7-for-12 shooting. At the start of the second half, McGee set the NCAA record. Oakland’s Travis Bader from Oakland set the record in 2014 with 504 three-pointers. Bader and McGee are the only players in Division I history with 500-plus treys.
Tremont Waters (LSU)
Tremont Waters, a 5-foot-11 guard from New Haven, Connecticut, is LSU’s best player. Waters leads the Tigers in scoring with 15.0 points and 5.9 assists per game.
Waters scored only 15 points in the opening-round game against #14 Yale’s stifling defense. He shot only 5-for-15 from the floor including 1-for-5 from downtown. LSU blew a 15-point lead in the first half, but held on for the win. Waters dished seven assists in the win.
In the Round of 32, LSU jumped out to another lead in the first half, only to see their opponent close the gap in the second half. Maryland played zone defense in the second half and LSU failed to adjust. The Tigers went cold and finished only 7-for-24 from three-point range.
Waters missed all four of his attempts from downtown, but he shot 5-for-8 from the floor. Waters finished with 12 points, but he hit the biggest shot in the game with a second remaining. With the score tied at 67-67, Waters drove to the hole and blew by three defenders. He banked an underhand scoop shot to put LSU ahead.
“Great players make great plays, and he made a great play,” said LSU’s interim coach Tony Benford.
With Waters’ clutch basket, LSU advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in a decade. LSU is the biggest long shot on the board with 16 teams remaining. According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book, LSU is 50/1 odds to win March Madness.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 23, 2019