Every single year, college basketball players go on to become household names because of the incredible things they accomplish during the Big Dance. Every element of March Madness lends itself to moments that we’ll never forget — win-or-go-home games, the possibility of Cinderella stories, the small schools that normally don’t get a ton of shine on the national stage, everything comes together to turn young hoopers into legends.
Of course, not every college basketball standout goes on to become an NBA superstar, something that is especially true with those who catch fire during the Tournament. But for three dudes in the league right now, the things they did during their college careers weren’t just memorable, they prepared them for another big stage: the NBA playoffs.
Today’s Dime Breakdown recalls the March exploits of Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, and De’Andre Hunter. All three hoopers are on the verge of making the postseason for the first time for the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, and Atlanta Hawks, respectively, and while they’re young, there’s plenty of reason to believe they’ll rise to the occasion. Why? Well, because we’ve seen them do it before: Bridges and Brunson are two-time national champs from their time at Villanova, with both leading the Wildcats to glory during their final year in school. Hunter, meanwhile, was a stud for Virginia, serving as a two-way monster for one of the best college teams we’ve seen in recent memory.
Bridges’ and Hunter’s teams have never made the playoffs since they entered the league, and while Brunson’s squad made it last year, an injury kept him from playing. But this year, we expect to see all of them in the postseason, and we’d be shocked if all three of them didn’t show out.