- Jon Mahoney, ESPNHS.com
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With the second set of opening-round games in the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament taking place Wednesday and the tourney really kicking into gear Thursday, we thought we’d look back at all the former ESPNHS magazine cover subjects who are on teams in this year’s men’s tourney with a cover gallery.
Overall, there are 68 covers in our gallery — we swear, we planned it that way — spanning three name changes for the magazine from SchoolSports to RISE to ESPN RISE.
The athletes range from future lottery picks like Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes to standouts like Michigan State’s Draymond Green and Syracuse’s Kris Joseph.
Here are a few other tidbits from the cover collection:
Kentucky and Baylor lead the way with six players each who appeared on a cover, while the Wildcats can actually lay claim to the most overall covers since Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was on two.
If you thought we were front-runners with our cover selections, consider that Colorado State (Daniel Bejarano), Ohio (Walter Offutt), New Mexico State (Wendell McKines) and Detroit (Ray McCallum) have the same number of covers as No. 2 seed Kansas (Tyshawn Taylor).
Four of the cover athletes actually won’t be taking part in this year’s tournament. Syracuse big man Fab Melo was recently ruled ineligible, North Carolina’s Dexter Strickland is out with an injury, Baylor’s J’Mison Morgan is redshirting and Missouri’s Jabari Brown and Colorado State's Bejarano are sitting out due to transfer.
Two of our covers feature players who are taking part in the men’s and women’s tournament. McCallum appeared on the cover with Michigan State’s Madison Williams, while Baylor’s Gary Franklin graced the cover with UConn women’s star Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.
Check back Friday for our gallery of former cover athletes in the women’s tournament.