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Thank you for signing up! Please check your inbox to confirm your email address and start receiving newsletters. By OddsShark March 20, Resetting NCAA tournament region by region. With the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament in the books, take a tour through the bracket on who's looking strong, who's alive but vulnerable and why some of the top seeds are out.
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You have successfully created your Sports Illustrated Account. Manage Profile Continue to SI. Manage Profile Log Out close. Basic Info First Name. Current Password Enter your current password. New Password Must be at least 6 characters and contain a number and an uppercase and lowercase letter. Some coaches take advantage of the niche market and bolster their roster with top-notch foreign talent. European natives comprised more than a third of the roster, representing Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Montenegro, Italy and Finland.
International recruits pass up an opportunity to play under a contract in European professional leagues for the chance to play among United States competition. For players at Marist and other mid-major schools within the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, an American education is often at the front of mind.
Injuries in consecutive summers leading up to college recruitment sidelined Knudsen, but a liaison from Denmark established a contact with Marist. Youth national teams in Europe can be a goldmine for college coaches, but only for those willing to take the risk.
Head coach Mike Maker was fired on March 5, after totaling a overall record since he took the job before the season. Dunne compiled a overall record with the Peacocks. He has found a new home just over 80 miles north of Jersey City, but he already has a head start on his new gig after coaching against Marist twice each season.
Unlike his predecessor, the defensive-minded coach centers his recruiting focus on the Northeast. Tobias Sjoberg, a 6-footinch rising junior from Malmo, Sweden, was recruited to Marist under the conditions of Maker and his staff.
The second overall pick in the NBA Draft shepherded the first wave of international players at Marist. During that same decade, Marist often had a starting five that was mostly comprised of foreigners. The percentage rose to 7. Bourgarel spent a decade playing professionally in France, but never made it to the NBA, a dream his son is now living.
But four straight seasons with over 20 losses under Maker was a cause for concern. And boy, does Marist need help on that end of the floor, ranking among the worst of all Division I programs last season in points allowed rd and turnover margin th.
Though a coaching change is not in the cards for any athlete when they sign a letter of intent, there is added pressure for international players to prove they belong in the NCAA. Keep in mind, Maker offered most of the six international players on the roster last season their only Division I scholarship.
Adjusting to a new head coach, especially one that has only coached two international players since , could turn a life-changing decision into a regrettable one.
As for Sjoberg, he was essentially guaranteed a starting spot on the team by Maker, but a bit of unrest may build if these plans are jeopardized by new coaches. Just over a month into his position, Dunne is tasked with building a relationship with players familiar with his coaching style, but worried about their future role on the team. With any new coach, gaining trust is imperative. Dunne does not seem too worried about connecting with players, international or not.
There is often a sit-back-and-wait approach, where coaches from national teams contact American schools about recruiting opportunities. European professional leagues remain a likely possibility for Division I prospects, but the college experience in the United States is a one-time opportunity. Faced with an unexpected coaching change, international athletes are left up in the air about their place on a roster.
Committing to a Division I program is rare for foreigners, but adapting to a new coach is worth the chance to play with the best collegiate players.
Marist has developed a pedigree of overseas recruits, so players like Knudsen and Sjoberg can rest assured that their talents will likely be valued under Dunne. The Villanova Wildcats and Jalen Brunson have won every one of their NCAA Tournament games this year by at least 10 points, including a matchup against a team whose defense was just as stingy as that of their Monday night opponent, the Michigan Wolverines.
The Wildcats are 6. The favored Wildcats are straight-up in their last nine matchups against the Big Ten, the conference in which Michigan plays, while Villanova is also against the spread in its last 11 games against Big Ten opponents.