This past week, I had a chance to attend the first round and the second round of NCAA tournament games. This was a great experience as I saw a number of outstanding athletes and top rated recruits who went on to college. And when looking at it from a recruiting perspective, it was very interesting.
Obviously not every person in the country is going to be blessed by God with a 7-foot frame or freak athleticism. Either one of those attributes happens so rarely that you are truly blessed. But outside of these athletes, I saw a number of smaller guards who willed themselves to play at the Division I level. I can only imagine how many hours these guards worked to improve their ball handling and shooting to get to that level.
But the time has paid off for these athletes as they have been given a chance to play in the NCAA tournament. Younger athletes should use what these smaller guards have done to turn themselves into a player. There were a number of guards on basically all of the teams that I saw who were somewhere around 6-foot and not exactly what you would consider extremely quick.
These players got it done by making smart decisions on the court and stepping up to hit shots when they needed to. Here are a few of the players that I saw who really stood out. Their height/weight is not something that will impress you but when they get on the court, they can flat out play.
Kyle McAlarney – Notre Dame – 6-foot – 186 pounds
This guard has worked himself into the lineup and made the most of his opportunities. He was the second leading scorer on a Notre Dame team that made it past the first round of the NCAA tournament. McAlarney was good at the high school level by scoring 2,566 points but he did it by hard work and perseverance. Click here for his college profile.
Drew Neitzel – Michigan State – 6-foot – 180 pounds
The player I may have been most impressed with was Neitzel. If you have been following college basketball for the last few years, chances are good that you have heard of this standout guard. Despite his size, he has been playing shooting guard for Michigan State. And after watching him, I can only imagine how much time he has put into shooting the ball. He needs very little space to get his shot up and did it despite getting hounded defensively. What he has done is impressive. Click here for his college profile.
Taylor Rochestie – Washington State – 6-foot-1 – 186 pounds
Rochestie has an interesting story because he started his college career at Tulane. After playing one year there and doing well, he decided to transfer to Washington State. He is on scholarship but told the coaching staff that he was willing to pay his own way to help the Cougars take another athlete in their recruiting class. He is another small athlete who also looks like McLovin from SuperBad but he can flat out play. He is a very heady point guard who makes plays and can knock down the open shot. Click here for his college profile.
When looking at their profiles, it was pretty obvious that they were extremely good basketball players at the prep level. But with their limited size, they have done what it takes to play at the college level on very good teams. It shows that if you put the time in and work to achieve your goals, they can happen.
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