An all-tourney team of NBA stars

What would the NCAA tourney be if Kyrie Irving and others stayed in school?

Originally Published: March 27, 2013
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

This past Sunday, the question on everyone's mind was: "What's wrong with college basketball?"

Overcoaching is clearly one of them. Too many teams making too many passes in search of the perfect shot, thus the offense gets too few good looks and ultimately, too little scoring. The game is also physical, something the NBA adjusted so scoring (and excitement) could increase. Of course, the biggest void, obviously, is the college game is missing its stars. How would the Miami Heat look without the Big 3? What would the Oklahoma City Thunder be minus their All-Stars?

That is what the college game must deal with. Even with freer offensive systems and less wrestling on the court, "blue-chip" players remain what separate the good teams from great and great teams from legendary ones. But what if it were like the old days again, and college players stayed in school looking for that shot at a national championship? Many of the NBA's brightest young players actually would still be in college and perhaps playing in the NCAA tournament right now.

So I put together an all-tournament team made up of these young NBA players. In fact, a lot of these players are in my weekly Rookie Report. Of course, this list doesn't assume they would become the players they are now -- the NBA develops stars far better with so many more games, and players have so much more time to work on their game -- but we can remember who they were when they left college and why they would have been stars in today's NCAA tournament.


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