High Post Hoops staff selects NCAA tournament players to watch

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 11: Bella Alarie #31 of the Princeton Tigers smiles after a basket drops for the Tigers during the first quarter at The Palestra on March 11, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Princeton defeated Penn 63-34. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 11: Bella Alarie #31 of the Princeton Tigers smiles after a basket drops for the Tigers during the first quarter at The Palestra on March 11, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Princeton defeated Penn 63-34. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /
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PRINCETON, NJ – JANUARY 05: Princeton Tigers guard/forward Bella Alarie (31) shoots the ball during the second half of the college basketball game between the Penn Quakers and Princeton Tigers on January 5, 2019 at Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, NJ (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PRINCETON, NJ – JANUARY 05: Princeton Tigers guard/forward Bella Alarie (31) shoots the ball during the second half of the college basketball game between the Penn Quakers and Princeton Tigers on January 5, 2019 at Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, NJ (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Bella Alarie, Princeton

I fear that not enough is being made of the player that Bella Alarie’s become for the Princeton Tigers, heading to their second straight NCAA tournament on the strength of Alarie’s do-everything game.

She is frequently compared to Elena Delle Donne, which is both what will happen to players who feature guard skills and the ability to play inside for at least a generation and, in this case, extremely relevant. Let’s compare Alarie’s junior year, courtesy of HerHoopStats, to Delle Donne’s senior season at Delaware (no advanced stats available for her junior season, alas). Better field goal percentage from two? Alarie. Better rebounding rate? Alarie. Blocks per game? Alarie. Assist rate: Alarie. Delle Donne holds the edge on efficiency from three and the free throw line, but think about this: Alarie’s game compares favorably to probably the best season anyone put up in recent college hoops history, and it is her junior season.

I chuckled when I asked Harvard coach Kathy Delaney Smith about Alarie, who Smith recruited, and Smith joked that she “cried when she chose Princeton”. It isn’t any wonder why. Alarie is a difference-maker in the Ivy the likes of which we haven’t seen since Allison Feaster. Incidentally, Feaster had a long, successful career in the WNBA, and Alarie will, too.

She’s talented, she’s relentless, and she plays the game with such evident joy, be sure you don’t miss her so when she stars in the WNBA, you can be a hipster and coolly proclaim you saw her back in college, before she was on Fatheads and national commercials. You know, like Elena Delle Donne. — Howard Megdal

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