Players' interest in NCAA Tournament

Posted: March 21, 2014

THE BRACKETS have been passed around (for amusement purposes only, of course) and most of us have made our selections for the NCAA Tournament. Players are no different. Like many others, they keep an eye on March Madness mostly with their attention focused on the colleges they attended.

"I really don't care who's going to win it," said guard Darius Johnson-Odom. "Since Marquette isn't in it, I really don't have any interest. I don't know. I guess I'll go with North Carolina State [citing an acquaintance for his reasoning]."

Both Jarvis Varnado and James Nunnally said they are totally on board for the tourney, and both predicted the same team to win it all - the Florida Gators.

"They just seem like a really strong team to me and I like coach Billy Donovan," said Varnado, a Mississippi State product. "I love watching college basketball, but if there's a good pro game on, I'd probably go that way."

Nunnally, the newest player on the Sixers, would prefer the NBA over a college game, but still keeps an eye on the amateurs.

"I used to watch college ball all the time, but now that I'm in the NBA I watch that more than college," he said. "But I have to go with Florida."

Following Noah

If Nerlens Noel appeared to be paying extra attention to the game last night against the Chicago Bulls, coach Brett Brown was probably in his ear before the game. That's because Chicago center Joakim Noah has the tools that Brown would like his rookie to emulate - once he gets the uniform on.

"I think he's great. I just really, really like watching him play," said Brown of Noah. "I respect him. He's my example for Nerlens because he plays the game all over the place, whether it's a tenacity and a swagger, whether it's his ability to roll out and pass. I think he's an elite passer and has a mentality to share the ball. And there's a defensive presence amongst it all that makes him a really valuable asset. I just have so much time for how he competes. What a fantastic example for us to point at and show Nerlens. You look at the evolution of Joakim with his body, there are some similarities that you can realistically say, 'Well, this could be you going forward.' I just think Joakim Noah is a real key to this team and I have a lot of respect for him."


Swingman James Anderson missed his second straight game (after being the only Sixer to play in every game this season) with a thigh bruise. Tony Wroten again started in his place . . . Anderson has played 1,940 minutes this season. In his first 3 years combined in the league he played 1,290 . . . Hollis Thompson scored a career-high 17 points at Indiana on Monday. He hadn't scored more than eight points in the previous 18 games . . . The Sixers host the New York Knicks tomorrow, then head to Chicago on Saturday to play the Bulls again.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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