The Jazz & The Tournament

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March Madness has long been one of the greatest American basketball traditions, and this year’s tournament looks to be every bit as exciting as any. Let’s take a look at the former March Madness careers of current Utah Jazz players.

Trey Burke, University of Michigan

Trey Burke was the 2013 National Player of the Year, and led the Wolverines to the Final Four against Louisville. While his accolades of this past year are well-known, his freshman season was interesting as well. Burke led the Wolverines to their first share of a Big 10 Conference title since 1986, and also helped Michigan finish with it’s best conference record since 1994. That year, in the tournament, the Wolverines lost in the round of 64 to Ohio. Burke left Michigan for the NBA, but cemented his legacy at Michigan by notching the second-most amount of minutes ever played in a season – 1,227 minutes as a freshman.

Gordon Hayward, Butler University

Gordon Hayward is most famous for his shot against Duke from beyond half-court, that, had it gone in, would have been the most famous shot in NCAA history. Butler is a smaller mid-major college, and Hayward helped put them on a national scene. In his freshman season, Hayward won the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year award, for his efforts in helping the Bulldogs grab a 26-5 record.

Following that season ending in 2009, Hayward was selected to play at the 2009 FIBA Under-19 World Championships, and earned All-Star honors there.

In the 2009-10 season, Hayward led his Butler Bulldogs all the way to the Final Four, earning West Region MVP honors in the process.

Richard Jefferson, University of Arizona

Richard Jefferson was a standout four-year player at Arizona under Hall of Fame coach Lute Olsen. Jefferson appeared in 84 games for the Wildcats over his four years of college ball, and capped his college days by pushing his Arizona team to the 2001 National Championship. The Wildcats lost to Duke by a score of 87-72.

Jefferson was inducted into the PAC-12 Basketball Hall of Honor in 2012, and his jersey hangs in the rafters at Arizona. After that great college career, Jefferson was selected 13th overall by the Houston Rockets.

Brandon Rush, University of Kansas

Brandon Rush spent three years at Kansas under coach Bill Self. During his freshman season, Rush was instrumental in helping Kansas reach the Big 12 championship game, beating Texas 80-68. The Jayhawks then lost to Bradley in the round of 64. 2006-07 saw a run to the Elite Eight for Rush and his Kansas teammates. The Jayhawks lost to the UCLA Bruins in the 2007 tournament.

He was injured the following year, foiling his plans to enter the NBA draft, and instead returned to play for the Jayhawks. Once Rush was rehabbed from injury, he was inserted back into the starting lineup. The 2007-08 season saw Kansas crowned as national champions, and Rush played a huge part in the their run. He was named MVP of the national semifinal against North Carolina after a 25 point-7 rebound effort. After this stellar season Rush declared for the NBA draft and was picked 13th overall by the Portland Trailblazers.

John Lucas III, Baylor University/Oklahoma State University

John Lucas III originally played for Baylor, but after scandal rocked the program in 2003, he transferred to Oklahoma State University.  In 2004, Lucas hit a game-winning shot against St. Joseph’s University to send the Oklahoma State Cowboys to the Final Four.

Ian Clark, Belmont University

Ian Clark was a standout at Belmont. He was Freshman of the Year when Belmont was still in the Atlantic Sun conference, during the 2009-10 season, and collected Defensive Player of the Year and Co-Offensive Player of the Year awards during his senior season when the school joined the Ohio Valley Conference. Clark led Belmont to three straight automatic NCAA tournament bids, by winning the Atlantic Sun conference tournament twice, and the Ohio Valley Conference tournament in his senior year. The Bruins never managed to bust out of the round of 64, however, even with Clark shooting a third-best nationally 45.9% from the three-point line. Belmont nearly busted brackets last year against Arizona, but the Wildcats came back late and snuffed out the Bruins’ hopes of getting to the round of 32.

Marvin Williams, University of North Carolina

Marvin Williams was a collegiate standout in every way. As a freshman for the Tar Heels, Williams played a huge role in securing the 2005 NCAA Championship. He averaged 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds as the sixth man for North Carolina. His fame came when he scored the clinching bucket against Illinois (a team on which former Jazzman Deron Williams played) in the title game, sealing a 75-70 North Carolina victory.

Williams played just a freshman season, and was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks, where he played from 2005-2012, before being traded to the Jazz.

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