The 2018 March Madness All-Handsome Team

This season, college basketball has had so much discussion about end of season awards. Coach of the Year, National Player of the Year, and the All-American Teams have been as hotly debated as I can ever remember. There are five players with a legitimate argument for National Player of the Year and most major conferences had a rousing race for the conference award as well. Despite all of this discussion and debate, the focus has been on awards that reward players for stats, performances, and winning.

BORING.

Where is all the debate about the All-Handsome Team? It makes its way to my inbox, as do half a dozen requests to join the selection committee every year, but the national media is ignoring this prestigious honor.

When a team sits on the bubble, let’s worry less about their resume and more about which of their players need a tourney berth to earn an AHT spot. Halftime shows should be dedicated to finding hunks and studs. The FBI should share any photos or video they’ve captured while investigating college basketball to see if it can shed any light on a player’s past, current, and future handsomeness.

For now, Palestra Back is your official home for all things regarding March Madness man meat. Let’s dive into the candidates for this year’s squad, with help from some friends (Stan, Kevin, and Eddie) and Emily (my wife):

Returning Handsome Teamers

Jared Terrell (Rhode Island)

Shane: Only one player selected for the 2017 AHT returned to the tournament this season. For me, he’s a no-brainer choice. He’s a veteran with experience. He got even better looking this year and that Rhode Island blue really works for him.

Eddie: Last year we talked up his body. It’s the right mass and shape and I spoke of his potential as a movie star. I guess I was just in a different place in my life then and much more superficial and immature. Looking at Jared now – yes his body is a glorious sight – but it’s his face that draws you in and makes you say, “Yes, I would love to grab a blanket, a cup of tea and snuggle with you.” It’s his face that gives him the charm, bravado, and all-around handsomeness to be a movie star. #GetThisGuyOnTheSilverScreenStud

Kevin: Another year, another starting spot for Jared. I am glad to see some players taking the AHT as seriously as the rest of us do and sticking with what works for them. I think we all remember what happened with Joel Berry from UNC last year, so it is refreshing to see a stud like Jared put in another start to finish effort. Things like that cannot be taught in the gym, or is that exactly where they are taught?

Stan: When you look at the attitude, the jawline, the eyes, the pipes, and the…SOMETHING, you realize that Jared is a five tool All-Handsome prospect. This kid has it all, no-brainer repeat selection.

Emily: I agree with Eddie. He’s got Hollywood potential, and not just on a reality show, but in real deal entertainment. I like to see repeat performers. Classic and consistent handsomeness, year in and year out.

New Contenders

Corey Kispert (Gonzaga)

Shane: I know what you’re thinking and I’m fully prepared to explain.

This dude is handsome. He photographs terribly. In high school, he had a real doof face and to this day, his smile is broken. However, I watched a ton of Gonzaga games this year and never doubted that he’d be included in this post. That jawline doesn’t lie and neither do those PIPES.

Just saying, when you do your research, have some patience.

Eddie: Boy was I ready to jump all over you Shane and say this guy sucks. I thought this was about handsomeness and the qualifications were above “Having a Human Face”. Maybe I am getting soft in my old age, but I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt here.

I think it’s also important to remember that these are children. They are in college. They have no idea what they’re doing, where they’re going and how they’re getting there. So what I see with Corey is growth. His pictures from high school are a debacle. He’s got a dumb face and the buzz cut really hurts his looks. But he’s growing into his looks and seems to be settling on a much more flattering haircut. I think like many of the male heart throbs in my life, Corey has chance to age into handsomeness. As such he gets my official #GiveItTimeStud award.

Kevin: As somebody who is not photogenic I can relate to Corey. I can’t tell you how many brilliant Snapchats I’ve conjured up in my mind, only to take a selfie and immediately Gronk-spike my phone when I look like Gary Busey after a bender. Corey seems to have all the makings of a stallion and I can get comfortable with that. You can stamp his tickets to the AHT award presentation and the gun show.

Stan: I was in the middle of calling eye doctors in Delaware County to see if they could take Shane in for an emergency appointment, but then I saw a few glimpses of some truly studly potential. I can see where you all are coming from, but I need to see more growth out of Corey before he can get the official AHT nod. I’m not ready to put him on the squad yet, but I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t make it next year.

Emily: I do like him! Great eyebrows. A nice smile. I appreciate a story of personal growth. Shane had some doofy moments with a bad buzzcut in high school. 

Daniel Giddens (Alabama)

Shane: Wasn’t easy to find the right picture of this guy in an Alabama jersey, but he’s been a looker since his days at Ohio State. Cut bod. Piercing eyes. Killer cheekbones. Strong all around.

Eddie: First off, Roll Tide. I think it’s important we all get that out there now before next football season starts and we are forced to bow at the altar of their utter dominance of college football.

Second, this guys neck sucks. It’s too skinny. It’s too long. It just doesn’t work. It’s a shame because he does have a decent build and what could be a good face, I just can’t get past his neck. Sorry Daniel. All my neck love goes to Merton Hanks, I guess. #TooMuchNeckDud

Kevin: Eddie, hashtags are so 2017. Get with the times bruh {insert classic Fortnite joke, am I right guys???}. In all seriousness Daniel should pack his bags and move to Hollywood. He has the looks to play a handsome dad in the next hit sitcom. Looks beyond his years. Could he be the next Jesse Katsopolis? Only time will tell.

Shane: There’s no way you spelled Katsopolis without Googling.

Kevin: You caught me. My original spelling started with a C and had three U’s in there somehow.

Eddie: Remember when he was Jesse Cochran? That was weird.

Stan: I have been looking at this picture for 7 minutes and I still don’t know which one is supposed to be the handsome one.

Emily: Kevin is right when he says looks beyond his years. Very mature looking. He could be a politician or he could be a more pulled together Kanye West, minus the Dad Bod.

Shane: Kanye-Giddens 2020!

Egor Koulechov (Florida)

Shane: Let’s go foreign. Why not mix in a guy named Egor?

Almost have to assume Florida is his third school because there’s a trail of broken hearts behind him. He reminds me of Jonathan Rhys Meyers, which is a thing people rarely say.

Apologies for not paying to use this Getty image without the watermark, but I had to do it. We got another pipe show going on here.

Eddie: Best way to describe Egor is, just some guy. He’s that guy who existed in high school but you were never really sure what his deal was. Was he cool? Who did he hang out with? Yeah, he played basketball, but he couldn’t make it on any other teams? What the hell is this guy’s deal? #BoredDud

Kevin: Egor has some potential but he seems to be hitting his stride a few years too late. I am curious to see what the future has in store for Egor, but I don’t see him cracking this year’s lineup.

Stan: In a down year, I could see the least handsome Franco brother making it. There are far worse things in the world than being the least handsome Franco.

Emily: His hair is very Franco-ish. Dave Franco-ish, to be specific. Not sure I have a ton of opinions on this guy. He’s not the most handsome guy, but he’s not not good looking.

Clayton Custer (Loyola)

Shane: The pros: Also rocking a decent set of biceps for a Midwestern mid-major player. Clean cut, All-American look. Perfect Friday Night Lights sounding name. Plays the game the right way. Good friends with Sister Jean (she said he was the first to tease her about her bracket being wrong). I don’t know. I have a man crush on this college kid for non-looks reasons, which isn’t the best thing for me to be saying at age 27.

The cons: He’s not….that….handsome? Pains me to say it.

Eddie: I like Clayton. There’s nothing remarkable about him. His most distinguishing feature is his Adrian Brody nose. I think women find Adrian Brody attractive. I don’t know. I’ve only seen him in King Kong and as we all know everything in that movie gets overshadowed by the massive gorilla vs. T-Rex fight where King Kong rips a T-Rex tongue out, snaps it’s jaw and then plays with the lifeless head like a petulant child. My point is, is Adrian Brody handsome? I don’t know, but I am adding Clayton to my team. #UnderdogStud  

Kevin: I’m in on the underdog, it feels appropriate this year. Clayton is the nice guy that finally gets his chance and is making the most of it. If he can learn how to work the angles, Clayton may be on to something.

Stan: Clayton is so handsome he probably has Sister Jean rethinking her vows. While he’s not the most traditionally handsome, the total package more than makes up for it. Give me Owen Wilson over Luke Wilson anyday. Wow (please read in Owen Wilson’s voice).

Emily: He’s got a lot going for him. The underdog story. He transferred to play with his childhood friend. And his coloring is on point. His complexion and his hair color pair nicely.

Braedon Bayer (Syracuse)

Shane: Played 11 minutes in the regular season but was called into service in the win over Michigan State. Slick tats and a very well thought out hair style. Orange is a tough color, but he pulls it off.

If you can look past that butcher-job of a first name, he’s in.

Eddie: Can’t look past the name. Pass.

Kevin: Braedon looks like Brandt Snedeker’s handsome brother and honestly has a similar name situation going on. Both are not great things but it is something.

Stan: His eyes are so close together I thought he was a cyclops. No thank you.

Emily: He looks like an Abercrombie model, but that’s not everyone’s type. Also, I don’t like his tattoos peeking out from under that jersey. He doesn’t look like a tattoo guy.

Nate Sestina (Bucknell)

Shane: He looks like a guy that your girlfriend’s friend brings to a party and you’re like “Damn, Katie’s new boyfriend is a good looking dude.” And then he says he likes the song that’s playing and you go, “Dude, absolutely. I love Langhorne Slim.” And then he offers to grab you another beer out of the fridge. Then when he gets back, he also gives you the score of the game that’s on the TV, which you weren’t asking for, but it was nice to know that USC is only up a touchdown now.

Eddie: Shane, USC is only up a touchdown? I’m putting that game on now. Thanks Nate for the update. I like him. He’s going to look out for me and anticipate my needs. I don’t think he’d mind if I hog the sheets either. Can he be my boyfriend? #DateableStud

Kevin: Nathan is a….Geography major, which is apparently still a thing. Good thing Christopher Columbus has us all covered in terms of geography, leaving Nathan to take care of what he does best: look good on the court and on the camera. Studmuffin written all over him.

Stan: I don’t know if you all are aware but Nate is 6’9” and 247 lbs. He might have a cute face but this guy is a certified BEEFCAKE. On a team that seems to be lacking in that department, Nate is a slab of 100% pure certified Bison beef.

Eddie: Kev coming through with the research. What does a geography major learn? Don’t we already know where everything is? Maps are for nerds!

Emily: Wow, I like this guy. I can imagine he doesn’t just look good in a jersey but in a nice button-down shirt on the weekend too. He’s your classic All-American Bucknell frat boy. Stan would know something about that.

Stan: No doubt, Emily. In a best of both worlds situation, he’d also look perfect in a throwback Dominique Wilkins jersey, boat shoes, and Ray-Bans, singing along to “Wagon Wheel” after shotgunning a beer. He’s a frat star alright, for better or for best.

Aaron Holiday (UCLA)

Shane: Probably the worst looking of the Basketball Holidays. Jrue Holiday is certainly the best looking of the trifecta, but Baby Jrue has some nice soft features too. I think his thousand watt smile (not pictured) gets him in.

Eddie: Ooof. Jrue. That’s a shame. Anyways, I am bored of this guy. What’s he got going for him? Why is here? Again, is having a face all that gets you on this list nowadays? What happened to standards? What happened to freedom? What happened to this country? He does have a nice smile though. #JrueIsADumbNameDud

Kevin: That is not a bad pool of genes to be swimming in. Aaron makes my team on talent alone, but I would love to see some extra effort from him. Yet another player who is foregoing his chance at a senior year on the AHT for a shot at the NBA. If only these kids knew the opportunity they are throwing away.

Stan: I think Eddie thinks his name is Jrue. Anyway, as a major supporter of the Holiday family, it pains me to say that Aaron doesn’t quite make the cut. He’s cute, he’s just not handsome.

Emily: He looks young but could grow into movie star looks in the future. This will be his last chance on the AHT and I think he earned a spot. Maybe Aaron should follow his brother’s lead and find a nice famous female athlete to marry.

Matt Haarms (Purdue)

Shane: OK, I’m not ready to argue in favor of Matt Haarms. He’s hair has been the talk of the tournament though, and I think that means we need to at least discuss him. This stretched out King Joffrey might be attractive, in like, a boy who played female parts in Shakespeare plays kind of way.

Eddie: That Shakespeare reference is weird, but let’s just move on. I have a lot to say on this fellow. First, he looks like a cross between King Joffrey and Aaron Carter. I could see him as a bard in Westeros getting executed by the real King Joffery for writing a, “How I Beat Shaq” parody about defeating The Mountain.

Kevin: The first time I saw Haarms playing in the tournament I was immediately drawn in to the hair drama, not gonna lie. I even tuned in for their Sweet 16 game just to get a glimpse of what was going on up there. Would he have enough gel this game? Would the announcers even talk about the hair? Would he go wildcard and change his look all of a sudden? Fortunately for everyone the answer to all my questions was “no” and we got one of the best stat lines of the tourney:

Only 12 minutes in! This guy is the modern day Steve from Stranger Things. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HAIR. Haarms can play on my All Hair Team any day.

Stan: In the right haands, this haaircut can take one’s haandsomeness to unforeseen heights. On the wrong person, it does nothing but haarm. Matt is trying to hide behind his locks and he knows it, as evidenced behind his nervous hair twitch. He doesn’t even have the confidence to rock it, and for that reason, I have a really haard time putting him on the squad.

Eddie: I want to take this time to talk about athletes doing their hair before games. It bothers me. Just show up and play. Why do you have to waste time getting your hair just right before running around and sweating for 40 minutes? It’s always been an epidemic on the soccer pitch, but hey that’s Europeans for you.

Emily: Amen, brother. That hairstyle is ruined by the first TV timeout. I’msurprised that of the two Purdue centers, Haarms is the one we’re evaluating. Haarms is a little too skinny to be handsome, but Isaac Haas has some nice body mass. 


2018 All-Handsome Team

PG: Clayton Custer

G: Jared Terrell

G: Corey Kispert

F: Daniel Giddens

F: Nate Sestina

Honorable mention: Aaron Holiday

****

Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and senior writer at PalestraBack.com. He has also contributed to ESPN.com, Rush The Court, SALTMoney.org, Larry Brown Sports, and USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s