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Eduardo Martinez's March Madness guide to Latino hoopsters

By Eduardo Martinez - Mar 17, 2016

 
Last season, Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky put Latinos on the biggest stage, nearly willing the Wildcats to an NCAA championship. Their quest fell short in a Final Four loss to Wisconsin, but a new batch of Latinos hope to lead their respective teams deep into March Madness glory. Here is a list of 10 Latinos to keep an eye on during this month's action.


Tyler Davis

Texas A&M

Freshman; Center; 6-foot-10; Puerto Rican descent

2015-2016 stats: 11.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 64 fg% in 22.9 mpg


Davis earned lofty expectations coming into the season, based on his #28 ranking in the class of 2015 according to Rivals. The Puerto Rican big man more than lived up to the hype, earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team. Davis excels in the paint as a back-to-the-basket scorer and has excellent touch for a big man. He’s A&M’s best interior scoring option, and will be counted on to score down low.  


Angel Delgado

Seton Hall

Sophomore; Center; 6-foot-8; Dominican Native

2015-2016 stats: 10.0 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 57 fg% in 30.1 mpg


Delgado once again anchored the paint for upstart Seton Hall, producing 13 double-double’s on the season. His production inside and on the boards propelled Seton Hall to a Big East conference tournament championship. Delgado will be asked to patrol inside and is a double-double waiting to happen.


Cezar Guerrero

Fresno State

Redshirt Senior; Point Guard; 6-foot-1; Mexican Descent

2015-2016 stats: 8.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, 37 3fg% in 25.4 mpg


Guerrero has been a staple for Fresno State in the backcourt, and he finally gets the chance to play in the NCAA Tournament in his final year of eligibility. He’s a threat from beyond the arc and a crafty ball-handler. Guerrero dictates the tempo of the game, and serves as a dual-threat option from the point guard position.


Rico Gathers

Baylor

Senior; Center; 6-foot-7; Puerto Rican Descent

2015-2016 stats: 11.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 51 fg% in 25.8 mpg


Gathers has already announced that he’ll be pursuing a career in the NFL upon graduating in May, so this stage provides him an opportunity to go out with a bang. One of the most intimidating, physical big men in the country, Gathers dominates on the glass with his impressive strength, positioning and timing. Gathers had a 31-point, 21-rebound game earlier this season, and a 25-point, 28-rebound game the year before. He’s capable of putting on a show in his last go as a basketball player.


Chris Reyes

Utah

Redshirt Junior; Power Forward; 6-foot-7; Mexican Descent

2015-2016 stats: 2.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 52 fg% in 8.5 mpg


Although his minutes have gone down from a year ago, Reyes returns as a rotation player for Utah. He’s appeared in 33 of 34 games, and is undersized for his position but has excellent straight-line speed for a big man. If Utah’s bigs get in foul trouble, Reyes’ number will be called for extended minutes.


Angel Rodriguez

Miami

Redshirt Senior; Point Guard; 5-foot-11; Puerto Rican Native

2015-2016 stats: 11.7 ppg, 4.4 apg, 1.5 spg in 29.7 mpg


Rodriguez is the engine that drives Miami as the primary ball-handler and facilitator. He’s a threat to score or assist and has active hands that lead to steals. Rodriguez has risen to the occasion numerous times against big-time opponents. He was integral to Miami and their victories over Butler, Duke, Louisville, Notre Dame (twice), Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Utah and Virginia (all NCAA Tournament teams minus Louisville). Miami will go as far as Rodriguez leads them, and that could be pretty far based on the regular season.


Desi Rodriguez

Seton Hall

Sophomore; Combo Forward; 6-foot-6; Dominican Descent

2015-2016 stats: 12.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.6 spg, 50 fg%, 38 3fg% in 26.0 mpg


One of the breakout stars nation-wide, Rodriguez more than doubled his scoring output from a year ago and added a new wrinkle to his game. After only making one 3-pointer last season, Rodriguez made 31 threes this year at a solid 38% rate. The athletic, lefty combo forward also rebounds well and generates steals at a high rate. Rodriguez will be a highlight waiting to happen thanks to his dunking ability, especially in the open court. Keep an eye on Dunking Desi.

Stephen Thompson Jr.

Oregon State

Freshman; Guard; 6-foot-4; Puerto Rican Descent

2015-2016 stats: 10.8 ppg, 1.2 spg, 37 3fg% in 21.5 mpg


The lone freshman on the list, Thompson Jr. has shined in his first year thanks to his high basketball IQ and shooting ability from deep. Thompson Jr. plays like a coach's son. That’s because he is the son of a basketball coach, Oregon State assistant coach Stephen Thompson, to be exact. And he’s heating up at the right time. Thompson Jr. is averaging 16 points per game in four March games.


Tonny Trocha-Morelos

Texas A&M

Redshirt Sophomore; 6-foot-10; Colombian Native

2015-2016 stats: 7.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 40 3fg% in 17.3 mpg


Trocha-Morelos has complemented Tyler Davis very well this season, thanks to his floor-spacing abilities as a stretch big man. Although he has ample size to do damage in the paint, Trocha-Morelos is equally as confident letting it fly from deep. He’s a streaky player who has the potential to surprise unprepared teams.


Aaron Valdes

Hawaii

Redshirt Junior; Wing; 6-foot-5; Cuban and Mexican Descent

2015-2016 stats: 14.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.2 spg, 48 fg% in 30.7 mpg


Valdes has been a consistent producer for 27-win Hawaii this year, scoring the basketball at a high-rate as well as contributing in the assist and steal departments. His strong play in the Big West conference tournament led to Hawaii earning their NCAA Tournament berth. He’ll be a key cog in leading Hawaii against California in the first round.

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