After sitting out the first round of the NCAA tournament and the entire ACC tournament with the most famous toe injury in America, Lawson's blazing speed carried the Tar Heels past opponents. The main tip in most team's scouting reports is to not try to outrun Carolina: Thanks to Lawson -- who combined a record eight steals with solid defense in the title game -- no one came close.
2 of 10John Biever/SI
Kalin Lucas, G, MSU
The core of Michigan State's offense, junior point guard Kalin Lucas led the underdog Spartans to the NCAA final against North Carolina, averaging 17.2 points and 5.1 assists per game.
3 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Wayne Ellington, F/G, UNC
North Carolina's sharp-shooting guard was named the Most Outstanding Player, averaging 19.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in the Tar Heels' championship run. In the final, Ellington's 5-of-7 three-point shooting performance guided UNC to an early double-digit lead it never relinquished. All told, he drained 17 threes in the big dance.
4 of 10David E. Klutho/SI
Blake Griffin, F, Oklahoma
Declared the top NBA prospect throughout his sophomore season at Oklahoma, Blake Griffin, the Big 12 Player of the Year and 2009 Naismith Trophy winner, lived up to expectations in the tournament, even though the Sooners succumbed to champion North Carolina in the Elite Eight. Griffin, a.k.a. the "double-double machine," averaged a jaw-dropping 28.5 points, 15 rebounds and 2.25 assists per game in Oklahoma's four tournament games.
5 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn
Hasheem Thabeet didn't pick up a basketball until age 15, but the 7-foot-3 Connecticut center didn't waste anytime proving his prowess. In the Huskies' tournament run, which ended in the Final Four against Michigan State, the Big East's Defensive and co-Player of the Year averaged 12.6 points, 12.2 rebounds and two blocks per game.
6 of 10John Biever/SI
Sherron Collins, G, Kansas
With a knack for making big-time shots and for brimming with confidence, the defending champion Kansas' point guard threw down a career-high 32 points in the Jayhawks' NCAA tournament opener against North Dakota State. In his team's three tournament matchups -- Kansas fell to Michigan State in the Sweet 16 -- Collins averaged 25.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
7 of 10Al Tielemans/SI
A.J. Price, G, UConn
After overcoming a number of trials throughout his college career, UConn point guard A.J. Price shined for the Huskies throughout their 2009-08 campaign. In their tournament run, Price averaged 19 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
8 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
Sam Young, F, Pitt
With broad shoulders and a deadly pump-fake, Pittsburgh power forward Sam Young averaged a tournament-high 23.3 points and 7.75 rebounds per game.
9 of 10Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova
The Villanova forward spent the entire offseason honing his game, and at the 2009 tournament, it showed. He averaged 16.6 points and a team-high nine rebounds before the Wildcats fell to UNC in the Final Four.
10 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Stanley Robinson, F, UConn
From walk-on to starter, UConn forward Stanley Robinson quickly matured and improved since returning to the court in December. Nowhere was it more evident than in the tournament, when he emerged as a force for Connecticut, averaging 14.8 points and 8.4 rebounds a game.
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