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How OG Anunoby went from an undiscovered recruit to a March Madness sensation

Meet the breakout star of the NCAA Tournament, Indiana's OG Anunoby.

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Maybe your introduction was the 360 against Chattanooga, when he picked the ball clean at half court and whiplashed his body through the air for the slam. Maybe it was when he darted in from the corner to turn a Troy Williams airball into an alley-oop against Kentucky. It might have been the way he locked up everyone from Jamal Murray to Skal Labissière later that game.

When OG Anunoby is on the court, it's impossible to miss him. It begs just one question: who is OG Anunoby?

Indiana's 6'7 freshman forward is many things: a versatile defensive stopper, a "helicopter with muscles" and a burgeoning NBA draft prospect who was totally off the radar as recently as two months ago.

More than anything, Anunoby is the key to the Hoosiers' national title hopes and the breakout star of the NCAA Tournament. And he's just getting started.

You probably still have more questions. Let's answer them.

Where did this guy come from?

Anunoby was born in London and raised in Jefferson City, Mo., by a father with a PhD who works as a business professor at Lincoln University. He grew up watching clips of Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady and decided basketball was the sport for him because baseball was "too boring" and football was "too dangerous."

From a basketball perspective, Anunoby came out of nowhere. He was ranked No. 261 in the RSCI. Even the biggest recruiting taste-makers weren't familiar with him until the summer heading into his senior year of high school.

"Not only had I never seen him, I'd never even heard of him before July," said Scout's Brian Snow after Anunoby committed to Indiana.

Legend has it that when Tom Crean first saw him playing for Team Thad at an Under Armour event in Atlanta, Anunoby wasn't even listed in the program. It didn't take long for Crean to do his research and instantly offer him a scholarship to Bloomington.

Why didn't he start playing until recently?

Indiana knew its season was changing when sophomore shooting guard James Blackmon Jr. suffered season-ending knee injury after the Hoosiers' Dec. 22 win over Kennesaw State. Blackmon was a McDonald's All-American and one of the best scorers in the Big Ten, a player every program would love to have. He also wasn't a very good defender, and Indiana's defense was killing the team.

With Blackmon out, other players were afforded a bigger opportunity. Robert Johnson gave the Hoosiers a capable three-and-D starter in the backcourt next to Yogi Ferrell. Freshman Juwan Morgan started seeing more playing time. And slowly but surely, Anunoby worked his way into the rotation.

What has he done?

Anunoby's last three games have probably been the best three games of his career.

He went 6-for-6 from the field to finish with 13 points against Michigan in Indiana's quarterfinal loss in the Big Ten Tournament. Against Chattanooga in the round of 64, he went 6-for-7 to finish with 14 points. His numbers might seem less impressive vs. Kentucky (3-for-4 for seven points), but that game showcased is ridiculous defensive potential.

Anunoby defended everyone from Tyler Ulis to Murray to Labissière in that game. It's hyperbole 99 percent of the time when you hear someone say a player has the ability to guard 1-5. It doesn't feel that way with Anunoby.

What makes him special?

Length, athleticism and defensive versatility.

Anunoby is 6'7, 234 pounds ... with a 7'6 wingspan. 7'6! To put that in perspective, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo are considered extreme outliers for having 7'3 wingspans. Anunoby appears to be a true physical anomaly.

It's a measurement that's so absurd it sounds like an urban legend. Just about everyone is going to remain skeptical until there's an official measurement to back it up, and that's OK. Just looking at him, you can tell his arms are impossibly long.

Any sweet highlights this year?

Of course. Michigan State's Kenny Goins is never going to be able to shake this one:

And look at the way he just swallows up Murray last weekend:

Do Indiana fans love him?


Can you give me a preposterous NBA comparison?

A bigger Justise Winslow!

Anunoby just doesn't seem to leave anything off the table. He's an elite athlete blessed with incomprehensible length who could eventually develop into one of the best defenders in the world. He's going to need to prove his three-point shot is for real, but right now he's shooting 45 percent on the very small sample of 29 attempts.

If you've watched Indiana over the last few weeks, it's clear Anunoby isn't trying to do too much. He's letting his talented teammates like Ferrell and Williams and Thomas Bryant carry the Hoosiers while he picks his spots. It's easy for a five-star freshman to think he has to force the issue to live up to the hype, but Anunoby is playing without the burden of expectations.

His floor seems like a great glue guy. His ceiling? This is all happening so fast that it's way too soon to say.

Does he have any dope pictures?


Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Is he gonna turn pro?

No one would have thought Anunoby was a one-and-done even a month ago. But at this point, why not?

The NCAA passed a new rule this year that extended the deadline for draft prospects to pull their names out. Kids get 10 days until after the combine now, which allows them to go through drills, meet with teams and gauge where they might be picked. The upshot of this is everyone is going to declare, and it's easy to imagine Anunoby becoming the darling of the pre-draft process, especially if Indiana keeps winning.

This sort of rise isn't supposed to happen in 2016, not during a time when AAU basketball is a massive business designed to unearth stars as early as possible. Turns out, there was one hiding in plain sight in Missouri all along that Tom Crean spotted before anyone else.

It's possible that this is entirely too premature, that Anunoby has only played a few good games and that he needs at least another season in school before considering the NBA. But then you think about that length, that athleticism and that defensive versatility, and the mind starts to race.

Whatever comes next for OG Anunoby, just know one thing: the world has finally taken notice.

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