The Year Of The Little Brother In College Hoops!


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Familiar, family names playing traditional family games!

Most parents would be proud of any child who worked hard enough to become a professional athlete, let alone influence a younger sibling to do the same. From the Mannings of the NFL, to the Currys and Barrys of the NBA, professional sports has had its fair share of athletic families. From pro parents raising children around the game to having three brothers in the same game, each generation has it in them. Most boys grow up wanting to be like their father, or dream of following in older brothers’ footsteps.

This season I’ve noticed an usually high number of NCAA basketball players who have an older brother playing professionally either in the NBA or overseas. Many of these players are also sons of NBA veterans.

Now I will give you 5 players who fit this script. Not only do each of the guys have an older brother who was an outstanding college player, several will have NBA fathers. I will begin with the one exception. This player’s older brother currently plays college ball, but his elder sibling will undoubtedly be a first round pick when he enters the draft.

#1  Indiana Freshman F Cody Zeller

Cody is the younger brother of current UNC big man Tyler Zeller. When originally brainstorming for this article, I began with Indiana freshman Cody Zeller. The 6’11”, 220 lb Indiana native proved to be perfect for my piece, and just what the doctor ordered for Indiana HC Tom Crean. Averaging 14 points and 6+ rebounds a game, Zeller and company upset #1 Kentucky while unranked. Hoosier success continued into Big Ten play as IU toppled #2 Ohio State and #13 Michigan. Suffering only one loss thus far to Top 20 Michigan State. Expect Cody Zeller and his Hoosiers to contend for a long awaited Big Ten title and no lower than a three seed come March. This could lead to a brother on brother match-up of two traditional college basketball powerhouses, each possessing a Zeller big man!

#2 Marquette Freshman G Todd Mayo

Todd, the younger Mayo brother, may end up being the best lil bro of the bunch. Todd is the younger brother of Memphis Grizzlies star SG OJ Mayo. Like his brother OJ, Todd has the ability to create his own shot and hit a jumper from anywhere on the court. As a great scorer, his instant offense will be key if Coach Buzz Williams wants to go far into March. Due to the depth at Guard on the Marquette roster, Mayo comes off the bench but still averages close to 10 points a game. With several key guys leaving after this season, the younger Mayo will have an opportunity to stick around and do some great things in college basketball, unlike his brother OJ while at USC.

#3  Oregon Junior F  EJ Singler

Playing out west in a weak Pac-12 conference doesn’t say much even if you are dominating every aspect of the game. Unfortunately for the younger Singler, he isn’t even doing that. Even though he averages over 12 points and 5 rebounds a game, you would think Kyle Singler’s little brother would be doing more for the Oregon Ducks. So far this season EJ has been a streaky shooter and underachieved in big games. Though he does have the ability to play well and carry his team at times, that EJ Singler hasn’t shown up too much this season. Currently Oregon appears to be a bubble team come March and will have to win 9+ conference games to even be considered. At 6’6 210, Singler will have to play even bigger down the stretch to get a chance to dance in March.

#4/#5 Duke Junior G Seth Curry / Freshman PG Austin Rivers

I wonder who would win a 3 on 3 game between these two families. The Rivers 3, including Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers, former IU Hoosier forward Jeremiah Rivers and current Blue Devil Austin vs. the Currys, lead by Dell Curry, one of the best pure shooters in the history of the NBA(don’t believe me, Google him!), Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry and little brother Seth from Duke. Talk about family pride! Honestly, the Currys are just too good at shooting the basketball. My money is they would win going away, even with the size disadvantage. Even Seth Curry, currently shooting over 43% from downtown this season, seems to hit jumpers in his sleep. Curry’s Duke teammate, PG Austin Rivers, has played well at times this year averaging 14.7 ppg. On other occasions, he hasn’t really looked like the PG Coach K can cut down nets with an average of just 2.1 assist per game. Though Rivers has the ability to take over games, any team with length and skill at the guard positions will give Duke problems.

Each of these 5 lil brother’s all have talent to win games for their respective teams. Will they all? I doubt it! But a few will! I got a feeling one if not two of the 5 mentioned will play in the Final Four this year with an opportunity to do something special. Something they can call their big brother about!

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