Malcolm Brogdon, 6-foot-5, Soph., G, Virginia (Greater Atlanta Christian)
Brogdon was The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s all-division player of the year in 2011, but injuries stymied his career in Charlottesville. A foot injury ended his freshman season after 28 games and he took a redshirt in 2012-13 while recovering from surgery.
Finally healthy, Brogdon has emerged as a key player for the Cavaliers. Brogdon, a first-team all-ACC selection, scored a career-high 23 points in a 72-63 victory over Duke on Sunday to lift Virginia to its first league tournament title since 1976.
“He’s steady, kind of unflappable and so strong,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Brogdon after the game.
Brogdon leads Virginia in scoring (12.6 points per game), steals (1.1), free-throw percentage (87.1) and minutes (31.2 per game). He ranks second in rebounding (5.6 per game) and assists (2.6 per game).
Brogdon signed with Virginia over a long list of suitors that included Georgia, Clemson, and Arkansas.
Jordan Adams, 6-5, Soph., G, UCLA (Central Gwinnett)
Adams lifted UCLA to the Pac-12 tournament title over Arizona on Saturday with a big 3-pointer in the final moments. After the game, UCLA coach Steve Alford called Adams the team’s “go-to guy.”
Adams has quickly blossomed into a star for the Bruins, who open the tournament Friday against Tulsa in San Diego. He owns the UCLA single-season steals mark, with 90 and counting, and surpassed 1,000 collegiate points with a 31-point effort at Washington last week.
Adams entered the starting lineup in his seventh game for the Bruins and had an immediate impact: He was the first UCLA freshman to score at least 20 points in each of his first four games. Adams led the Pac-12 in steals in 2012-13 and averaged 15.3 points per game to earn honorable mention all-conference honors.
Adams transferred from Central Gwinnett to basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy for his final two seasons of high school. He also had scholarship offers from Georgia and Memphis, among others.
Tekele Cotton, 6-2, Sr., G, Wichita State (Whitefield Academy)
Georgia and Georgia Tech had to fend off major programs from poaching most of the players on this list. Cotton isn’t one of them.
Cotton led Whitefield Academy to the state tournament final four as a junior and senior, but was overlooked as a recruit. The Shockers are glad Cotton went under the radar. Injuries forced him into a bigger role last season, when Wichita State made the Final Four at the Georgia Dome, and he’s a key cog again for the undefeated and top-seeded Shockers.
Cotton has averaged 10.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals. Missouri Valley Conference coaches voted him second-team all-conference.
Shaq Goodwin, 6-8, Soph., F, Memphis (Southwest DeKalb)
Goodwin, top-50 national recruit, turned down Georgia, Florida and Alabama to play for Josh Pastner at Memphis. He started off strong as a freshman, but after his production faded later in his first season, Goodwin decided he needed to get in better shape.
Now Goodwin, some 40 pounds sleeker, does it all for the Tigers. He leads Memphis in rebounds (6.6 per game) and blocked shots (1.8) and is tied for second in points (11.8). American Athletic Conference coaches voted Goodwin to the all-league second team.
Jordan McRae, 6-6, Sr., G, Tennessee (Liberty County)
McRae considered declaring for the NBA draft last spring before deciding to return to Tennessee for his senior season. He’s had his best season yet, with 18.6 points per game and 37 percent shooting on 3-pointers.
McRae was on the John R. Wooden Award preseason top-50 watch list. SEC coaches voted McRae first-team all-conference.