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Chambers catching plenty of attention

3/19/2013

Siyani Chambers is not easily rattled.

The rookie point guard immediately was thrust into the starting lineup this season, thanks to the unexpected loss of would-be senior cocaptain Brandyn Curry to a widespread academic cheating scandal at Harvard. No matter -- all Chambers did was dominate the Ivy League, earning rookie of the year honors.

All he did was finish first in the Ancient Eight in assists (5.7 per game, 1.6 more than Ivy player of the year Ian Hummer of Princeton), fourth in free throw percentage (81.9), fifth in 3-point shooting percentage (44.0) and sixth in scoring (12.9 points per game).

Oh, and the 6-foot, 170-pound freshman hardly rested all season long -- playing the most minutes per game (37.8) in the Ivy League.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that Chambers finds himself in the spotlight as Harvard prepares to take on New Mexico in the NCAA tournament on Thursday in Salt Lake City (9:50 p.m. ET, TNT).

On Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf named Chambers one of 10 mid-major stars who could bust brackets come game time.

That puts Chambers, a Golden Valley, Minn., native, alongside the likes of Saint Mary’s Matthew Dellavedova and Creighton’s Doug McDermott, names known throughout the college hoops nation.

But wait, there’s more.

ESPN Insider Chad Ford broke down the West Region from the perspective of NBA draft decision-makers, and had this to say about Tommy Amaker’s point guard: “He’s not Jeremy Lin, but Chambers has been awesome as a freshman.”

And true to form so far, Chambers appears to be taking this latest experience in stride.

While his teammates sat at the podium Sunday night for the post-Selection Show news conference, near-constant smiles on their faces, the rookie had his game face on.

Then he was asked if this first year in Cambridge -- filling a huge role for the team, helping deliver a third straight Ivy title and a second straight NCAA berth -- could have gone any better.

“I don’t think so,” Chambers said, with a small laugh.

“In high school and coming up, you’re always watching this stuff and you’re always like, ‘Man, I wish I could be a part of it,’” he said. “And to finally be here and hear our team’s name called, it’s just very, very, very exciting for me personally and I know it’s very exciting for the team, as well.”

And if the past proves to be prologue with Chambers, the excitement’s only beginning.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.