Hello, and welcome back to the most-time honored, prestigious, and overtly silly tradition associated with the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament. As we have done now officially on this website since 2015, but informally in our hearts and group chats for a decade, it’s time to evaluate the studs and hunks who stood out among their peers throughout March Madness. This is the 2023 March Madness All-Handsome Team.
This year may feel mildly different for one small reason: familiar faces. Thanks potentially to the extra year of eligibility granted to every college athlete due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of the most handsome faces we saw in college basketball this season are returning from prior seasons.
Usually, when I dig into the archives to compile the list to evaluate, there are two or three players still in school and back in the tournament. This March we had five! A whole starting five for new faces to beat out makes for a tough task for our judges, once again composed of three of my friends and my wife to keep us in line.
Without further dilly-dallying, let’s handsome.
Previous Honorees back in the NCAA Tournament
Jeremy Roach, Duke
Shane: Sometimes this article is easy. Sometimes you get the phrase no homeowner wants to hear but every All-Handsome Team voter is hoping for: “Roach has returned.”
Stan: Fun fact, my wife has a phobia of roaches. Very early on into us dating, I got a call from her around 10:30 pm, saying there was a roach in her apartment and asking if I could come help dispose of it. I thought this was a thinly-veiled excuse to get to more quality time with Yours Truly, but when I arrived she was in the corner of her kitchen sobbing uncontrollably. The roach was dead and two rooms away. That’s when I learned what a true phobia was. She’s made a lot of progress on it over the years, but I still dispose of the roaches in our household. But this will not be a Roach I dispose of, given his handsomeness and whatnot.
Eddie: It appears I left Jeremy off my team last year in a spite-driven move against Stan and over some conversation about the multiverse. We now live in a reality where a film about the multiverse recently won Best Picture at the Oscars, but Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was mediocre at best, so where does that leave us? Still a no for me, though I’d love to see him with hot-dog fingers.
Kevin: Very handsome man. Welcome back! Doing the Dukies proud.
Emily: I liked him before and I like him again. I sympathize with Mrs. Stan, but roaches don’t bother me nearly as much as the rodent I saw in our kitchen last night.
Shane: We’re working on it. March is busy!
Tyson Walker, Michigan State
Shane: No brainer. Signed, sealed, delivered. Put the man in a suit, take photographs, put those photographs on the internet with a link to buy, let me purchase the suit at a reasonable price.
Emily: I think no suit required. He looks great in that forest green right there!
Stan: I am just going to get this out of the way up top. Last year must have been a historically sparse field. There is not a lot of returning talent that I am enamored with. Tyson is in the running in a down year, but the new crop bumps him out of contention.
Eddie: Yeah, 2022 must’ve been fuggo city. Can we say fuggo? Because as I said last year, Tyson is…..fine, but is he Daniel Craig, give-me-that-suit-he’s-wearing-now-and-I-mean-NOW handsome as Shane is implying? No, sir.
Kevin: I have to agree with the fellas. Tyson is a solid candidate, but new year new team. These aren’t participation trophies we’re giving out here!
Tucker Richardson, Colgate
Shane: Tucker got mixed reviews last year, mostly settling on him being more cute than handsome. I’m not even sure that is still accurate. Worst of all for Tuck? He’s not even the best looking guy on his own team.
I mean, I show you the picture below:
After you accept the fact that these five guys routed Syracuse in the dome, dominated the Patriot League, and gave Texas a scare a few weeks ago, despite agreeing to take a picture in this pose, I don’t think Richardson is the one catching your eye. More on our man in the front in a moment..
Stan: I agree with Shane. Nothing too special going on here. In the earlier years of AHT I would likely force an insult here, or make a bad joke at Tucker’s expense. But life is short. Last night during a men’s league basketball game, a kid on the other team asked me if I was 40. The end is near. Nothing matters.
Eddie: Simply an adorable smile. Would I call him handsome? No. What I would do though? I’d take the train into the city with him. We would hit up the aquarium, giggle at the penguins together, share an ice cream cone, and talk about our childhoods and how they shaped us. Then we would cozy up on the train ride home as the sun sets. So again, as I said last year, call me when he hits his 30s and really grows into his handsomeness.
Kevin: I can see the potential here. Good fundamentals. But you’ve got to put in the blood, sweat and tears and earn your spot on the AHT and I don’t think Tucker did enough this offseason. Maybe Emily would disagree, but the name Tucker does not scream handsome to me so maybe I’m biased from that alone.
Emily: I don’t pass judgment on names, out of principle, but Tucker to me looks like he’s playing for the opposing team in a high school drama. One Tree Hill. Something like that.
Brock Cunningham, Texas
Shane: Cunningham was nominated in the past but rightfully told he wasn’t ready yet. I didn’t disagree at the time. He was a little bit goofy looking. But now? Man, he’s grown into his own. There was talent there and he FOUND IT.
His ears are still big but that’s not disqualifying. Thigh tats. (nods head) Thigh tats.
Stan: OK, I take back everything I just said. Boo this man! SHANE, STOP TRYING TO MAKE BROCK HAPPEN. HE’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
Eddie: Hard agree with Stan. This guy ain’t it. Don’t try and sell me on thigh tats. I’m not buying.
Kevin: Brock is a name that screams handsome. “Oh that Brock Cunningham looks so hawt in his jorts,” I’d say after a few pinot grigios. Grow out the beard and he’s got a spot on my team.
Emily: The entire vibe of this photoshoot is risque. The conveniently placed Horns logos, everything steering to the jorts. When I think Texas and jorts, it makes me think McConnaughey, so this might be working.
Ben Vander Plas, Virginia
Shane: Ben is another former nominee that did not win the group over. Feedback in 2021 mentioned him having something, but that something not quite being right. Well, he took that note, transferred to Virginia (whom his Ohio Bobcats upset in the first round in 2021 with many media outlets noting that Ben is named after his now coach Tony Bennett’s dad, who coached Ben’s dad, so the connection was a natural fit, if you were about to follow that ramble) and then he kept the hair long and grew just a Clydesdale of a mustache. That thing won Best in Show at Westminster and can bench press 225 lbs for a baker’s dozen reps.
You can stick by your claims he doesn’t have it (Eddie and Stan), or think he’s more sex appeal than purely handsome, but it would be malpractice to not mention that man with that lip-caterpillar in 2023. Give his Instagram a scroll. It’s a ride.
Stan: He is certainly not the most traditionally handsome submission. I picture him as the bartender who is kinda low-key flirting with your gf/partner/wife, but it’s OK cause he is taking the time to charm you as well. He is getting serious consideration based on vibes alone.
Emily: Hey, I’d be happy to be the target of that lowkey flirting. Sorry, Shane.
Eddie: First of all, this guy is the wildest of rides when you scroll that IG and look at the looks he cultivated for himself. And you know what, I think that rollercoaster is fueled by what must be crippling insecurity. He doesn’t know who he is, the poor fella. The good news is he’s young and he will find it. I would recommend finding it somewhere far away from that mustache though because we must not let the headband fool us here. Sure, in the picture Shane chose he is giving me some Roger Federer vibes, but that thing is doing some heavy lifting, because without it, he’s gonna end up on a government watch list.
Kevin: I’m loving the stache. Good for you, Ben. He can pull it off but I think he falls just short of a starting spot despite best efforts.
New entrants in 2023
Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky
Shane: There is exactly ONE word that I can use to describe Oscar Tshiebwe: Statuesque. The man was made from marble and then poofed to life to grab offensive rebounds.
Stan: Now we are talking. Undeniably handsome, and I appreciate the amount of pictures where he is flexing while on the court. He knows he’s got the goods and he is not afraid to show them off. Self-confidence is in these days.
Eddie: I like the shape of his head. He has a handsome head shape. It lets the rest of his face fall into place. Never thought of it before but I guess there is something innate about head shape and size that triggers handsomeness in my brain.
Not enough Oscars out there either. Outside of the Grouch and the aforementioned awards show, who are we talking about? Oscar Mayer, who has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A. But AFTER that? You tell me.
Emily: You’ve got a decent head shape yourself, Ed! Maybe you and Oscar could compare notes on maximizing head shape into handsomeness.
Eddie: You have no idea how happy that makes me to hear. I grew up in a house where my siblings referred to the back of my head as, “ the dome” and mocked the way hats fit on my head. This is honestly a magical moment for me. Thank you.
Kevin: Whaaaat a Man! Eddie’s right (that was hard to say but necessary), not enough Oscars out there. I could see this AHT nomination causing Oscar to be the baby name of the year for 2024. Hammer the over, people.
Sincere Carry, Kent State
Shane: First team All-League on the court and first team All-Jawline in my book. OK, go ahead. Do a bunch of puns with his name.
Stan: Ugh. So close. I have a confession, and it’s that I get skeeved out by beard lines that go too high. I get this is out of anybody’s control, and I feel for (I’m an empath) people who need to groom that area of their face. I fully understand this is a “me” problem, as the man is Sincerely handsome. But he is not making my ballot.
Eddie: His beard does go too high up on his cheeks. You actually can control it too, Stan. They have these things called razors and you just run them over the hairy parts of your face and it cuts the hair. They’re supposed to be wild.
Me being a rascal aside, I sincerely wish Sincere could be on my team, but there’s just too many handsome new boys edging him out.
Kevin: Wowwww Stan and Eddie you could not be more wrong. I feel like you’re intimidated by the manliness of this dude. If I were the marketing director of a cologne company I would blow all my budget on his NIL. Sincere by bleú de Chanel ads running non-stop on Tru TV right after the “Na-Na-Napa Know How” song finishes.
Emily: Hey, you guys didn’t even notice: another thigh tat! It’s the Year of the Thigh Tat and we’re here for it.
Oliver Lynch-Daniels, Colgate
Shane: Mentioned above and can’t be ignored. He’s also the prime time to talk about a key development in the world of the All-Handsome Team. When this started, it was in-game appearances, school approved headshots, and fingers crossed for a Google Image search. Now? These dudes be Instagramming. Not just “here’s a sandwich” and “here’s my girlfriend at the big bean in Chicago” posts. We’re talking legit thirst traps. Check out our man OL-D’s work. Wild world we live in.
Stan: As always, thank you for the IG link. The talent here is just undeniable. If basketball isn’t the long term plan for Oliver, I am absolutely sure he could star in a CW teen drama based loosely on the origin story of Quail Man.
Eddie: He looks like Jimmy Garoppolo’s younger brother in all the right ways. The same dark hair, the same olive skin, the same less than savory thoughts in my mind. And my God, look at those thighs. I can just see Jimmy G. and OL-D tossing the pigskin around on the beach, shirtless like the most insane scene from Top Gun: Maverick where they play Dogfight football and it makes no sense but it’s very…invigorating.
Emily: I also said Jimmy G. right away! And as a woman who prides herself on knowing every NFL teams’ QB, I think Oliver would also look good in a Raiders jersey.
Kevin: It’s funny because in a normal setting he’s an above 6-foot tall guy who’s handsome. Put him on a basketball court and he’s the lil-guy who’s cute at “only” 6’2” compared to some of the big fellas out there. Have to go with a no doubt handsome-stamp, but thought it was an interesting topic we could broach on our upcoming offseason podcast “Talking Handsome: A Thrice-Weekly Look at The Hotties of Hoops.”
Shane: Hmm. Not sure the universe needs another podcast from a group of white men in their 30s. I’ll do some checking into that and get back to you.
Chris Youngblood, Kennesaw State
Shane: We received a few submissions from Eddie during the Xavier-Kennesaw State game and Youngblood was the stand-out to me. Think it’s hard to argue he’s got something going on.
Stan: Chris is a fun combo of cute and absolutely shredded. I wouldn’t be mad if he made the squad, but I could see him being an even stronger contender if he is back for his senior year.
Eddie: The Kennesaw State team is loaded with handsome talent. Chris certainly takes the cake and quite frankly, for me, is an instant All-Handsome Team Hall of Famer, but Brandon Stroud is not too shabby either.
To stay on topic though, Chris is the glorious intersection of cute and handsome. Something in his eyes makes me feel like he has a goofy warmth that makes people gravitate toward him. There’s a youthful glow that I don’t think will ever dim. And, as we all know, handsomeness generally grows with time so when he gets a little older and little wiser, but still has that glow he is going to be truly something.
Kevin: Chris could be cast as Zac Efron’s more skilled and better looking rival when he shows up to play in college in the never-made but absolutely should have been, High School Musical 4: Efron Goes to College. Or was that just Neighbors and I didn’t pay attention to the plot? Either way Youngblood is a great call for the team, nice find Edward.
Emily: You all have so much to say. This post is very long.
Jaedon LeDee, San Diego State
Shane: How many schools is a red-flag? This makes three in four years for Jaedon, leaving a trail of broken hearts in Columbus and Fort Worth. The best thing I can say for LeDee: hard to find a bad picture. He has no bad side!
Eddie: In today’s world, everyone plays for 100 schools so who cares. Honestly, he might have to keep transferring because he’s too handsome. He just gets overwhelmed with people of all genders, sexual orientations, races, creeds, and religious affiliations coming up to him and asking for a date that he has to move on to the next place every year in hopes that it will settle down. With his good looks though, that’s going to be his life.
Kevin: He definitely has a warm smile which adds to the charm for sure. I would not be opposed to offering him a spot on the AHT and receiving what is undoubtedly a very firm but still friendly handshake from him in return.
Stan: Every year, there is a submission that I immediately consider writing in as my vote for the next local mayoral election, and this year it’s Jaedon. There is just something about that smile that says “I’m not like those other politicians, I care about YOU.” Upper Darby would be lucky to have him.
Emily: I can get on board with the mayoral vibes. He’s got a great smile and the Uncle Sam-style point in the picture above makes me ready to vote for him.
Shane: Sounds like he’s got a coalition of voters on his side.
Jalen Hood-Schifino, Indiana
Shane: Simple SAT math here. He kind of looks like Jalen Hurts. Jalen Hurts is mega handsome. Ipso facto, carry the two, divide by zero: JHS is also handsome.
Stan: I think you’re giving JHS a little too much credit here. Jalen Hurts has a man’s face, whereas JHS has some Jaden Smith in him. It’s not a bad thing, but Jalen Hurts is much more handsome. And strong. And talented. And there is just no way that JHS could be the kind of dual threat that Jalen Hurts is out there, let alone the same kind of locker room leader. It was clear that the entire Eagles team would have run through a wall for that guy. I think it’s a no brainer, give Jalen all the money and years he wants. You can’t contend in today’s NFL without an elite offense an….. Sorry. Sorry. I got worked up and forgot what we were doing here. Go Birds.
Emily: Go Birds. I was right there with you on that exact train of thought. Great call on the Jalen Hurts-Jaden Smith combo. I can’t unsee it.
Eddie: Wow, Jalen Hurts is handsome now, but I found him PAINFUL to watch at Alabama. So Other Jalen, there is hope for you because if that Jalen grew to be handsome you can too. And remember, no unforced fumbles!
Shane/Emily/Stan: (loud booing)
Kevin: Great picture of Jalen here. Gotta give photo cred where it’s due! I think it may be a little early to be AHT but give him some time and we could have ourselves a contender.
Norchad Omier, Miami
Shane: Sorry for burying this treasure so late in the game, but our boy is home run. Norchad rocks a 50 million mega-watt smile on top of being Mr. Muscles Magee. Who could argue with that recipe?
Stan: This new crop of talent is really something. Dang. I want to include him in my final ballot, but I think there’s just too much high end talent this year. Thankfully, Omeir is just a sophomore, so he has plenty of years for his seed to be planted and to blossom into the beautiful Norchad (orchard pun?) we all know he can be.
Eddie: Why did we include any of the repeats? Because the old blood was borderline insulting to my intelligence and the new group, outside of Jalen who doesn’t make the cut but could have a bright future, were all revelations. God damned guaranteed hits each and every one of them!
Seriously, I would put the guys I voted for this year up against any group we’ve ever had and declare them the handsomest group of men we’ve ever discussed. An absolute murderer’s row of attractiveness.
Kevin: Great eyelashes, borderline beefcake, and can pull off a bunch of different hairstyles. But that’s easy when you’re undeniably a very handsome man. Nice job Norchad.
Emily: Muscles Magee, beefcake – call it what you want. This guy’s a winner.
The Semi-Annual “Is There a Hot Enough Coach to Challenge Tony Bennett” Question
Dusty May, Florida Atlantic
Shane: We stopped mentioning the coaches because there was Jay Wright and Tony Bennett and after agreeing we were #TeamTony, it was pointless to bring up again until a new challenger appeared. HELLO, DUSTY.
Now, he is a little bland looking but a lot of handsome guys are. I compared him to the robotic congressman from Parks and Recreation:
That’s OK. Flaws are interesting. Perfection can be overlooked.
Here’s all I know: if I’m at a bar or some like, work or school function, and this dude walks in? I’m like, “Yo, who is the handsome guy?”
Stan: I said it once and I will say it again. Dusty looks like the 3rd lead on a mediocre TNT procedural drama. That is a compliment when it comes to handsomeness, but does not speak much to his acting prowess.
Eddie: Agree with Stan. Sure he’s got attractive dad at the PTA meeting energy, but that’s where it ends. Until someone knocks our socks off, the coach category can remain hanging in the rafters.
Kevin: I appreciate the effort, Dusty. Worth the conversation for sure but I don’t know if it’s enough just yet to crack the roster. Always remember, Leo was nominated for six Oscars before finally winning best actor. Never give up hope, Dusty.
Emily: He’s fine. It is a little sad that Jay Wright isn’t in the conversation anymore, but I hope he’s enjoy retirement. Always a spot for you here, Jay.
Shane: I suppose once again, this photo is true:
The 2023 March Madness All-Handsome Team
G: Chris Youngblood, Kennesaw State
G: Oliver Lynch-Daniels, Colgate
F: Jaedon LeDee, SDSU
F: Norchad Omier, Miami
F: Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky
Honorable mention: Jeremy Roach, Duke
Most years I say that the AHT, if assembled as a real basketball team, has Sweet Sixteen potential. There’s a lot of talent here, but oddly too much size. Maybe if we could start Roach and bring LeDee off the bench, there’s a viable basketball team, though I’m not complaining. Big men have been overlooked for far too long in this exercise. Let’s give the forwards and centers their day in the sun. Two guys in the Final Four too. Here’s hoping for an Aztecs-Hurricane title game that is easy on the eyes.
Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and senior writer at PalestraBack.com. He has also contributed to ESPN.com, The Action Network, Betway Insider, Rush The Court, Larry Brown Sports, RotoBaller, and USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain. You can find every post from this blog on Twitter by following @PalestraBack.