Hate is strong word...but an apt one.

Just in time for the dance tomorrow, here is the Big Lead's Top Five Hated Players in the tourney. I would have to put Hansbrough as the number 1 seed - few things in this life are worse than he.


1. Eric Devendorf, Syracuse. Allegedly hit a female student in face late last year, and was nearly suspended for the entire season by the University. The neck tattoos don’t help, nor does the endless preening after three-pointers. Great shooter, but his antics at the Big East tournament vaulted him to the top spot. The word “punk” definitely applies.

2. Tyler Hansbrough, UNC. Hated because the media fawns over him (Jay Bilas going down on him at the end of the Louisville Elite 8 game last year may have been the tipping point), and because he seems to get all of the calls from the refs. Guilt-by-success seems to apply here.

3. Greg Paulus, Duke. Probably had this honor the last few years. He’s in the same mold as Chris Collins and Steve Wojo. Spunky, undersized, and a streaky shooter. Except he’s not nearly as good. It didn’t help that Dick Vitale was hyping this kid since his high school days (sort of like how Beano Cook hyped Ron Powlus at Notre Dame), and then he showed up on campus and basically underachieved in the first three years (3-3 in the NCAA tournament), and then lost his starting job this year. There’s no way this guy was the 11th best high school recruit in 2005.

4. Hasheem Thabeet, UConn. Talked some junk in the offseason about Harangody and Hansbrough, which didn’t endear him to many, especially since he really hadn’t accomplished anything. Then, the 7-foot-3 center backed up his play with a strong season - he was the co-Player of the Year in the Big East - but notoriously flopped head-to-head against the much shorter DeJuan Blair of Pitt. Most folks chuckle at the idea of Thabeet being considered a top three pick in the 2009 draft; people relish calling him a bust and overrated.

5. Jon Scheyer, Duke. There’s a website dedicated exclusively to the many faces he makes. If you ask Maryland fans whom they hate most, Scheyer may be No. 1 … perhaps on the level of JJ Redick.

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