Dominating the paint is vital to taking home the DII men’s basketball championship. Here’s a look at five big men that may be able to do just that in the NCAA DII tournament this March.
Noah Starkey, Southern Nazarene
Let’s start with the tallest big man of the bunch. Starkey stands at 6-11 and is a dominating presence in the paint. He connects on 58.5 percent of his shots and they are all close range with zero 3s attempted this season. His 7.8 rebounds per game lead the team and his 53 blocks lead the Great American Conference and are tenth overall in DII. There’s a reason teams are shooting 39.8 percent against the Crimson Storm and it starts with Starkey down low.
Shaun Willett, Queens (NC)
From the tallest player on the list, we go to the shortest. Willett stands at 6-4, and while he may not be your traditional “big man,” it doesn’t mean he can’t control the inside with the best of them. Willett leads DII in double-doubles, registering 22 in 26 games played. His 12.2 rebounds are third in the division, and his 19.6 points per game lead the South Athletic Conference. Queens is once again a top 10 team and look to be poised for another deep run in the NCAA tournament.
Andrew Sischo, Daemen
The Wildcats sit atop the East Coast Conference and have won 10 in a row. Sischo has been a force the whole season, and a big reason why Daemen has the second-best scoring offense and top scoring defense in the ECC. The redshirt sophomore, who stands at 6-9, opened the season with six straight double doubles. He’s averaging 22.2 points and 10.4 points per game and leading the way for a Daemen team poised to make program history with an NCAA tournament appearance in 2019.
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Will Vorhees, Notre Dame (OH)
The Falcons won six games in 2018. They are currently 18-6 and in second place in the Mountain East Conference. Vorhees, a 6-8 redshirt-senior has been behind the turnaround, averaging over a double-double on the season. Luckily for the Falcons, Vorhees is getting red-hot at the right time, averaging 34.6 points and 12.6 rebounds per game in five February games.
Sean Smith, St. Cloud State
The Huskies are coming off a huge win over the defending national runners-up and first place Northern State Wolves. Smith, the 6-8 senior, stuffed the stat sheets with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks to hold Northern State to just 62 points. Smith leads DII basketball with 100 blocks on the season so his importance against opposing shooters is evident.