After a career night on Thursday, Sam Dekker was even more exceptional in a Wisconsin win against Arizona in the Elite Eight. The junior has been named NetScouts Basketball’s NCAA Tournament Player of the Day for games on March 28th.
Dekker, who had a career-high 23 points on Thursday, surpassed that total on Saturday. He finished with 27 points and five rebounds in the win while shooting 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-6 from three-point range. His dagger three with 20 seconds remaining sealed Wisconsin’s bid to the Final Four.
“It was just a lot of confidence,” Dekker said of his performance in his postgame press conference. “I was put into the position to hit some shots and they were able to go down for me.”
The 6-foot-9 Dekker is an athletic wing that has played his way into mid-first round consideration. He’s a strong slasher who can also defend, but has improved his draft stock with his sweet shooting in the NCAA Tournament. While Dekker is shooting just 31.6% from behind the arc as a junior, he’s 13-of-27 (48.1%) from deep in the tournament. If he can become a legitimate jump shooting threat to compliment his slashing ability, Dekker will find his way into an NBA rotation.
Dekker may have an NBA future, but he’ll be focused for a rematch with Kentucky in the Final Four. Wisconsin lost last year’s matchup and the Badgers will be looking to end Kentucky’s undefeated run.
Other Saturday Notes:
–Notre Dame put up a valiant effort against Kentucky, but the Irish fell 68-66 on Saturday. Junior Zach Auguste had 20 points and nine rebounds on 10-of-13 shooting and will have a bright senior season ahead. He could be a future draft pick, but will likely need another year to improve. Jerian Grant had 15 points and six assists in his final collegiate game. He’ll be a first round pick due to his 6-foot-5 size, length, athleticism, and feel for the game at the point guard position.
-Freshman Karl-Anthony Towns had a major performance of his own to extend Kentucky’s season. The 6-foot-11 center had 25 points, five rebounds, and four assists in just 25 minutes while shooting 10-of-13 from the field. He’s making a run for the top overall selection and with two more performances like Saturday, Towns will be tough to pass on.
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