March Madness is not just an exciting time for NCAA basketball fans. It’s also a chance for iHoops’ First Team program to see its former members on the big stage, all grown up.
In all, 28 alumni of the First Team program will be participating in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament starting this week.
The iHoops First Team program was set up in 2001 under the NCAA umbrella as a resource to provide mentorship to elite high school student-athletes so that they can better understand and navigate the recruiting process and be independent thinkers. Around 60 players accept invitations to join First Team as high school freshmen each year, and most stay with the program until they graduate and move on to college. (Learn more about First Team here).
Of First Team's many successful alumni, these 28 have the chance to show off their skills on college basketball’s biggest stage starting this week.
Here’s a breakdown of the First Team alum dancing in the Big Dance, and how they helped their team get there:
• Cole Aldrich, the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year, averages 11.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the 32-2 Jayhawks.
• Travis Releford is taking a redshirt.
• Isaiah Dahlman averages 1.4 points per game as a reserve on the 24-8 Spartans.
• Sean Mosley has started all 30 games for the Terrapins, averaging 10.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
• Fred Gulley has made 16 starts for the Cowboys, averaging 1.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
• Austin Freeman averages 16.7 points per game for the Hoyas, tops on the team.
• Chris Wright has started all 33 games and averages 14.8 points per contest.
• P.J. Hill is averaging 3.2 points and 1.3 assists per game in a reserve role.
• Mark Titus has played in eight games for the Big Ten champions.
• Maurice Miller averages 3.9 points and 2.3 assists as a reserve.
• Brian Oliver averages 7.0 points per game for the Yellow Jackets.
• Erik Murphy averages 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in a reserve role.
• Ashton Gibbs averages a team-high 15.8 points, including a 40.2-percent three-point percentage, for the 24-8 Panthers.
• Brandon Triche has started all 32 games for the Orange, averaging 8.1 points per game.
• Randy Culpepper, an All-Conference USA selection, averages 18.0 points per game for the 26-6 Miners.
• Patrick Patterson has started all 34 contests for the top-seeded Wildcats, averaging 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest.
• Scott Suggs is one of the Huskies' key reserves and averages 4.9 points per game.
East Tennessee State
• Jarvis Jones averages 4.1 points per game as a reserve for the Atlantic Sun champion Buccaneers.
• Darryl Bryant averages 9.7 points and 3.2 assists per game for the 27-6 Mountaineers.
• Cameron Rundles tallies 6.6 points per game for the Southern Conference champion Terriers.
• Jerry Smith starts and averages 8.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game for the Cardinals.
• Stephan Van Treese has played in 16 games as a reserve.
• Jared Swopshire averages 7.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game for the Cardinals.
• Jon Scheyer averages 18.6 points, 5.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game for the top-seeded Blue Devils.
• D.J. Byrd averages 2.3 points per game as a reserve for the 27-5 Boilermakers.
• Oscar Griffin has played in 15 games as a reserve for the 25-7 Bears of the Big 12.
• Naji Hibbert has played all 32 of the Aggies’ games as a backup, averaging 1.9 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
• Maalik Wayns averages 6.8 points per game as a backup for the Wildcats, who enter the tournament with a 24-7 record.