There’s zero NBA basketball on tonight. We all get a breather. The nation will watch Villanova and Michigan do battle for the national title. Villanova is easily the favorite but who knows what’ll happen.
For the Thunder players, there’s a lot of looking back to their collegiate days. Many played in national championship games. Some won. Some lost. Here’s how the Thunder players fared in their title bouts.
There’s just something about awkward, bad hair guys from Duke. Singler led the Duke Blue Devils to the 2010 National Championship over the Butler Bulldogs. Yeah, you know that game. Gordon Hayward took a half court heave that almost ended with a story book ending. It didn’t.
Who would have thought Hayward would be the bigger superstar and Singler would be on the outs of his rotation? Maybe the 0-of-10 game against Baylor in the Elite Eight gave it away.
Anyway, Singler was voted Most Outstanding Player of the game and tournament. He averaged 18.2 points on 45.7 percent from three.
How good was Raymond Felton in college? This good:
Felton was put on the cover EA’s March Madness, later renamed NCAA Basketball. Felton was a catalyst in the Tar Heels beating the previously unbeaten Illini of Illinois. Felton had Felton had 17 points, dished out six assists on 4-of-9 shooting in the win over Illinois in the championship game.
Sean May, who’s not in the league anymore, was the Most Outstanding Player. Felton was named to the NCAA Tournament All-Tournament team. It was North Carolina’s first national title in 12 years.
In six games during the NCAA tournament, Felton average 13.7 points, 6.8 assists per game on 44.1 percent three-point shooting. Felton had a near triple-double in the Sweet 16 win over Villanova. He finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists.
The forgotten Thunder player, Dakari Johnson went to two final fours in his two seasons at Kentucky. His freshman year, he started 18 games, en route to the National Championship game in 2014. That’s where Kentucky ran into Kevin Ollie’s UConn team. The Huskies beat Kentucky 60-54 in a surprising but boring game.
Johnson started the title game but was largely ineffective. He scored just five points on 2-of-5 shooting, pulled down four rebounds.
Johnson would be on the really talented Kentucky team that was upset by Wisconsin in the 2015 Final Four. That Wisconsin team would fall to Duke in the National Championship game the following season.
Mr. Thunder was the best player in the country at Kansas his senior year. He was the coach’s choice for Player of the Year. Consensus All-American. Big 12 Player of the Year and helped the Kansas Jayhawks to the 2003 title game.
After going through Dwyane Wade’s Marquette team in the Final Four, Collison led the Jayhawks against this upstart freshman named Carmelo Anthony and the Syracuse Orangemen.
Collison played 40 minutes, only resting during timeouts and at halftime. He finished with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, pulled down 21 rebounds… not a typo. He was a beast. Unfortunately for Hair Thunder, he was a poor 3-of-10 at the free throw line as Kansas lost 81-78.
Collison averaged 18.7 points and 13.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game on 64.9 percent from the floor for the 2003 NCAA Tournament.
Anthony was a highly touted recruit and it showed throughout the season as Syracuse was one of the best teams in college basketball. Anthony took the Orangemen all the way to the title game against Kansas. You know about Collison’s heroics but it was Anthony who got the last laugh.
Anthony scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out seven assists as Anthony was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. The real performance was the 33-point scoring output by Anthony as Syracuse handed out to Texas in the Final Four.
Anthony averaged 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game on 47.6 percent three-point shooting. After the game, Anthony declared for the NBA Draft, being taken third by the Denver Nuggets. The rest is history.
Maybe the most successful in the NCAA tournament out of all Thunder players. Brewer was apart of the back-to-back championships Florida had in 2006 and 2007. Coach by Thunder head man, Billy Donovan, Brewer and the Florida Gators lost just 11 games over the two championship seasons.
In 2006, Brewer helped Florida win their school’s first banner as the Gators beat the UCLA Bruins 73-57. No, Russell Westbrook didn’t play in this game. Brewer had 11 points and seven rebounds in the win over UCLA.
In 2007, Brewer led the Gators to their second consecutive National Championship. Brewer and the Gators beat Ohio State in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated. Something about Florida playing Big 10 teams in title games. Brewer scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. This game involved eight NBA players, five on Florida and three on Ohio State. Brewer was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
Brewer averaged 15.9 points and almost seven rebounds per game as a senior.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!