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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Six under-the-radar players in the tourney

By Mark Schlabach

We've seen it happen before. Players turn themselves into household names and etch their names in tourney lore with strong performances in the NCAA tournament -- Davidson's Stephen Curry and Valparaiso's Bryce Drew come to mind.

Here are a few under-the-radar players to watch during the NCAA tournament:

1. Ryan Wittman, Cornell

The senior from Eden Prairie, Minn., is a big reason the Big Red won the Ivy League championship. He averaged 17.5 points per game and shot 42 percent on 3-pointers. Wittman, the son of former Indiana star Randy Wittman, scored 24 points in Cornell's 71-66 loss at Kansas on Jan. 6.

2. Randy Culpepper, UTEP

The junior guard from Memphis helped the Miners run away with the Conference USA championship. He averaged 18 points per game and is capable of scoring in bunches. He had 45 points against East Carolina and 39 against Central Florida.

3. Kevin Anderson, Richmond

Anderson and David Gonzalvez give the Spiders one of the country's most underrated backcourts. Anderson, a junior from Atlanta, averaged 17.8 points and seemed to play his best in Richmond's biggest games. He scored 31 points at Wake Forest, 29 against Temple and 27 against Xavier in the Atlantic 10 tournament.

4. Jimmer Fredette, BYU

By now, most college basketball fans have heard about Fredette, the Cougars' high-scoring guard. The junior from Glen Falls, N.Y., averaged 21.7 points and shot 44.8 percent on 3-pointers. He had seven games with 30 points or more, including a 49-point outburst in a 99-69 rout at Arizona on Dec. 28.

5. Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State

The Aztecs' bruising freshman nearly averaged a double-double with 12.8 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. He posted back-to-back double-doubles in San Diego State's upsets of New Mexico and UNLV in the Mountain West Conference tournament. Leonard had 16 points and 21 rebounds in a 55-45 victory over the Runnin' Rebels in the MWC tourney championship game.

6. Aubrey Coleman, Houston

Coleman, a senior from Houston, led the country in scoring with 25.6 points per game. The junior-college transfer from Southwest Mississippi Community College had nine 30-point games this season and also is an underrated rebounder and passer.