Aside from validating the best college basketball team in the country, the NCAA Tournament serves three simple purposes:
- Generate incredible feel-good story lines.
- Effectively kill all productivity in the workplace.
- Provide endless unintentional entertainment in the form of hilariously weird or wacky names.
March Madness is a great way to discover some players you never heard about during the season. Or, the players you never even knew existed.
Over the course of this tournament’s long and respected history – names like Dino Popoola, Chris Porn, and Jihad Muhammed have graced our presence in March.
So, I did some digging and compiled a list of the coolest names in this year’s NCAA tournament, broken up by region.
E. Victor Nickerson — Valparaiso
Chandler Levingston Simon — Valparaiso
Basil Smotherman — Purdue
Let’s first point out that Bryce Drew has Valparaiso harboring a midwestern yacht club as a basketball roster with names like ‘E. Victor Nickerson’ and ‘Chandler Levingston Simon.’
Excuse me, gentlemen, but would you like another mimosa and a platter of assorted fruits? Only about an hour and a half south of Valparaiso resides the captain of their yacht, Purdue University’s Basil Smotherman.
Am I the only one who hears the name Basil and automatically thinks of Austin Powers and “twins Basil, twins!”?
Prince Ibeh — Texas
I mess with anyone named Prince. That’s the definition of being a boss, and in my opinion is better than owning the name ‘king.’ See to me, king implies established but on the cusp of being old and washed up.
Prince? Prince implies that I’m coming to mess shit up.
Hanner Masquera-Perea — Indiana
Masquera-Perea sounds more like a Spanish cosmetic product line than a college basketball player. Either way, Hanner is a name to be reckoned with.
Tum Tum Nairn Jr. — Michigan State
London Perrantes — Virginia
The East region consists of a lot of household names. London Perrantes is one of the best point guards in the ACC, while Tum Tum Nairn, Jr. has provided a spark that may have saved Michigan State’s season.
Was Tum Tum’s name inspired by the youngest brother from Three Ninjas? Probably not, but that would be awesome.
Scoochie Smith — Dayton
No relation to Tubby Smith.
Buddy Hield — Oklahoma
On top of the happiest name in the NCAA, Buddy Hield was also the Big 12’s Player of the Year.
While Buddy’s name is simple, yet elegant at the same time, you should learn that he’s not the only one in his family with an awesome name. Coming from Bahamian descent, the Hield clan consists of Buddy, Pepper, Nay-Nay, and Vezy.
Dallas Ennema — Albany
Man I feel sorry for this guy. His first name is fairly normal, as Dallas is one of the more popular city names.
But Ennema? That’s just got to hurt.
Cannen Cunningham — SMU
Lucky Jones — Robert Morris
You know there’s only one name that caught your eye when you reviewed the South Region. While Cannen Cunningham rolls off the tongue, and for every reason imaginable you should take note of someone named Lucky (real name Lucious).
Sir’Dominic Pointer — St. John’s
Parker U’u — San Diego State
But if we were playing out this tournament field by what team has the player with the coolest name – then St. John’s is cutting down the nets.
The Red Storm lives for having the coolest named players on their roster. Overlapping with Pointer, graduating after last season, was the ever-popular God’sgift Achiuwa.
And I’m a huge fan of Samoan names, especially when the last name is only two letters separated by an apostrophe. U’u itself means “to hold something,” which I think is pretty neat.
Parker and the Aztecs hope that something is a National Championship trophy on April 6th.
Deng Deng — Baylor
I’m a big fan of the double-double, especially when it comes to names.
I understand most instances where it happens is because it’s tribal, or religious, but I can’t help think what goes through a parent’s mind when they’re picking the permanent name of their child and the final decision is a mirror of the already given surname.
Like, c’mon. It’s as if those parents who name their kids William Williams or Jacob Jacobs – but even lazier.
But meet Deng Deng, who really does have an awesome backstory. He moved from his native Sudan to Egypt at age four to avoid the civil unrest, and eventually Australia when he was nine.
Deng completed his journey to big-time collegiate athletics by transferring to Baylor from nearby Lee College, where he averaged 19.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists as a sophomore.
Bronson Koenig — Wisconsin
Bronson is such a badass name and this one has a pretty badass game. His performance in the Big Ten championship gave him national recognition.
Koenig has officially passed Pinchot and Arroyo as America's favorite Bronson.
— Evan Altman (@DEvanAltman) March 15, 2015
I think I would also have to add rapper Action Bronson to this list as well, but without a doubt, Koenig is still top Bronson.
Any players that you can think of that I forgot? Throw them in the comment section below and get a conversation going. These ones are just some of my favorites.