March Madness: Phoenix Suns Edition

Mar 17, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; A detailed view of the March Madness logo during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; A detailed view of the March Madness logo during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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With the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament starting this week, let’s take a look back at current the Suns who played in March Madness.

Devin Booker:

Devin Booker was a part of the 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats that went 38-0 upon entering the Final Four, falling just short of a Championship berth to the Wisconsin Badgers losing 71-64. During the five games of Kentucky’s tournament run, Devin Booker was a solid sixth-man giving the Wildcats a solid boost off the bench. Booker averaged 7.2 points, 0.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds in the Tournament. Unfortunately, it was not enough to thrust Kentucky to the Championship game.

Eric Bledsoe:

Eric Bledsoe started alongside future NBA All-Stars John Wall and Demarcus Cousins at the University of Kentucky during the 2009-2010 season. They made it to the Elite Eight, losing to West Virginia 73-66, finishing with a 35-3 record. During their four game run, Bledsoe averaged 15.2 points, 2.7 assists and 3.2 rebounds. He provided good numbers, but could not keep up with West Virginia in their final game.

Brandon Knight:

Knight attended the University of Kentucky directly following Eric Bledsoe for the 2010-2011 season. Knight had the most impressive March Madness run of the Suns who attended Kentucky, averaging 16 points 4.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds over the five game stretch. The Wildcats made it into the Final Four but barely lost to the University of Connecticut 56-55 finishing with a 29-9 record.

Tyler Ulis:

Ulis is the only Suns player who played at Kentucky for more than one season, staying through his Sophomore year. His Freshman season Ulis played alongside Devin Booker in the bench rotation, averaging 6.2 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds. Ulis was the starting point guard in his Sophomore season, leading the Wildcats to a 27-9 record following a loss to Indiana in the second round, losing 73-67. During the two tournament games, Ulis averaged 15.5 points and 5 assists.

T.J. Warren:

T.J. Warren played two years at North Carolina State, and earned two trips to the NCAA tournament. His Freshman year he put up 4 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist in a first round loss to Temple. He would meet the same fate in the first round of next year’s tournament, losing to St. Louis 83-80, NC State finished with a 27-6 record. Although the team did win in the First Four to earn a Tournament berth. Warren averaged 26.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists for the Wolfpack in those two games.

Jared Dudley:

Jared Dudley played four seasons at Boston College from 2003-2007 leading his team to the

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Tournament all four years. In all but his Junior year (they made it to but lost in Sweet 16), Boston College would lose in the second round. In Dudley’s final three years, he would average 19 or more points, 4 or more rebounds and 3 or more assists. His finest year was his Junior year Tournament, reaching the Sweet-16 losing to Villanova. Duds averaged 19 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists in three games.

(Little to no footage could be found of Dudley during the NCAA tournaments, so here are highlights from the 2005-06 season)

Although no player reached the NCAA Championship, the Suns have a rich history of NCAA tournament competitors, with six current players having played in the tournament. Who from this year’s tournament could find their way to the Suns?

Players who did not play in tournament

*Leandro Barbosa

*Dragan Bender

*Tyson Chandler

**Marquese Chriss

**Alex Len

**Alan Williams

**Derrick Jones Jr

**Ronnie Price

*Did not play in college

**Did not make NCAA tournament