Where Are They Now? Revisiting the NCAA Tournament

ncaaThe wait is over and the event we’ve all been waiting for is finally upon us—we’re finally back with another edition of Where Are They Now?

In the spirit of the NCAA Tournament, we’ve taken a keen focus to some of the greatest Tournament performers of the past decade. Some anchored Cinderella stories that we’ll never forget, while others reached stardom by way of their Tournament success.

One way or another, these players had their respective careers shaped by March Madness. So who are they and where are they now?

 

1. Sherron Collins, Kansas Jayhawks

399px-Sherron_Collins_by_Judd_Furlong

If you’re looking for a point guard to step in and lead your team through the NCAA Tournament, there are few that can claim to be as effective as Sherron Collins. Even as a sophomore reserve in 2007-08, Collins made an undeniable impact.

Collins came up with 11 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals during the 2008 National Championship Game—a game that Kansas won 75-68 in overtime.

This set the stage for one of the most memorable careers in Kansas Jayhawks history. While he wasn’t a legend, per say, Collins proved time and time again to be a primetime performer.

The 2008-09 NCAA Tournament will forever live on in lore.

Collins averaged 25.7 points, 4.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds on 55.2 percent shooting from the floor during Kansas’ Sweet 16 run. That includes a 20-point performance against former Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas, whom Collins held to 5-of-15 shooting.

Even as the Jayhawks made an early exit in 2009-10, the legacy was left—Collins is one of the best Tournament performers of our time. That’s evidenced in his two selections as an All-American and the 2010 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award honor he received.

So where is he now?

Despite going undrafted, Collins ended up in the NBA by signing with the Charlotte Bobcats. He played 20 games for Charlotte, seeing limited action and split time in the NBA D-League with the Maine Red Claws. This led to Collins’ decision to go overseas.

The former Kansas star played for Hacettepe Universitesi Basketbol Kulubu of the Turkish Basketball League. He played well, seeing significant minutes for the team and providing a quality presence at the point.

Collins joined the San Antonio Spurs’ summer league team in October of 2012, but has since been waived.

2. Reece Gaines, Louisville Cardinalsreece-gaines

Reece Gaines is one of the best college basketball players in recent history. If you don’t believe me, just ask one of the NBA’s superstars – Miami Heat shooting guard and 2006 NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade.

Reese Gaines from Louisville RT @: @ best player u played against in college?
@DwyaneWade
Way of WADE

How about that?

For those unfamiliar, Gaines was a 6’6″ shooting guard for the Louisville Cardinals. He was a dynamic playmaker who dominated with his scoring and facilitating abilities.

Gaines helped guide the Cardinals to two NCAA Tournament appearances. At the time he left for the NBA Draft, Gaines ranked in the Top 5 in Louisville history in assists, free throws and 3-point field goals.

The All-American would soon thereafter go 15th overall in the 2003 NBA Draft to the Orlando Magic. He played three seasons in the NBA, hitting the floor for Orlando, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Houston Rockets.

In 2006, Gaines began a three-year stint in Italy. He played for three teams in that time, thus leading to two stints in the NBA D-League. After spending time with the Bakersfield Jam and Texas Legends, Gaines would experience decent success in Greece and France, respectively.

In 2012, Gaines put on two excellent performances for Austrian team BSC Raiffeisen Furstenfeld. It was then that Gaines cut his playing career short and moved on to future endeavors.

Gaines now works as an assistant coach at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.

3. Lee Humphrey, Florida Gators399px-Lhump

The Florida Gators will play the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles tonight for a chance to make their third consecutive Elite Eight appearance. In honor of their NCAA Tournament success, we reminisce on the 2006 and 2007 Gators that won back-to-back titles.

Although his name may not be as well-known as the All-Stars who surrounded him, Florida alum Lee Humphrey was a major reason for both of those championships. If you don’t believe that, simply check the numbers.

Humphrey set the record for career 3-point field goals during the NCAA Tournament.

Furthermore, Humphrey broke the school record for 3-point field goals made in one season and for a career. Humphrey also holds the NCAA record for most consecutive games with a 3-point field goal made in one season.

Since transitioning to a career overseas, it’s been more of the same.

After two lackluster seasons in which he adjusted to the European style of play, Humphrey burst onto the scene in 2008 with Ratiopharm Ulm of Germany. He continued to prove his 3-point prowess and became one of the most respected pure shooters in the world.

Humphrey followed his international success with a 50-game stint in the NBA D-League. As a member of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Humphrey averaged 10.5 points on 41.% shooting from distance.

Rather than spend his time waiting to be called up by an NBA franchise, Humphrey signed with Denain of France’s second-tier league. That’s where he currently performs.

You guessed it—Humphrey continues to score in double-figures and shoots at a high clip from beyond the arc.

4. Dominic James, Marquette Golden EaglesGeorgetown v Marquette

The Marquette Golden Eagles have qualified for their first Elite Eight appearance since 2003. This marks a time in which Marquette fans can both cheer for their team and reminisce on the players who worked to get the Golden Eagles to their current status.

For instance, point guard Dominic James.

James never experienced the postseason success of the other players on this list. What James was able to do, however, was pace Marquette to NCAA Tournament berths despite the questions of how legitimate of a team Marquette truly was.

James’ ability to do anything and everything to pick up a win proved valuable enough to exceed expectations.

During James’ first season, 2006, he averaged 15.3 points, 5.4 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. As a freshman, he led Marquette to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003.

Marquette has since made it to the NCAA Tournament in every single season since James arrived and revitalized the program.

James tragically suffered a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot with mere weeks remaining until March Madness. This neutralized his draft stock and left the dynamic playmaker without an NBA home upon graduating from Marquette.

Nevertheless, James has carved out a high-quality career overseas. He’s played in Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Italy and France. No matter where he’s gone, James has been a dynamic scorer and respected facilitator.

James has built his reputation in both league and EuroCup play since joining the international ranks. In the present day, he’s averaging 17.4 points and 4.2 assists per game as a member of Poitiers Basket 86 of France.

The dynamo known as Dominic James continues to awe the masses.

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