While many traditionalists see college basketball becoming a game tainted by freshmen and sophomores, some veterans beg to differ. When the NCAA tournament takes the spotlight again this month, there will be some familiar names.

The presence of certain players may trigger responses such as "That guy's still around?" "There's no way that guy's still in college!" or "Didn't he play with NBA Player A?"

Here are some players you still cannot believe are in the NCAA tournament.

Players You Can't Believe Are Still In NCAA Basketball Tournament Slideshow


Doug McDermott, Creighton

When all is said and done, McDermott will be a three-time All-American, top-five Division I all-time scorer and likely National Player of the Year winner. McDermott averages 21.0 points and 9.8 rebounds in four NCAA tournament games. Last year, McDermott especially opened eyes with a 27 and 11 in the second round versus Cincinnati. He averaged a national-high 26.9 pointsduring the regular season and has not scored under 20 points since Jan. 25.


Aaron Craft, Ohio State

Three years ago, Yahoo! Sports gave this 6-2 point guard Big Ten Freshman of the Year Honors after he broke out in Columbus. The Findlay, Ohio, native, who was also the centerpiece of Bruce Pearl's rift at Tennessee, was Jared Sullinger's sidekick for two years, before the big man jumped to the pros. Craft's NCAA tournament resume includes three trips to the Sweet 16, two trips to the Elite Eight and one trip to the Final Four. His lasting pose may be his cool reaction to a game-winning three-pointer last year against Iowa State.


C.J. Fair, Syracuse

Syracuse's southpaw leader, Fair averaged 15.4 points during the Orange's run to last season's Final Four. In 2013-14, he is averaging his highest point total of 16.7. Syracuse's guards (e.g. Michael Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis) have gotten a lot of credit the past few years, but Fair has been a rock for Jim Boeheim.


Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati

Kilpatrick graduated White Plains High School in 2008, but after a postgraduate year at prep school and a redshirt year watching then-freshman phenom Lance Stephenson, Kilpatrick debuted in the 2010-11 season. He had 10 points off the bench in his tournament debut, a 78-63 third-round win over Missouri. In 2012, playing alongside Yancy Gates and Cashmere Wright, Kilpatrick made noise by dropping 18 in a 62-56 third round upset of Florida State. Kilpatrick upped his personal ante by dropping 19 in his only tournament game of 2013, a 67-63 loss to Creighton. This year, the 24-year-old rides a 20.7-point average into March. He has scored less than 12 points only once this season: A nine-point effort.


Adreian Payne, Michigan State

One of many patient big men to play for Tom Izzo, Payne played just eight minutes in Michigan State's one tournament game during his freshman season. Three years later, Payne is one of the nation's most feared inside presences both offensively and defensively. Last year, Payne broke out for 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a 70-48 third-round thrashing of Memphis. He rides consecutive 18-point performances into this year's dance.


Shabazz Napier, UConn

A national champion three years ago, Shabazz Napier complemented Kemba Walker during UConn's 2011 run. In the time since Walker's departure (and Jim Calhoun's), Napier has become the guy in Storrs. Averaging more than 17 points for the second straight season, the AAC Player of the Year has high expectations waiting in March.


Russ Smith, Louisville

Arguably college basketball's forgotten man until his 42-point outing in the AAC Tournament, Smith is still grinding for the Cardinals. Smith did not play in Louisville's 2011 second-round upset at the hands of Morehead State, but the 6-0 guard was instrumental in Louisville's 2012 Final Four run and 2013 NCAA title run. Smith averaged 23.3 points in last year's tournament.


Andre Dawkins, Duke

Duke always seems to have one senior stalwart on their team, and this year it is Dawkins, who also happens to be a fifth-year senior. The guard is the only remaining player from Duke's 2010 title run, as he played five minutes in the championship game. After sitting out last season for personal reasons, Dawkins' minutes are down, he has managed to find efficiency. Dawkins is averaging 8.2 points in just 13.9 minutes.


80 Percent of Florida's Starting Lineup

In an age of diaper dandies and one-and-dones, Florida is 32-2 with a roster that features four seniors. Casey Prather, Will Yeguete, Patric Young and Scottie Wilbekin all played on Florida's three consecutive Elite Eight teams. Now, hoisting the overall No. 1 seed, the Gators are hungry for a deeper run into the tournament. No one else has the postseason experience of Billy Donovan's team.

previous next

-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.