Congratulations. Today is the beginning of March Madness and there are some serious Christmas Day vibes floating around. It's a thrilling time to be a basketball fan and while the NCAA tournament is a thrilling time for the sport of basketball, we need to have ourselves a little talk about something serious. Yes, that's right boys and girls...draft season IS HEATING UP. If you've been following Backcourt Violation since the renaissance era, you might have noticed that we've done an article with this same type of focus before. Do you know what that means? Yes, that's right...this makes our second annual "NBA Draft Guide to March Madness." It's an exciting time to have the NCAA tournament back in our lives after the no-go last year.
Now before we do this...let's go over the ground rules. In our first year of doing the annual Draft Guide for March Madness, we broke down each game in the first round and allowed you to figure out the rest as the tournament went on. After numerous discussions with top scientists around the world, it was realized that there was a better way to provide you with such elite information. This year, we will be listing every team by seed and then breaking down the notable 2021 Draft Players for that team. Yes, some might say we should have gone just in alphabetical order but if you're new here...you should realize we don't always like doing what everyone else "would" do. Now my goal here is not to be a complete scrooge okay? So if I pay some respect to the "cinderella stories" in this article, I don't need DMs from fans saying that a certain player doesn't have a shot at the NBA. Let's give these kids the respect they deserve because you never know when an NBA team might just find a diamond in the rough. Let's get started.
Players to Watch: Jalen Suggs (G), Corey Kispert (F), Joel Ayayi (G), Drew Timme (F)
Analysis: There's no denying it folks. This Gonzaga Bulldogs team is an absolute WAGON. When we are talking about draft prospects, it starts with Jalen Suggs. A potential Top 3 selection in the 2021 draft, Suggs has an impressive ability to score at multiple levels. The 6'4" freshman could start knocking on the door of being a top 2 selection in June with a deep tourney run. Suggs is producing across the board, averaging 14.3 PTS, 5.5 REB, 4.5 AST, and 2.0 STL for the Bulldogs. Corey Kispert is another player that could hear his name in the lottery. Kispert was looking like a late first-round pick last year before deciding to return to Spokane for another year of seasoning. Kispert has been sensational this year and has the floor spacing and basketball IQ that NBA teams desire passionately these days. Joel Ayayi is another name to keep an eye on. Ayayi has some good size for a wing at 6'5" and could intrigue teams as a prospect somewhere in the early second round. Don't sleep on Drew Timme as well. The Zags big man has some shiftiness to his game and he could be a player who climbs draft boards if the Zags make a run in Indianapolis like so many of us are expecting them to do.
Players to Watch: Jared Butler (G), Davion Mitchell (G)
Analysis: Baylor will be on the hunt in this tournament as well, but they are going to be a juicy team to watch when it comes to a pair of 2021 NBA Draft Prospects. Baylor has a backcourt that gives opposing teams nightmares. It starts with Jared Butler who has some sneaky appeal as a potential late lottery pick. Butler was looking like an enticing late first-round selection last year before he decided to return for another year at Baylor. It's been a sensational decision, as Butler has impressed especially when it comes to his developing outside game. Butler is averaging 17.1 PPG while shooting 42.9% from 3 heading into the tournament. The other name to keep an eye on is Davion Mitchell, who has been heating up when it comes to his 2021 draft stock. Mitchell has seen a big rise in his production across the board in comparison to his sophomore year and he could be a player who climbs up boards in a hurry if Baylor makes a run at this thing. Mitchell is averaging 14.1 PPG while shooting 51.5% from the field and 46.2% from 3.
Players to Watch: Franz Wagner (F), Isaiah Livers (F)*, Hunter Dickinson (C)
Analysis: This Michigan team has been one of the more pleasant surprises in college basketball this year. Franz Wagner is the cream of the crop here. Wagner has been impressive this year and can do a bit of everything. The 6'9 Sophomore out of Germany could climb as high as the top 10 if he has himself a successful tournament for Michigan. It doesn't seem like we are going to get any Isaiah Livers in the tournament which is an extreme buzzkill. If you haven't seen Livers play, just imagine a potential sleeper in the draft that you would sign a deal with the devil for your NBA team to get their hands on. Livers is expected to miss the tournament with a stress fracture in his foot. In the middle of the paint, you'll notice Hunter Dickinson making an impact on both sides of the floor. Dickinson is a 7'1" 255-pound freshman for Michigan and he could become an intriguing draft option in the second round. A prospect like Dickinson could return to see if he can see his draft stock spike, but you never know.
Players to Watch: Ayo Dosunmu (G), Kofi Cockburn (F)
Analysis: Illinois finds itself as the "final" 1 seed for the NCAA tournament but they have one of the most exciting players in Indianapolis. It's going to be fascinating to see what Ayo Dosunmu can do for the Fighting Illini in Indy. Dosunmu decided to return to college hoops for his junior year and it was basically a celebration for draft fanatics. Dosunmu has all of the tools you would want for a potential NBA guard but evaluators were patiently waiting for his outside shot to come around. It looks as if that time has finally come. Dosunmu is currently averaging 20.7 PTS, 6.3 REB, 5.3 AST, and shooting 38.7% from downtown. If that 3p% doesn't impress you, just a reminder that Ayo shot 29.6% from deep last year. Kofi Cockburn is the other name to keep an eye on for this Illinois roster. Cockburn could use a deep tourney run to improve his draft stock. He's been one of the more underrated players in college basketball this year, averaging 17.6 PTS, 9.6 REB, and 1.2 BLK on 65.5% from the field.
Players to Watch: Luka Garza (C), Joe Wieskamp (F)
Analysis: If you're a college basketball fan then you should be more than familiar with the legend of Luka Garza. The big man has been an absolute machine for Iowa over the years and it will be fascinating to see how far Garza and the Hawkeyes can go in the tourney. There's still plenty of discussion as to how Garza would fit in the modern NBA, but some organization is definitely going to take a swing on his talent. Outside of Garza, keep an eye on an intriguing second-rounder in Joe Wieskamp. The 6'6" junior can light it up from outside (47.3% from 3) and is averaging 14.7 PTS and 6.6 REB for Iowa.
Players to Watch: Herbert Jones (F), John Petty Jr (G), Joshua Primo (G)
Analysis: Alabama comes into the tournament on a bit of a heater and there are some fascinating Draft prospects on this squad. Herbert Jones has been a sizzling name in draft circles as of late and his play has really started to come alive during the second half of the collegiate season. The versatile senior forward has good size at 6'8" and can do a bit of everything as a player. In Alabama's last game against LSU, Jones posted 13 PTS, 11 REB, 6 AST, and 4 BLK. Another key player to keep an eye on for the Crimson Tide is John Petty Jr. Another senior, Petty Jr decided to return to Bama for another year of development. His numbers haven't taken off as many scouts hoped for, but Petty is a player who can get hot and carry Bama. He's definitely a player who could benefit from a big run in the tournament. Keep your eyes on freshman guard Joshua Primo as well. The 6'6" Primo might not be a 2021 draft prospect, but he's definitely someone you should keep your eyes on for the future.
(2) OHIO STATE
Players to Watch: E.J. Liddell (F)
Analysis: Ohio State has been a powerhouse of a team this year despite not having any "big named" draft prospects. Honestly, it's more fun to see that a team has come together and is just simply a monster to deal with regardless of not having a hyped prospect. Still, here's a name to watch out for when it comes to the Buckeyes...E.J. Liddell. Still just a sophomore, Liddell is putting up some good numbers for Ohio State. Standing at 6'7" 240 pounds, Liddell is averaging 15.9 PTS and 6.4 REB while shooting 46.5% from the field in just 29.1 MIN.
Players to Watch: Quentin Grimes (G)
Analysis: While many of you might have forgotten this name, he has been on draft radars for years. Quentin Grimes was formerly a well-known recruit for the Kansas Jayhawks before that experiment just simply didn't work. After transferring to Houston, Grimes has found his home and has been impressive during his time with the Cougars. The 6'5" guard is in his junior year and is currently averaging 18.0 PPG while shooting 40.8% from 3. Grimes will be motivated to carry Houston and make sure that the basketball world hasn't forgotten about what he can do on the court.
Players to Watch: Marcus Garrett (G), Ochai Agbaji (G), Jalen Wilson (F)
Analysis: This Kansas squad has had to deal with COVID-19 complications before the tournament so there's no knowing who is going to be "active" come game day, but let's just assume everyone has the green light. Ochai Agbaji is the name to keep an eye on in this one. He's the leading scorer for the Jayhawks at 14.2 PPG and he can fill up the scoring column in a hurry. Jalen Wilson is the wildcard here. Wilson can take over a game if he gets in a rhythm but he needs to show more consistency. Only a freshman, Wilson could become a prospect to keep an eye on beyond this year's draft. Senior guard Marcus Garrett also deserves some attention for the Jayhawks. the 6'5" guard could definitely hear his name sometime in the second round if he has himself a solid showing.
Players to Watch: Kai Jones (F), Greg Brown (F)
Analysis: It feels right to have a nasty team lead by Shaka Smart as one of the contenders in the NCAA tournament. Texas has themselves a pair of bigs that could easily become top-20 selections come June. Kai Jones is the one that will get the most attention. Jones has intrigued talent evaluators throughout the year with his ability to space the floor and play above the rim. Jones could be a rim-running monster at the next level and could creep up towards the top 10 in the draft with a successful tournament for the Longhorns. The other name to keep a lookout for is Greg Brown. A highly touted recruit out of high school, Brown shows some serious flashes of NBA potential, but the consistency has been lacking. Brown is a player who could take leaps forward on draft boards if he starts to click during the tournament.
Players to Watch: Moses Moody (G)
Analysis: If you haven't had a chance to watch Arkansas wing Moses Moody this year then buckle up. The 19-year-old freshman has great size for a wing at 6'8" and pairs that size with a smooth shooting stroke from outside. It's a bit frightening watching Moody because you start to wonder if there's just a serious amount of untapped potential waiting to be unlocked with his game. Don't let the 3P% scare you away (38.9%) Moody can light it up from deep. As of now, it'd be a surprise if he didn't hear his name somewhere in the early lottery.
(3) WEST VIRGINIA
Players to Watch: Miles McBride (G)
Analysis: West Virginia always seems to have themselves a scrappy guard who can do it on both sides of the ball and that's just what Miles McBride is. Only a sophomore, McBride is just a flat-out gamer. It will be interesting to see if McBride decides to declare for the 21 class, as he could improve his stock potentially by returning for another year, but he has the ability to make an impact on both sides of the ball. McBride is averaging 15.4 PTS, 4.7 AST, 1.8 STL, and is shooting 39.2% from 3.
Players to Watch: Trey Murphy III (F), Jay Huff (C)
Analysis: Virginia will always be a team to keep a lookout for but they won't have any "big names" when it comes to 2021 draft prospects. Trey Murphy III is a name to watch for. The 6'9" junior is putting up some eye-opening numbers when it comes to his shooting splits. Murphy is shooting 50.5% from the field, 42.9% from 3, and 92.7% from the free throw line. The other prospect that deserves some recognition is big man Jay Huff. The 7'1" Senior is a monster inside and is averaging 13.1 PTS and 7.1 REB as well as 2.6 BLK.
(4) FLORIDA STATE
Players to Watch: Scottie Barnes (F), RaiQuan Gray (F)
Analysis: Dear Draft Fans, watch Scottie Barnes as much as you can throughout this entire tournament. Barnes is one of those prospects that the more you watch, the more you're intrigued. He won't light up the scoring column, but he can do a bit of everything and he's a monster on defense. Barnes could trend towards a top-5 selection with an impressive tournament. RaiQuan Gray is another name to keep an eye on. The 6'8" junior is a force at 260 pounds but he has some sneaky athleticism to his game. On the year, Gray is averaging 12.0 PTS, 6.5 REB, and 1.4 STL for the Seminoles.
Players to Watch: Trevion Williams (F), Jaden Ivey (G)
Analysis: Purdue will be an interesting team to keep an eye on. Trevion Williams can rebound the crap out of the ball and he makes a living on the offensive glass. At 6'10" and 265 pounds, Williams will be active and hard to miss. He's averaging 15.6 PTS and 9.0 REB for the Boilermakers this year. Keep an eye on freshman Jaden Ivey as well. The 6'4" guard will most likely be a prospect to keep an eye on down the road but he's averaging 11.8 PTS for Purdue and you never know what the magic of the NCAA tournament can do to some of these kids.
(4) OKLAHOMA STATE
Players to Watch: Cade Cunningham (G)
Analysis: This shouldn't be much of a surprise. The whole basketball world will be watching to see just how far Cade Cunningham can carry Oklahoma State in this tournament. Cunningham is the HEAVY favorite to be the number one overall selection in the 2021 draft and it doesn't take long to see why. At 6'8" with the ability to dominate on both sides of the ball, Cunningham has the tools to become a future superstar at the next level.
Players to Watch: Marcus Zegarowski (G)
Analysis: If Creighton has a shot to get to the sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament, it's going to be because of the play of crafty guard Marcus Zegarowski. The 6'2" junior has been the engine that makes this team run, averaging 15.5 PTS, 3.7 REB, and 4.3 AST for the Bluejays this year. As of now, Zegarowski looks to be a late second-rounder if he were to declare for the '21 draft.
Players to Watch: McKinley Wright IV (G), Jabari Walker (F)
Analysis: Colorado will be an interesting team to keep an eye on and senior guard Mckinley Wright IV can light it up at any time. At 6'0", McKinley is a bit undersized for a modern-day guard but he can take over games when he gets it going. As a draft prospect, Wright IV most likely is looking like a potential two-way option. Another name to keep an eye on for the future is Jabari Walker. The freshman forward has good size at 6'8" and looks like a name to keep an eye on for the future.
Players to Watch: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (F), Justin Moore (G)
Analysis: Villanova finds itself limping into the tournament, after losing one of their key pieces in veteran guard Collin Gillespie. While Gillespie would have been a fun player to see during March Madness, there are still some intriguing draft prospects to keep a close eye on. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is one of the leaders in the clubhouse for "player who will get drafted too low and potentially play 10 years in the NBA". Yes, that's a real thing. Robinson-Earl is a crafty forward who just makes smart plays and understands the game on both sides of the ball. Keep an eye on Justin Moore too. The 6'4" sophomore has the potential to fill up the scoring column in a hurry.
Players to Watch: Keon Johnson (F), Jaden Springer (G), Yves Pons (F), Josiah-Jordan James (F)
Analysis: This team is going to be a juicy one when it comes to NBA Draft prospects. Keon Johnson is the belle of the ball here. Johnson is an explosive wing who looks to have some SERIOUS upside at the NBA level. He's a sure bet to be selected somewhere in the Top 10 of the NBA draft and can get after it on both sides of the ball. Jaden Springer is also looking like a first-round selection as well. Springer stands out with his feel for the game and basketball IQ, but evaluators will have some questions about how his robotic shooting form translates at the next level. Yves Pons is one of the "veterans" on this roster and he can be a sneaky player to keep an eye on for the Volunteers. Josiah-Jordan James is another prospect to monitor. His numbers won't stand out but he can get after it defensively and is one to watch for the future.
Players to Watch: Evan Mobley (F)
Analysis: Right outside of Oklahoma State freshman Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley has been one of the top prospects to watch in college basketball this year. Mobley is a unicorn. He's got great size at 7'0" but moves like a guard and can handle the rock with ease. NBA fans and basketball fans worldwide will be rooting for USC just so they can get to see Mobley as much as possible. If not for Cunningham, Mobley would most likely be the first overall pick in the 2021 draft. He can get after it on both sides of the ball at an extremely high level.
Players to Watch: Alex Barcello (G)
Analysis: This BYU team is a lot tougher than most expect, and Gonzaga Mark Few made sure that the nation understood that after Gonzaga's tough win over BYU recently. While the team might not have any eye-opening draft prospects this year, Alex Barcello is the engine that makes this team run. The senior guard is averaging 15.9 PTS, 4.7 REB, and 4.5 ASt for the Cougars this year.
(6) TEXAS TECH
Players to Watch: Terrence Shannon Jr (F), Mac McClung (G)
Analysis: Texas Tech is always a ferocious opponent come tourney time. This Tech team looks no different. Terrence Shannon Jr will have the attention of scouts. The 6'6" sophomore has shown plenty of flashes throughout the year but still needs to become a more consistent producer. Shannon has some scary bounce and will intrigue NBA teams with his untapped potential. Mac McClung has been a huge piece for the Red Raiders this year. The junior guard is a bit undersized, and will most likely return for his senior year, but he's a fun player to keep an eye on.
(6) SAN DIEGO STATE
Players to Watch: Matt Mitchell (G), Jordan Schakel (G)
Analysis: The Aztecs will have a couple of scorers on the wings that you should pay close attention to. The first is Matt Mitchell who is a 6'6" wing that leads the team in scoring at 15.4 PPG. The Senior also averages 5.5 REB and 1.5 STL for the Aztecs. Jordan Schakel is another senior to watch closely. Although he could be a name that is destined for the G-League (nothing wrong with that), his shooting splits are too impressive to ignore. Schakel is averaging 14.3 PPG while shooting 47.9% from the field, 90.8% from the free throw line, and 46.7% from 3.
Players to Watch: Chris Duarte (G)
Analysis: NBA draft fans have started to circle Chris Duarte like a bunch of sharks swimming in the ocean. Duarte is a tough guard with good size who looks like a potential sleeper in the 2021 class. Duarte is putting up big numbers for the Ducks, averaging 16.7 PPG while shooting 52.4% from the field, 41.7% from 3, and 83.7% from the free throw line.
Players to Watch: James Bouknight (G)
Analysis: This is one of the top prospects who can make some serious noise in this tournament and see his stock skyrocket. James Bouknight decided to return to UConn for his sophomore year and it was the perfect decision. The 6'5" guard has a fantastic feel for the game and can score at multiple levels with the best of them. On the year, Bouknight is averaging 19.0 PPG and 5.7 REB. Don't let the 30.4% from downtown fool you, Bouknight is a bucket getter. He's looking like a potential mid to late lottery selection as of now.
Players to Watch: Tre Mann (G), Scottie Lewis (G)
Analysis: Two intriguing prospects on this Florida Gators team. First off is Tre Mann, who is starting to see his draft stock heat up at the perfect time of the year. Mann has been on fire as of late, in his last 4 games he's averaging 23.5 PPG for the Gators. The 6'5" sophomore could see his stock soar if the Gators could rattle off a couple of wins. Scottie Lewis is another prospect to keep an eye on. Lewis has the tools and athleticism to become an asset at the NBA level, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but scouts and evaluators have been waiting for Lewis to show some more consistency.
Players to Watch: Amir Simms
Analysis: A senior gets the nod as one of our players to keep an eye on for the Clemson Tigers. Amir Simms has put up some respectable numbers for the Tigers, averaging 13.3 PTS and 6.3 REB while shooting 51.7% from the floor.
Players to Watch: Austin Reaves (G)
Analysis: The leading scorer on this Oklahoma Sooners team is senior guard Austin Reaves and he's going to be a big part of the Sooners chances to make a tourney run. Reaves has good size at 6'5" for a wing and can fill up the box scores quickly. On the year, Reaves is averaging 17.7 PTS, 5.7 REB, 4.7 AST, and is shooting 43.4% from the field.
Players to Watch: Cameron Thomas (G), Trendon Watford (F)
Analysis: LSU will feature one of the more exciting scorers in all of college basketball this year in guard Cameron Thomas. The freshman guard has good size at 6'4" and he can score with the best of them. Thomas makes LSU one of the more dangerous teams in the tournament just because of his ability to get in "NBA Jam On Fire" mode. As a draft prospect Thomas will have NBA teams smitten on his potential as a microwave scorer but it would go a long way if Thomas could tease some other aspects of his game in which he can make developmental strides. Thomas is averaging 22.6 PPG for the Tigers this year. Trendon Watford is a name to get familiar with, as he could have some intriguing second-round in the 2021 class. The sophomore forward is averaging 16.7 PTS and 7.4 REB for LSU this year.
(8) NORTH CAROLINA
Players to Watch: Day'Ron Sharpe (C)
Analysis: The freshman big man for North Carolina is a load inside at 6'11" 265 pounds. Personally, the more I watch Day'Ron Sharpe the more I become a fan. The touch around the rim and feel for the game for Sharpe will leave you extremely intrigued. He's also a vastly underrated passer. Sharpe is averaging 9.7 PTS and 7.8 REB for the Tar Heels in just 19.2 MIN this year. As of now, Sharpe looks like an intriguing big man addition somewhere at the end of the first round.
(8) LOYOLA CHICAGO
Players to Watch: Cameron Krutwig (C)
Analysis: While Loyola might not have any big-name draft prospects for the 2021 class, Cameron Krutwig deserves some love. The Senior big man does a bit of everything for the Ramblers, averaging 15.0 PTS, 6.7 REB, 3.0 AST, and 1.2 BLK while shooting 57.9% from the field.
Players to Watch: Xavier Pinson (G)
Analysis: Missouri will have a couple of scrappy guards in their backcourt but I'll be interested to see what junior guard Xavier Pinson can do for the Tigers. Pinson has had some issues with consistency, but he can get hot in a hurry. In his last 4 games, the 6'2" guard is averaging 14.8 PTS, while shooting 43.5% from 3.
(9) ST. BONAVENTURE
Players to Watch: Osun Osunniyi (F)
Analysis: The Bonnies are back in the tournament and I'll have my attention on junior forward Osun Osunniyi. Despite having a legendary name, the 6'10" forward has some eye-opening numbers when it comes to production. Osunniyi is averaging 10.5 PTS, 9.5 REB, and 2.9 BLK for the year.
Players to Watch: Micah Potter (F)
Analysis: This Wisconsin team is a bit of a scrappy bunch, but keep an eye on Micah Potter. The senior forward has good size at 6'10" and can step out and has the floor spacing ability to be a threat from outside. Potter is averaging 12.8 PPG while shooting 37.5% from 3 this year.
(9) GEORGIA TECH
Players to Watch: Moses Wright (F), Jose Alvarado (G)
Analysis: It was going to be exciting to see what Moses Wright could do for Georgia Tech but it sounds as if he's going to be out for at least the first round due to COVID-19. Georgia Tech has some players that can score in bunches, and senior guard Jose Alvarado is going to have to pick up the slack with Wright out. Alvarado is averaging 15.3 PPG while pitching in 3.5 REB, 4.1 AST, and an eye-opening 3.0 STL for the Yellow Jackets.
Players to Watch: Nah'Shon "Bones" Hyland (G)
Analysis: If you haven't had a chance to watch Nah'Shon Hyland then boy are you in for a treat. "Bones" has been an underrated and fascinating guard to watch throughout the collegiate basketball year. He's been a thrilling player to watch and he has some swagger to his game for sure. As of now, Bones is looking like a guard who could do in the late teens/the early 20s of the 2021 draft. On the year, Hyland is averaging 19.5 PTS, 4.7 REB, and 1.9 STL while shooting 37.1% from 3.
Players to Watch: Donta Scott (F), Aaron Wiggins (F)
Analysis: It Will be interesting to see what sophomore forward Donta Scott can do for the Terps in this one. At 6'7" 225 pounds, Scott has some intriguing size and his game took a nice leap forward from his freshman year. Scott is currently averaging 10.9 PTS and 6.1 REB while shooting 43.4% from 3. Junior guard Aaron Wiggins is another name to keep an eye on. His game has continued to take strides forward each year and he has put up some big performances in the past.
(10) VIRGINIA TECH
Players to Watch: Keve Aluma (F)
Analysis: The leading scorer for the Hokies is junior forward Keve Aluma and he's got some intrigue to his game. After averaging 6.9 PTS as a sophomore, Aluma has seen his production skyrocket across the board. The 6'9" 235-pound forward is averaging 15.6 PTS, 8.0 REB, and 1.3 BLK while shooting 35.1% from 3.
Players to Watch: Ron Harper Jr (F)
Analysis: It Will be extremely fascinating to see what Ron Harper Jr can do for Rutgers in the tournament. If you haven't been following college hoops this year, Harper Jr has turned some heads with his big-play ability and outside shooting. The draft stock has cooled off a bit when it comes to Harper, but he's still someone that you need to keep in mind moving forward. The 6'6" junior is currently averaged 15.4 PTS and has the ability to get hot from outside.
(11) WICHITA STATE
Players to Watch: Tyson Etienne (G)
Analysis: Sophomore guard Tyson Etienne is going to get some love here for the Wichita State Shockers. At 6'2" 200 pounds, Etienne has a solid frame for a guard but the impressive thing about his game is the jump in his production from his freshman year. After averaging 9.4 PPG last year, Etienne is now up to 17.0 PPG and is shooting 39.9% from deep.
Players to Watch: Joseph Yesufu (G)
Analysis: Now we are starting to get CRAZY when it comes to the prospects. How about Joseph Yesufu a sophomore guard who has started to put together some impressive performances for the Drake Bulldogs. Yesufu is averaging 18.5 PPG in his last 4 games for the Bulldogs.
(11) MICHIGAN ST
Players to Watch: Aaron Henry (G)
Analysis: Michigan State has been a team that has clawed their way to be able to be in this tournament, and they will be on display during the play-in game against UCLA. One of the names you should make sure to keep an eye on is wing Aaron Henry. The crafty left-handed junior has the potential to be a serious defensive asset at the NBA level. He's got good size at 6'6" and his basketball IQ and feel for the game stand out. Henry would be a much more coveted prospect if the outside shot was more consistent (currently shooting 28.2% from 3). Still, he's the type of prospect that teams would jump at trying to add his intangibles as a potential rotational asset.
Players to Watch: Johnny Juzang (G)
Analysis: Another contender for one of the best names in the entire tournament. Johnny Juzang has picked up the slack for the Bruins when Chris Smith went down with an early season-ending injury. Juzang is a 6'6" sophomore who has seen his PPG jump from 2.9 his freshman year to currently 14.0. Juzang has the ability to stretch the floor and is currently shooting 91.5% from the free throw line.
Players to Watch: Quincy Guerrier (F)
Analysis: An intriguing name to keep an eye on for Syracuse is 6'7" sophomore forward Quincy Gerrier. After averaging just 6.9 PTS as a freshman, Guerrier has seen his game take off this year, posting 14.4 PTS and 8.8 REB per game for the Orange.
(11) UTAH STATE
Players to Watch: Neemias Queta (C)
Analysis: The big man in the paint has been a name to monitor on draft boards over the last couple of years. Neemias Queta has the ability to take over games with his impact on both sides of the floor. In the Mountain West Championship Semifinals against Colorado State, he went on to have 18 PTS, 14 REB, and 9 BLK. Yes, you read that correctly. The 7'0" 245 big man is a load for opposing teams to deal with. It will be fascinating to see what Queta can do against Texas Tech in the first round of the tournament.
Players to Watch: JaQuori McLaughlin (G)
Analysis: Yes, we are going to give the upperclassmen as much respect as we possibly can folks. Upperclassmen deserve respect too. Insert senior guard JaQuori McLaughlin who is currently leading the Gauchos in points per game at 16.2. McLaughlin is a 6'4" guard who can score from all over the floor, as well as show some ability on the defensive side of the ball (1.2 SPG). If UCSB is going to upset Creighton in the first round, McLaughlin is going to be a big reason why.
Players to Watch: Qudus Wahab (C)
Analysis: Georgetown made an incredible run in the Big East in order to get themselves in the big dance, now they have to see if they can carry that momentum towards an upset in the first round against Colorado. Keep an eye on sophomore big man Qudus Wahab. At 6'11" 237 pounds, Wahab is a mountain of a man and is coming off of a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) performance against Creighton.
Players to Watch: Chandler Vaudrin (G)
Analysis: If Winthrop is going to have any chance of an upset against Villanova in the first round, then Chandler Vaudrin is going to have to be lights out. The 6'7" senior guard has the ability to fill up box scores in a HURRY. In fact, in his last 4 games, Vaudrin is averaging 11.8 PTS, 9.5 REB, and 7.3 AST for the Eagles.
(12) OREGON STATE
Players to Watch: Ethan Thompson (G)
Analysis: The Beavers will lean on senior guard Ethan Thompson to try and upset Tennessee in the first round. Thompson has been a solid scorer for the Beavers throughout the course of his collegiate career and is currently averaging 13.6 PTS, 4.0 REB, and 3.4 AST for Oregon State.
Players to Watch: Jason Preston (G)
Analysis: This is the wildcard you want to watch out for Draft fans. Ohio is going to be an underrated team to keep your eye on as a potential upset special going up against Virginia. If the Bobcats are able to shock the world, it's going to be because of the play of Jason Preston who has become a darling sleeper with draft fanatics throughout the year. Preston can flat-out play and he has a sensational feel for the game. Still just a junior, it wouldn't be much of a surprise if Preston decided to stay another year and improve his resume before heading into the NBA draft. He's going to be a fun player to watch though. Preston is currently averaging 16.6 PTS, 6.8 REB, 7.2 AST and is shooting 40.8% from 3.
(13) UNC GREENSBORO
Players to Watch: Isaiah Miller (G)
Analysis: The UNC Greensboro Spartans have themselves a bucket getter and his name is Isaiah Miller. The 6'0" senior guard can put up some big numbers in a hurry for the Spartans, including the Socon Championship in which Miller posted 25 PTS, 12 REB, and 6 AST in a win over Mercer. Miller will be the player to watch for this team as he's averaging 19.3 PPG on the year.
(13) NORTH TEXAS
Players to Watch: Javion Hamlet (G)
Analysis: Keep an eye on upperclassmen and 6'4" guard Javion Hamlet for the Mean Green. Hamlet has had a nice year for North Texas, averaging 16.8 PPG. What's more impressive is his shooting splits despite carrying the load offensively. Hamlet is posting 43.4/36.2/87.5 numbers when it comes to shooting and is also pitching in 3.3 REB and 4.5 AST per game.
Players to Watch: Blake Preston (F), Darius McGhee (G)
Analysis: Two players getting some respect here for the Liberty Flames. Sophomore Blake Preston is a bit of an "underrated" prospect to keep an eye on. The 6'9" forward is averaging 8.9 PTS and 6.4 REB for Liberty this year as well as shooting 63.2% from the field. Another name to monitor is junior guard Darius McGhee who has become the bucket getter for this Liberty squad. McGhee is averaging 15.6 PPG this year while posting 45.8/41.3/84.8 shooting splits.
(14) EASTERN WASHINGTON
Players to Watch: Tanner Groves (F)
Analysis: If you haven't seen Tanner Groves then you might be convinced he was starring in Semi-Pro. On a serious note, Groves has some game at 6'9" 235 pounds. The junior forward is averaging 16.4 PTS and 8.1 REB per game and plays with his heart on his sleeve.
(14) ABILENE CHRISTIAN
Players to Watch: Kolton Kohl (C)
Analysis: Abilene Christian has a big man presence that deserves your attention. Kolton Kohl is a mammoth of a man at 7'0" 240 pounds. The senior is averaging 12.3 PPG while shooting 54.2% from the field. Kohl will have plenty of work cut out for himself in the opening round matchup against Texas.
Players to Watch: Jordan Burns (G)
Analysis: If there's one player to keep an eye on when it comes to the Colgate Raiders it would be senior guard Jordan Burns. The 6'0" guard has had a productive collegiate career including this year in which Burns is averaging 17.0 PTS, 4.4 REB, and 5.4 AST for the Raiders. Burns is also posting 40.8/41.5/89.6 shooting splits for Colgate.
(14) MOREHEAD STATE
Players to Watch: Johni Broome (F)
Analysis: The one to watch for Morehead State is freshman forward Johni Broome. At 6'10" 235 pounds, Broome has the measurables you're looking for and his production has been impressive this year as well. In 25.6 MIN, Broome is averaging 13.9 PTS, 9.0 REB, and 1.8 BLK. His last performance was an eye-opener as well in the OVC Championship against Belmont where he would finish with 27 PTS, 12 REB, and 2 BLK.
(15) GRAND CANYON
Players to Watch: Asbjorn Midtgaard (C)
Analysis: Grand Canyon is always a fun squad as they seem to have their program on the rise in a hurry. Keep an eye on Asbjorn Midtgaard. The Denmark product is putting up some big numbers for the Antelopes, including 14.0 PTS, 9.9 REB, and 1.3 BLK while shooting 70.6 % from the field.
Players to Watch: Isaiah Ross (G)
Analysis: The leading scorer for the Iona Gaels is Isaiah Ross and he can put up some big scoring numbers in a hurry, including a recent 31-point performance against Monmouth. Ross is a senior and has good size at 6'4" 200 pounds. He's averaging 18.4 PTS on the year while shooting 40.8% from deep.
(15) ORAL ROBERTS
Players to Watch: Max Abmas (G)
Analysis: You want to talk about a player who can absolutely take over a basketball game? Then sophomore guard Max Abmas is your guy. After averaging 14.5 PPG as a freshman, Abmas is currently averaging 24.2 PPG while shooting 43.3% from deep. March Madness is a magical place and you never know what can happen when your leading guard gets hot from outside.
(15) CLEVELAND STATE
Players to Watch: Torrey Patton (G)
Analysis: Another senior gets the nod for a player that deserves your attention on Cleveland State. As mentioned earlier, upperclassmen deserve your respect. Torrey Patton is the one I'm keeping an eye on in this one. Patton has good size at 6'5" and has seen improvements in his game over the course of his career at Cleveland State. He's currently averaging 14.9 PTS and 8.0 REB per game and is coming off of a 23-point, 10-rebound performance in the Horizon League Championship.
(16) NORFOLK STATE
Players to Watch: Devante Carter (G), Joe Bryant Jr. (G)
Analysis: A pair of guards will take the spotlight for this Norfolk State team that went 16-7 on the year. Keep an eye on senior guard Devante Carter. The 6'3" guard leads the Spartans in scoring at 15.5 PPG. Joe Bryant Jr is another guard for the Spartans to keep an eye on. The junior is averaging 11.6 PPG and is one of the better shooters on this Spartans team statistically (39.1% from 3).
(16) APPALACHIAN STATE
Players to Watch: Adrian Delph (G), Michael Almonacy (G)
Analysis: Appalachian State has a number of talented guards on their roster, but here are two that you should keep an eye on. Junior guard Adrian Delph leads the Mountaineers in scoring at 13.2 PPG and he's coming off of a recent 22 point outing. The other that deserves some recognition is Michael Almonacy. This 6'0" senior guard can light up the scoring column as well and had 32 points in the Mountaineer's last game.
(16) MOUNT ST.MARY'S
Players to Watch: Damian Chong Qui (G), Nana Opoku (F)
Analysis: Don't let the lack of size fool you when it comes to 5'8" guard Damian Chong Qui, the junior can light it up in a hurry for the Mountaineers. Qui is the leading scorer for Mount St. Mary's at 15.1 PPG, but can a bit of everything as he's also averaging 4.2 REB and 5.5 AST. The other name to keep an eye on is Nana Opoku here. Opoku is a 6'9" junior who is averaging 10.3 PTS, 7.0 REB, and 2.0 BLK for the Mountaineers.
(16) TEXAS SOUTHERN
Players to Watch: Michael Weathers (G), John Walker III (F), Joirdon Karl Nicholas (F)
Analysis: This Texas Southern team scores in bunches so they will be an exciting 16 seed to watch for sure. Senior guard Michael Weathers leads the way for the Tigers. Weathers leads the team in scoring at 16.5 PPG and has a nose for the ball on the defensive side of the ball as well, averaging 2.2 SPG. A pair of junior forward requires your attention as well. John Walker III is second on the team in scoring at 12.0 PPG but also leads the team in FG% at 59.9. The other name to keep an eye on is Joirdon Karl Nicholas who leads the Tigers in BLK (1.2) and REB (7.0).
Players to Watch: Austin Williams (G), Miroslav Stafl (F)
Analysis: Senior Guard Austin Williams leads the way for Hartford and he can light up the scoring column in a hurry. On the year, Williams is averaging 14.8 PPG for the Hartford Hawks and has good size at 6'4" 200 pounds. Keep a lookout as well on sophomore forward Miroslav Stafl. The Czech Republic product has some good size at 6'10" 235 and has continued to make strides in his game, averaging 10.4 PTS and 5.6 REB in 26.1 MIN.
Players to Watch: Camren Wynter (G), James Butler (F)
Analysis: Camren Wynter comes into this one as the leading scorer for the Drexel Dragons and he's one to keep a close eye on. The 6'2" junior is averaging 16.8 PPG while shooting 42.5% from 3 this year. Senior forward James Butler is the man on the glass inside for the Dragons, averaging 12.9 PTS and 9.2 REB. T.J. Bickerstaff is an intriguing prospect. The third-leading scorer on the team at 10.6 PPG, Bickerstaff is a 6'9" sophomore who could be a wildcard for this Drexel team.