PG Jevon Carter, Sr., West Virginia vs. PG Jalen Brunson, Jr., Villanova
Carter doesn’t merely control dribble penetration, he shuts it down entirely. “He’s a grown man. He’s just physically mature,” a Big 12 head coach told Yahoo Sports of Carter. “He’s really intelligent when it comes to knowing the team’s scouting report, he’s a coach out there. He’s Tom Brady back there. He’s got a mind. It’s hard to trick him.”
Pay attention to how Carter uses his lower-body strength and anticipation skills — not just his quickness — to thwart driving lanes and dictate where he wants his man to go, not the other way around. “I just love how he picks up full court,” a former Division I coach said. “He’s so tough.” Of course, the senior point guard can score as well. Carter — who is averaging 24.5 points per game in the tournament — averages a team-best 17.4 points, 6.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds and a video-game like three steals per game (second in the country), while converting nearly 40 percent of his threes. In fact, Carter became the first player in tournament history to record at least 20 points, five assists and five steals in multiple games.
We have a dream Sweet 16 matchup as Carter takes on Brunson, Villanova’s sensational first-team All-American and the anchor of coach Jay Wright’s team. What makes Brunson, the Big East Player of the Year, so special is that he plays at his own slithery pace. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, he isn’t especially quick or long or even explosive. But he is extremely intelligent, crafty and always seems to get to his spot. He’s also a winner, guiding his Illinois high school to a state championship, the first Lake County title in the tournament’s 108-year history. Brunson averages 19.1 points on a hyper-efficient 42 percent from three and 53.5 percent from the floor. Watch him against Carter closely, especially at the beginning of the game. If Brunson can play the pick-and-roll game and maximize his ball skills and footwork (and I believe he will), then Brunson will get the best of the matchup.
(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)