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NCAA Day Two standouts: Looking back at how they got there

Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell (AP Images)

RELATED: Standouts from Thursday's NCAA Tournament action

The second day of the NCAA Tournament, much like the first, didn’t bring many upsets, but it did bring a handful of highlight performances. Whether it was from NBA Draft prospects, under-the-radar freshmen or role players that stepped up their play on Thursday, without their production, a win would have been out of reach. We take a look back at Friday's standouts and their recruitments.


Who would have expected T.J. Maston, a former three-star prospect, to score a game-high 19 points in Baylor’s first-round win over New Mexico State? Maston, the nephew of former NBA center Tony Battie, entered the game having scored a grand total of two points in his last five outings, but came off the bench Friday and helped lead Baylor to an 18-point win. A lightly-recruited prospect out of DeSoto High School in 2014, Maston turned down offers from Houston, SMU, and Miami for Baylor.

While Mitchell struggled to find his shot in his team’s first-round win on Friday, the New York native filled up the stat sheet with nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists. During the recruiting process, Mitchell was no sure fire bet to ink with the Cardinals. Many believed that he would remain loyal to Providence, a program that had prioritized the 6-foot-2 guard prior to his upperclassman years at Brewster Academy, and he would ultimately take the reins of the program from star guard Kris Dunn. Following an official visit to Louisville, Mitchell shut things down quickly, giving Rick Pitino a big recruiting win.

Dorsey has broadened his skillset this season, and that entire package was on display in his team’s win over Iona on Friday. The former five-star prospect scored 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting and hauled in five rebounds. As a recruit, Dorsey was at one point committed to Arizona but backed off of his pledge before his senior season of high school. He eventually chose the Ducks over Colorado, Georgetown, Arizona State and Kansas.

Jackson, my pick for NCAA Tournament MVP, sure played up to the part on Friday, finishing with 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the Tar Heels' 103-64 romp over Texas Southern. Despite growing up in Texas and being hotly pursued as a recruit, there was never much debate about where Jackson would play out his college career. North Carolina was Jackson's dream school and, thanks to the swift maneuvering of Roy Williams and the UNC staff, the former five-star prospect committed to the Tar Heels during his junior year of high school.

Adebayo, part of Kentucky's three-headed freshmen monster, was sensational on Friday evening, securing 18 rebounds and scoring 15 points off of just nine shots. As a recruit, many believed that Adebayo would end up at NC State due to the appeal of staying close to home and playing with good friend and Wolfpack star Dennis Smith. However, Adebayo changed course quickly and committed to Kentucky during the early signing period.