Today’s Top 5…. list will look at the players who know how to get things done; who want the ball in their hands when the game is on the line; and who knows how to turn big games into their own highlight show. You’ll find a few different types of players, but just by the nature of the game, the point guard has the ball in his hands the most, so they appear more often than the others. Remember though, clutch players can come in all sizes – hear are your Top 5 in the 2010 NBA Draft:
Honorable Mention - Greivis Vasquez, Maryland; Trevor Booker, Clemson; Dominique Jones, South Florida
5) Lazar Hayward, Marquette – When Marquette played in a tight game, and they played a lot of them, you knew who was getting the ball down the stretch – Hayward. Whether taking a 3, penetrating, or playing in the post, Hayward knew how to make big shots and never backed down from a big moment. It’s more remarkable when he spent 3 years as a 4th or 5th option.
4) Gordon Hayward, Butler – Another Hayward, but just as clutch, Gordon Hayward’s most famous shot was one he missed. His half-court 3 at the buzzer of the NCAA championship game didn’t miss by much, and it put Hayward on every highlight show in the nation. What a lot of places didn’t show was how he took over the last 4 minutes of the game to get Butler a shot to win the game. For thos who hadn’t watched Butler, Hayward had made a habit of coming up big when the Bulldogs needed it. Though he could hit from the perimeter, his preferred MO was to penetrate and draw fouls, and he rarely missed from the line.
3) John Wall, Kentucky – Another year in Lexington and Wall may have found himself at the top of the list. As it stands, Wall became one of the most clutch players in all of basketball in his one season. In the 2nd half of the season, when other teams had started to play Kentucky tough, Wall found himself not playing his best basketball. But when it game time to take over a game down the stretch, he found ways to get it done. He not only would he become much more aggressive going to the basket, his ability to draw the defense to him made life much easier for others. Hisbiggest asset was his ability to change the pace of the game by himself and the NBA is going to love seeing it in their arenas.
2) Scottie Reynolds, Villanova - Reynolds will always be known for his length-of-the-court drive to put Villanova in the 2009 Final Four, but he should also be remembered for all the times he willed Villanova to victory over his 4 years. People would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the last 10 years who hit as many big shots as Reynolds. While he may not get a chance to show it in the NBA, he was a trmendous college player.
1) Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia – Butler practically defined the word clutch this past March. Whether it was the Big East tournament or the NCAA tournament, in a close game, Butler would find a way to win the game. While the shots themselves may have been a bit unorthodox, Butler seemed to know how to get the ball to go in. While a torn ACL has put a damper on his draft position, there is no doubt that Butler has what it takes to be a quality NBA player.
Thanks for checking in for another Top 5. Tomorrow I will debut some new features for the site, as well as some of your old favorites.