An Irregular Season

by Ren Leong

Here's how the NBA can potentially finish the season

As COVID-19 became more serious in the United States, sports seasons were shut down one by one. Unfortunately, this ruling included the annual March Madness tournament for men’s and women’s college basketball. This decision was heartbreaking for many players around the nation whether they were seniors who were preparing for their last chance at winning or freshmen who were headed to the NBA draft next year. Here are some notable players missing out on their chance at cutting down the nets for their school.

1. Cassius Winston

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Cassius Winston has been a notable name in college basketball since he was a freshman on a Michigan State team that boasted talent every year. Although a solid squad surrounded him in each of his four seasons, they did not make it to the championship game once, losing in the Final Four last year. After overcoming his grief from his brother’s death to lead his team to a 22-9 season and finish as the ninth-best team in the nation, a championship would have been the cherry on top. As a senior, the loss of the tournament impacted him the most because it was his last chance to try to bring home the trophy. He will head to the draft in hopes to prove himself in the NBA and is projected to go late in the second round as most seniors do. Around the nation, college basketball fans will miss watching Winston in the tournament.

2. Myles Powell

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Myles Powell, a senior guard for the Seton Hall Pirates, has been one of college basketball’s best players this year, averaging 21 PPG and leading the Pirates to a 21-9 record and 15th in the AP Poll. He was also named Big East Player of the Year, All-American first team, and a finalist for the John Wooden Award (most outstanding player of the year). Last year, Seton Hall fell to Wofford in the first round. They came back even stronger this year as a projected 4th seed with chances to lift the NCAA championship trophy. Powell was looking to cap off his strong season and career with a deep run into the tournament, but he now has to settle with raking in a multitude of prestigious awards. Similar to Winston, he is projected to be picked late in the second round and will most likely have to prove himself in the G-League. He is a very exciting player to watch with his crazy shots and elite athleticism. Viewers around the US will miss him in the college basketball scene.

3. Obi Toppin

Obi Toppin, the Naismith Player of the Year for men’s college basketball sadly will not be able to showcase his skills in this year’s tournament. Averaging 20 PPG and 7.5 RPG, he turned Dayton into a powerhouse this year. As the third-ranked team in the nation, fans around the world predicted that the Flyers would win the national championship. Dayton has been a decent team for the past few years, but Toppin’s emergence this year boosted them to a top-five team. After declaring for the 2020 NBA draft, many mock drafts predicted that he would be a top-five pick, going as high as second. The cancellation of March Madness means Toppin will go to the NBA without playing in a single NCAA tournament game.

4. Sabrina Ionescu

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Last but not least is Sabrina Ionescu, a senior for the University of Oregon’s women’s team. As undoubtedly the best player in women’s college basketball, she has led the Lady Ducks to two Elite Eight appearances and one Final Four appearance, but no National Championship. After finishing 31-2 and as the second-ranked team this year, they were front runners to win it all. Out of all these players, Ionescu has probably been impacted the most, as each year she was one step closer to winning the championship and she had the highest chance to win it this year. However, she will likely have a very successful professional career as she is projected to be drafted first into the WNBA.

The cancellation of this year’s tournament leaves watchers around the world wondering what would have happened in the tournaments this year. On the men’s side, many teams had a legitimate shot at the title and it would have been a very interesting tournament to watch. As for the women, many people were rooting for Sabrina to cap off her career with a national championship. No one will ever know what would have happened in the March Madness tournament of 2020.