Despite the ongoing pandemic, March Madness still made its way to the courts this year and gave us all a few weeks of exciting action from some of the best teams in college hoops. Many COP alum lead their teams through the brackets hoping to each capture that “one shining moment.”
Iowa’s Luka Garza (Washington DC Maret, 2016) led his Hawkeyes to the second round of the tournament before being ousted by Oregon. Garza averaged 24 points and almost nine rebounds per game and finished his season sweeping all three major awards for player of the year: the Wooden Award, Naismith Award and AP National Player of the Year.
Baylor’s Jared Butler (Reserve Riverside Academy, 2014) also had an outstanding season and raised his NBA draft stock tremendously. Butler led his Bears to a No. 2 national ranking throughout much of the season and to the NCAA tournament championship where they defeated then No. 1 Gonzaga 86-70. Butler was rewarded with the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award after finishing with 22 points, seven assists and three rebounds in the Bears victory.
National runner-up Gonzaga featured Andrew Nembhard (Montverde Academy, 2016), who transferred last year from the University of Florida. Nembhard averaged just over nine points per game and four assists on the season for the Zags, who were ranked No. 1 most of the year.
And although it’s still way too soon to be confident about this, the very early favorite to capture next year’s NCAA title is Gonzaga.