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The value of these players is sometimes hard to appreciate. Their contributions won't necessarily stand out on a stat sheet, but each one understands what his team needs and delivers it, no questions asked. And without him, things fall apart.
MIKE HART, SG, Gonzaga
Hart averaged only 16.7 mpg and made just 20 field goals. Still, the 6' 6" senior has been a vital contributor, whether with his late steal and offensive rebound to clinch a win at Saint Mary's or his lockdown defense on Santa Clara's Kevin Foster, a 17.9 points-per-game scorer who had only four against the Zags.
KYLE ANDERSON, PF, UCLA
The consensus top five recruit wanted to play point guard as a freshman, but Larry Drew II's emergence forced the 6' 9" Anderson to switch to the frontcourt. He makes this team for his attitude—as well as his team-leading 8.6 rebounds. Anderson was a huge reason the Bruins won the Pac-12 regular-season title.
MELVIN EJIM, SF, Iowa State
Even with five seniors on the roster, Ejim, a junior, was voted a co-captain last fall alongside point guard Korie Lucious. "That just shows you the respect everybody has for him," coach Fred Hoiberg says. The 6' 6" Ejim led the Big 12 in rebounding (9.4 per game) while earning a 3.74 GPA as a history major.
ROOSEVELT JONES, SF, Butler
The 6'4" freshman earns minutes by being versatile, averaging 10.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists and guarding all five positions. And, as illustrated by the game-winning floater he sank to beat Gonzaga on Jan. 19, Jones relishes high-pressure moments. Says coach Brad Stevens, "Fear is not a factor with him."
NATE LUBICK, PF, Georgetown