The NCAA tournament gives players the unique chance to leave their mark on the record books. And during the past seven decades, dozens of young men have spectacularly risen to the occasion in March.
ThePostGame asked Steve Kerr, the TNT broadcaster who starred at Arizona and in the NBA, to name his top NCAA tournament performers. To make it easier on Kerr, we divided the tournament into two eras: pre-shot clock (before 1985) and post.
Even still, the task is incredibly difficult. As you'll see, several notable names were left off this list. After reeling off the first five names that came to mind, Kerr realized he had forgotten one very important one.
"Was [Michael] Jordan before or after?" Kerr asked. It turns out MJ starred at North Carolina from 1981-1984, just before the introduction of the shot clock.
"Oh man," Kerr said. "Well I skipped Jordan then."
Not to worry, Steve, it's hard to argue with any of these five.
West never won an NCAA title, but he was extremely prolific in the tournament. As a junior West averaged a tournament record 32 points-per-game while leading the Mountaineers to the final. West Virginia lost by one point to California, but West was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
Bradley had a legendary NCAA tournament in 1965, leading the underdog Tigers to the Final Four and scoring 41 points in Princeton's semifinal loss to Michigan. In the consolation game, Bradley dropped 58 points on Wichita State and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
Abdul-Jabbar, known as Lew Alcindor during his days at UCLA, went 88-2 during his three years on the varsity squad in Westwood. He won three national championships and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four in each of those years.
"The Dream" and his Phi Slama Jama teammates lost in consecutive NCAA championship games in 1983 and 1984. Olajuwon was a dominant force during both campaigns, and despite losing to N.C. State in 1983 he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
Kerr has been serving on a panel which recently selected the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Allstate NABC Good Works Team. For more information about the squad and its honorees, see here.
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