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What are the Final Four’s biggest stars studying in college?

March 30, 2011

By Alex Braun

You’ve seen them lay it on the line in March. But what do they plan to do after basketball?

Kentucky logoKENTUCKY

Brandon Knight

Much has been made of the freshman Kentucky point guard’s clutch shots in this year’s tournament, which helped shut the door on Princeton and Ohio State. But with all the bad press over Kentucky basketball’s academic woes in the last few years, Knight’s achievements as a student have gone widely unheralded. He posted a 4.3 GPA in high school and aced his first semester classes in college, where he plans to earn a math or science-related degree.

At a press conference last week, Coach John Calipari even joked about Knight’s constant complaining over a 91% grade in sociology. Think you’d have heard more about these things if Knight went to Duke?

Josh Harrellson

The man known to many as “Jorts” was underachieving on the court at Kentucky until he nearly got kicked him off the team last October for a tweet criticizing Coach John Calipari. Since then, he’s been on a tear as a physical rebounder and a scoring threat in the paint. Though it now looks like Harrellson could wind up in the NBA, he’s studying marketing and communications to stay multi-dimensional.

Connecticut HuskiesUCONN

Kemba Walker

Adding to evidence that Walker is an inhuman beast, college basketball’s biggest star somehow found time in between a grueling practice and game schedule to earn his sociology degree an entire year early (he’s slated to be done by May). He probably won’t have to use it for a while, but I guess it’ll save him from getting mobbed by autograph requests in degree completion courses after his NBA career is over. Something tells us Walker won’t be hanging around campus next year.

Jeremy Lamb

Lamb has provided the key second option for the Huskies, averaging 18 points per game during UConn’s tournament ride to the Final Four. The lanky freshman shooting guard doesn’t appear to have declared a major yet, but he’ll probably have plenty of advice coming from his dad – Rolando Lamb organizes and speaks at motivational workshops as “America’s Character Coach.” Yes, that’s the same Rolando Lamb who helped knocked out current UConn coach Jim Calhoun with a game-winning shot for VCU against Northeastern in the 1984 NCAA tournament.

Butler BulldogsBUTLER

Matt Howard

Howard is used to being characterized as a nerd, and academic honors have followed him through all four years of college. Recently, he was named the NCAA Division I Academic All-American of the Year, posting a perfect 4.0 GPA last semester despite his basketball obligations and upper-level coursework in finance. But he’s also a nerd that can ball with college basketball’s elite, burying Pitt and Wisconsin with game-sealing shots and executing Coach Brad Stevens’ cerebral scheme with cold efficiency.

Shelvin Mack

Mack was a key part of Butler’s deep run last year, and he’s delivered big performances in the 2011 tournament – totaling 57 points in the last two wins over Pitt and Florida, the latter done with an injured ankle. Though he’s now a high draft prospect, he chose Butler over perennial basketball powerhouse Kentucky for academic reasons – Butler’s 20:1 student ratio was much better. A junior, Mack is working towards completing a media arts degree – and we know from this blogger that he’s been tackling a History of Design course this semester when he’s not busting people’s brackets.

VCU Rams logoVCU

Joey Rodriguez

The diminutive Rams guard has been terrorizing opponents from downtown in the tournament, helping a team that wasn’t sure it would crack the Top 68 knock off USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and No. 1-seeded Kansas. Rodriguez is pursuing a degree in criminal justice, but hopefully he’s not pulling us over anytime soon.

Jamie Skeen

This Wake Forest transfer is a physical presence for VCU at forward, but like everyone, their mom and their cousin’s chiropractor at VCU, he can also drain shots from beyond the arc. Skeen is a sociology major – which means if he doesn’t wind up working in a basketball arena, he might have to be consulted someday before one gets built.

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