Nine days into the month, the hero of March Madness has not been Trae Young, DeAndre Ayton or any of the other stars who have dominated headlines in college basketball this year. It has been Alabama point guard Collin Sexton, a likely lottery pick who has put up big numbers this season but fallen a bit under the radar while playing for a bubble team.
On Friday, Sexton poured in 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting in a win over No. 16 Auburn to lift the Crimson Tide to the SEC Tournament semifinals. The freshman’s entire skillset was on display in the victory, from his 3-point range to his speed to his penchant for flash. It was a damn impressive performance.
Sexton’s outing against Auburn came a day after the point guard darted down the court in the final 4.4 seconds against Texas A&M and floated home a buzzer-beater to keep Alabama’s SEC Tournament run and NCAA Tournament hopes alive for another day.
ALABAMA AT THE BUZZER!pic.twitter.com/6HTmIzd2gU
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 8, 2018
In two SEC Tournament games, both extremely important for the Crimson Tide, Sexton has averaged 29 points per game on 59 percent shooting, including 9-for-14 from long-range. He has been, quite simply, the best college player to take the floor this March.
It’s not as if Sexton’s SEC Tournament success has come out of nowhere. The guard was the No. 5 player in his recruiting class, according to 247Sports, and lived up to his billing during the regular season, scoring more than 18 points per game while leading the Crimson Tide with 3.7 assists per game. He became somewhat of a cult hero back in November when ejections and injuries limited Alabama to three players against No. 14 Minnesota, yet his 38 points kept the Crimson Tide competitive until the final minute.
Sexton will have more chances for heroics Saturday against Kentucky and then, most likely, in the NCAA Tournament. (Our Jesse Kramer had Alabama as a No. 10 seed in his bracketology even before Friday’s win over Auburn.) After that, he will almost certainly head for the NBA Draft, with early mocks pegging him as a top-10 pick. Whether or not you had heard much about Sexton before this week, you’ll be hearing about him plenty from here on.