March Madness is here! Take a look at 5 of the most exciting under the radar guards playing in this NCAA Tournament this year.
JaQuori Mclaughlin-UCSB: A smooth and efficient combo guard who is hard to speed up. There is simply no fat in Mclaughlin's game. He is either scoring at the rim or from distance with fast processing and great feel. He has enough athleticism to play above rim and could give Creighton a fit with his ability to pick apart the offense.
Dejon Jarreau-Houston: A wiry shot creator who has battled through a ton of adversity throughout his collegiate career. The New Orleans native is a wild card in a very dynamic Houston offense who is capable of impacting the game in a multitude of ways with great length and tremendous activity. His scoring comes in waves and whether or not he can harness his immense talent will be a big factor in how far Houston can go in the big dance.
Jason Preston-Ohio: Now one of the worst kept secrets in college basketball, Preston is a flashy lead guard with a creation aesthetic that is not so dissimilar from the Chino Hills phenom Lamelo Ball. There are some questions about how Preston will get to his spots and create advantages against the superb athletes he will be facing in this tournament, but the process will be exciting either way for the soon to be NBA draft pick.
Chandler Vaudrin-Winthrop: Is he a guard? A wing? A point forward? Hard to say but whatever Vaudrin is he will be a must watch in this March Madness tournament. The 6'8 play-making savant often looks like he's moving in slow motion but its hard to argue with the results as he's a triple double threat almost every night on a Winthrop team playing great basketball. Its hard to say whether Vaudrin's limited athleticism is going to make him a liability against a team Villanova filled with great size and tremendous athletes but its certainly going to be entertaining watching the crafty former D2 player maximize his IQ against a high major opponent.
Javion Hamlet- North Texas: Hamlet is a physical jack of all trades who Purdue, and very college teams anywhere, have a clear answer for on the defensive end. He combines an effective mid-range game with crafty finishing and should hopefully spearhead a gritty North Texas team into a Dark Horse tournament run.
Chandler Jacobs- DBU
Measurables: Position: Shooting Guard, Height: 6'3, Weight: 205lbs, Wingspan: 6'8
Strengths: In one of the strongest D2 conferences in the country Jacobs is the standout... Explosive 3-level scorer who is has having one of the most efficient high volume seasons ever... Shooting 60% from 2, 50% from 3 and engulfing almost 9 rebounds a game at the time of writing this... Explosive athlete with incredibly smooth ball skills in isolation that make him aesthetically pleasing to watch... Crafty ambidextrous finishing ability and the confidence to challenge rim protectors... Almost impossible to stay in-front of at the D2 level.
Weaknesses: Very streamlined game that works for him and against him... Can be robotic in certain actions... Needs to make faster decisions in pick & roll to continue getting high percentage shots at higher levels... Good feet but the focus on defense is not always there... Size wise he is a little stuck between positions at the 1 and the 2.
Projected Level: One of the rare D2 seniors who actually looks like a better prospect in the NBA G-League than he does in Europe... Jacobs' dynamic athleticism and high level shot making should allow him to get some looks at almost every 1 division in Europe, but if G-league aspirations don't come to fruition look for him a league like A2 Italy.
Overview: The most dynamic scorer to come out of D2 basketball since Jhonathan Dunn from Southern Nazarene.... The talent Jacobs possesses is not in question while watching him scorch the majority of opponents that attempt to match up with him, Jacobs overall success as a pro will more-so be predicated on how he adapts to facilitating and making decisions against more equitable athletes and seasoned players.
Skyler Beauchamp is a Senior Sport Management Major at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs