With all that’s going on with the global pandemic of COVID-19, all sports and events were either postponed or cancelled. That even included the highly anticipated NCAA March Madness tournament. So I was curious as to know, in the absence of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, just how far some of our Washington Wizards’ players have gone in March Madness if at all.
Based off washington’s current depth chart, six players have made an appearance, four being Wizards’ starters and two reserves.
They are: Shabazz Napier, Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Moritz Wagner and Admiral Schofield. Napier, Hachimura and Wagner were the only ones to taste what it felt like to make the National Championship game, but Napier was the only one to know what it was like to win it.
Shabazz Napier (UConn, 2011 and 2014 National Champion)
Napier is the only current Wizards player who won a national championship, two times at that. He won as a freshman and as a senior with the Connecticut Huskies. In Napier’s freshman year, his team took out the Butler Bulldogs, 53-41. And his senior year, the Huskies defeated the Kentucky Wildcats, 60-54, in the National Championship and was named Most Outstanding Player.
Bradley Beal (Florida, 2012 Elite Eight)
Beal played for the Florida Gators, where they advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to Louisville in 2012. Beal and the Gators had a magical run as they stunned Marquette, a third-seeded team, in the Sweet Sixteen.
Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga, 2017 National Runner Up)
No stranger to March Madness, Hachimura made an appearance in all three of his college seasons at Gonzaga before declaring for the NBA Draft last year.
His best appearance was as a freshman as the Bulldogs made the national championship game for the first time in their history . Unfortunately, their run was cut short by the North Carolina Tar Heels. In his following two seasons, the Bulldogs made it to the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight respectively.
Thomas Bryant (Indiana, 2016 Sweet Sixteen)
In Bryant’s lone year as a Hoosier, Indiana finished 27-8 winning the Big Ten title. In the NCAA tournament, Bryant and the Hoosiers advanced to the Sweet Sixteen taking down the Kentucky Wildcats previously. Their run was then cut short by the UNC Tar Heels, 101-86, who would go on to be national runner up that season.
Moritz Wagner (Michigan, 2018 National Runner Up)
Like Napier, Wagner is better known as a college basketball star than as an NBA player.
Though Wagner didn’t win a national championship during his three years at Michigan, the Wolverines made the Big Dance every year and were national runner ups in 2018 when they lost to Villanova. In the national semifinals, that year, he scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in a win over Loyola-Chicago, the 11th-seeded Cinderella in that year’s tournament.
Admiral Schofield (Tennessee, 2019 Sweet 16)
Schofield didn’t make it in the tournament until his final two seasons as a Volunteer.
In his junior year the Volunteers made the second round before getting upset by the same Loyola-Chicago that Wagner had his big game later on in the Final Four. However, Schofield led the Volunteers to the Sweet Sixteen the following year.
In his final game for Tennessee, Schofield scored 21 points sparking a run after being down 18 points in a 99-94 overtime loss to the Purdue Boilermakers.
And what about John Wall?
Though Wall isn’t on the depth chart due to injury, he too had a successful run with the Kentucky Wildcats in 2009-10, where they advanced to the Elite Eight. In his last college game against the West Virginia Mountaineers, he scored 19 points while playing all but one minute in the game.