Local stars headlining NCAA Tournament



Check out The Post’s all-area NCAA Tournament team ahead of March Madness 2021:

Sr. G Jose Alvarado (15.4 PPG, 4.2 APG), Georgia Tech, Brooklyn

A former star at Christ the King in Queens, the 6-foot Alvarado deserves this opportunity. He has improved every season, and instead of looking elsewhere during difficult times, he helped improve the situation at Georgia Tech.

So. G James Bouknight (19.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG), Connecticut, Brooklyn

The 6-foot-5 Crown Heights native is one of the premier guards in the country, a projected lottery pick who makes the Huskies a legitimate second-weekend threat. If not for an elbow injury that cost him eight games, he likely would have been named Big East Player of the Year as a sophomore.

So. C Kofi Cockburn (17.3 PPG, 9.6 RPG) Illinois, Brooklyn

In this age in which everyone shoots 3-pointers and wants to play on the perimeter, the 7-foot Cockburn proves a dominant old-school big man can still be effective. Alvarado’s Christ the King teammate is a menace at both ends of the floor, one key to Illinois’ Final Four hopes.

So. G Tyson Etienne (17.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG), Wichita State, Englewood (N.J.)

He didn’t follow the mass exodus out of Wichita State. Etienne opted to stick around when coach Gregg Marshall resigned amid harassment accusations, and he blossomed under new coach Isaac Brown, leading the Shockers to a surprising AAC regular-season crown.

Jr. G/F Ron Harper Jr. (15.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG), Rutgers, Franklin Lakes (N.J.)

The son of five-time NBA champion Ron Harper has gone from an unsung three-star recruit to a key piece on Rutgers’ first tournament team in three decades. Harper scores inside and out, but it is his toughness and defense-first mentality that makes him so valuable.

Ron Harper Jr.
Ron Harper Jr.

Second Team

Jr. G R.J. Cole (12.7 PPG, 4.4 APG), UConn, Union, N.J.

Fr. G Andre Curbelo (8.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG), Illinois, Brookville, N.Y.

Jr. G Kyle Lofton (14.2 PPG, 5.5 APG), St. Bonaventure, Hillside, N.J.

So. G Jahvon Quinerly (12.3 PPG, 3.0 APG), Alabama, Hackensack. N.J.

JR. G Camren Wynter (16.8 PPG, 5.3 APG), Drexel, Hempstead, N.Y.

Third Team

Sr. G Michael Almonacy (12.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG), Appalachian State, Brentwood, N.Y.

Fr. G R.J. Davis (8.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG), North Carolina, White Plains, N.Y.

Jr. G/F Alan Griffin (14.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG), Syracuse, Ossining, N.Y.

So. G Scottie Lewis (8.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG), Florida, Hazlet, N.J.

Fr. F Adama Sanogo (7.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG), Connecticut, Elizabeth. N.J.

Best COVID Accessory

Not content wearing a mask like most other college basketball coaches, Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner has been sporting a face shield this season. It worked against him in a Feb. 12 loss to Clemson, though, as he received a technical foul after smashing his face shield against the scorer’s table to protest a call.

Best Save of a Streak

While fellow blue-blood Duke saw its 24-year NCAA Tournament streak come to an end, Michigan State stretched its run to 22 years despite starting the season 2-7 in the Big Ten.

Best Coincidence

The last time both Duke and Kentucky missed the NCAA Tournament? 1976. The last time an undefeated team won the NCAA Tournament? 1976. Maybe that bodes well for Gonzaga, which enters the event 26-0.

Best Hurley Brother

Arizona State, coached by Bobby Hurley, began the season ranked No. 18 in the AP Top 25, but it was Dan Hurley’s Connecticut team that ended up making the NCAA Tournament, while his brother finished ninth in the Pac-12.

Best Adult Rec-League Team

Wisconsin’s all-senior starting lineup is not just a rarity in college basketball, it was noted earlier this season that the average age of the Badgers’ starting five (22.6) is older than the NBA’s Chicago Bulls (21.6). Point guard D’Mitrik Trice, 24, is five years older than most of the sport’s top freshmen, such as Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham.


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