March Madness MVPs – Where are they now?
Have you ever wondered what happened to the heroes of previous NCAA tournaments? Many of these players were the big men on campus and received national attention because of their performances during March Madness. Some of these college stars went on to NBA careers that sizzled while others had short-lived careers that fizzled. Here are the careers of a few of the former players voted Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament over the past 30 years.
As a freshman, Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse to the 2003 national championship by scoring 33 points in the semifinals against Texas and 20 points against Kansas in the final. Melo left for the NBA after his freshman season and was the third pick in the NBA Draft. Carmelo exploded onto the NBA scene, averaging over 21 points per game as a rookie.
|In Pictures: March Madness MVPs – Where are they now?|
He has made three All-Star teams and led the Denver Nuggets to the playoffs in each of his first six seasons. Carmelo’s stellar play was rewarded with a five-year $80 million dollar contract in 2006.
In 1999, Connecticut shooting guard Richard Hamilton scored 27 points to lead the Huskies to a three-point win over Duke in the NCAA championship game. The No. 7 pick in the 1999 draft has been one of the best shooting guards in the NBA for the past 11 seasons. Hamilton is the model of consistency, averaging 18 points per game throughout his career.
He has helped the Pistons to six Eastern Conference Finals appearances and one NBA title. Hamilton’s consistent play has earned him over $70 million dollars during his playing career.
Being the best player in the NCAA tournament doesn’t always mean hitting the jackpot. The following players didn’t enjoy the same success as did those listed above, showing that winning this award is no guarantee of future success.
Christian Laettner is famous for his performances in Final Fours. He scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the 1991 championship game win over Kansas. Laettner finished his career at Duke winning two NCAA titles and being considered as one of the best college basketball players of all time.
But his NBA career was mediocre at best. He never came close to achieving the same level of success that he enjoyed in college. Laettner retired in 2005 and now co-owns a community development company, Blue Devil Ventures.
After scoring 30 points and grabbing 17 rebounds to lead UCLA to the 1995 NCAA championship, O’Bannon was selected with the ninth pick in the NBA Draft. But his career fizzled out in the NBA after playing only two seasons. O’Bannon was too slow to defend quick guards and too small to defend taller forwards.
After washing out of the NBA he began selling cars at a Las Vegas dealership until recently getting a job as a high school basketball coach.
Other Most Outstanding Players: