Eight current NBA stars who stole the show in March Madness

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Each and every year, college basketball's NCAA Tournament provides a platform for young stars to break through into the national consciousness - dominant performances and cinderella stories boosting their NBA prospects in the process.

This year's incarnation of 'March Madness' has been no different, but which of the NBA's current stars have impressed the most in tournaments gone by?

GiveMeSport takes a look at eight current pros who each stamped their mark on their respective March Madness'.

8) Derrick Rose - 2008 - University of Memphis

Having helped the Memphis Tigers to a 33-1 record during regular season play, the now Chicago Bulls star maintained his dominant form in the NCAA Tournament.

Rose combined exceptional offensive play (he averaged 20.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and six assists in the tourney) with ominous defense against some of the best in college ball that year - leading the Tigers through tough games against the likes of Texas, UCLA and Kansas.

A missed free throw in the dying seconds of the championship game marred his one and only March Madness appearance but in winning key duals throughout the tournament he ensured his position at the top of the subsequent NBA Draft.

7) Kemba Walker - 2011 - Connecticut

The first player on this list to win the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, Walker took the number three seed Huskies all the way to the title in 2011 and got better with every game.

His standout moments came with 18 points against Kentucky in the Final Four and a game-high 16 in the Final against Butler.

The unquestionable leader of the team as a Junior, Walker helped the Huskies to 11 straight elimination game wins when factoring in the Big East Tournament. Talk about stepping up under pressure.

6) Joakim Noah - 2006 & 2007 - University of Florida

Another current Bulls player who made his mark at the Big Dance, Noah helped the Gators to go all the way in 2006, then came back in 2007 and did it all again.

Part of a star-studded Florida roster that also included Al Horford and Corey Brewer, Noah was the 2006 Most Outstanding Player thanks largely to 16 points, nine rebounds and a championship game record six blocks in the title-decider against UCLA.

He showcased his skills at both ends of the court and, in winning back-to-back titles, is the most successful tourney player on this list.

5) Mario Chalmers - 2008 - Kansas

Putting it bluntly, without Mario Chalmers the Kansas Jayhawks would not have won the title in 2008.

The former Heat star's scrambled three-pointer (after Rose's free throw miss) with under three seconds left against Memphis took the championship game to overtime - from where the school won their fifth national title.

The shot lives on in tourny folklore as 'Mario's Miracle' and, alongside Chalmers' tenacious defense, helped the youngster win the Most Outstanding Player award.

4) Steph Curry - 2008 - Davidson

The reigning NBA MVP was the subject of his own Cinderella story in 2008 when he spearheaded unfancied Davidson's run to the Elite Eight.

A hot hand throughout the team's run, Curry became just the fourth player in history to score 30 points or more in his first four NCAA Tournament appearances - including 30 points against no.2 Georgetown in the second round, and 33 versus third-seed Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.

25 points against Kansas wasn't enough to surpass the Jayhawks in the Elite Eight but Curry was still named the Most Outstanding Player of the Midwest Region.

3) Anthony Davis - 2012 - University of Kentucky

Currently known as one of the most dominant rebounders in the NBA, 'The Brow' honed his skills in the 2012 Tournament.

The Wildcats were 16-0 coming into the tourney and, as such, Davis and his teammates faced huge pressure in each progressing game that year.

Davis responded by averaging 15.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.6 blocks - grabbing a sensational 16 rebounds in the championship game as Kentucky won their eight title. A dominant player on a dominant team, he's another of this list's Most Outstanding Player winners.

2) Dwyane Wade - 2003 - Marquette

Dwyane Wade ensured his place amongst a stellar 2003 NBA draft class with a typically impressive run of performances as no. 3 seed Marquette reached the Final Four.

The all round game NBA fans have come to expect from the now veteran point guard was on full show - no more so than when Wade led his team past the top-seeded Kentucky in the Elite Eight.

Wade's 29 point, 11 rebound, 11 assists triple-double was, at the time, only the fourth in March Madness history and helped Marquette to its first Final Four since 1979. He didn't win Most Outstanding Player, however.

That honour was reserved for the next man up...

1) Carmelo Anthony - 2003 - Syracuse

Melo was every bit as good as Wade was in 2003 as he took Syracuse all the way to the title in the Big Dance.

Coming off the back of one of the most heralded freshman regular seasons in college history, Anthony was in rampant form and set a then record points high for a freshman in tourney play with 33 against Texas in the Final Four.

He backed that up with a 20 point, 10 rebound double-double as Syracuse won their first ever title in their victory over Kansas.

His coach at the New York state school summed his tournament up perfectly:

(Anthony is) by far, the best player in college basketball. It wasn't even close. Nobody was even close to him last year in college basketball. That's the bottom line".

Derrick Rose
Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
Joakim Noah
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Derrick Rose
NBA Draft

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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