March Madness is finally here. Let’s take a look at some of the key prospects for the upcoming NBA Draft.  

Selection Sunday has passed and people are busy filling out their many brackets to tell their coworkers who don’t care about all of the upsets they will inevitably not pick. People who have not cared about college basketball all year are firing up ESPN to learn everything they can about all 68 teams in the Men’s NCAA tournament. March Madness can be overwhelming for a basketball fan, especially if you are just deep diving now. There are men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments happening simultaneously, not to mention the NIT and all the tournaments and postseason opportunities presented to everybody outside of that top 68.

What I am not going to do is break down every matchup and tell you how I can help you pick a perfect bracket. I don’t know anything about this more than you do – I think UConn will probably win back-to-back titles, of course, unless they don’t and one of the other 67 possible teams does. That is what makes this tournament unlike anything else and the greatest sporting event in the world. The chaos, upsets and buzzer-beaters will carry fans around the country through a weekend of non-stop basketball and excitement.

It will also give players an opportunity to play with more eyes on them, making it one of the biggest stages of their careers. Throughout the modern history of the men’s tournament, we have seen players make a name for themselves by putting together extended runs in March against high levels of competition in a chance to impress scouts. There have also been players who have hurt their draft stock with poor performances or disappointingly short runs in the tournament. How important you think the tournament should be weighted within a prospect’s resume is a bit of a draft philosophy question. Still, it is a chance for players who have had inconsistencies to show that they can have sustained success.

Especially in a weaker draft class with no real projected superstars, now more than ever, NBA teams are looking for role players who can contribute right away. Upper-classmen are more prevalent in this draft class than we have seen in years, with a back of the first that is EXTREMELY open. If you look at the leading experts’ big boards and mock drafts, you could get as many as 45 different players that make up the 30-player first round just due to the variance in opinions on potential first-round picks.

That is very good news for a lot of players preparing for March Madness this weekend. Some players can solidify themselves as 2024 prospects with stretches of good games, raising their stock over just a few short weeks. A draft this open means there are players all throughout the tournament who could find their names being called this June. There are plenty of players on the powerhouses like Duke and Kentucky that will be relevant to the NBA but there are also guys at smaller schools who are looking to show they can compete against higher levels of competition.

To kick off March Madness, I have a list of nearly 50 participants who could be NBA prospects either this year or down the road. However, out of respect for your time and mine, I have cut it down to just players that are currently in the top 45 of my big board, AND that I suspect will be in this draft class. There are a few names you will see this weekend that will likely be major players in 2025, should they choose to come back to school for one more year. Other players to watch will be other potential second-round picks who I do not currently have graded in the top 45 but could still be interesting, especially with a longer Cinderella run.

East Region:

Potential Lottery Picks: 2

Potential First Round Picks: 3

The defending champs are the team to beat in the East as they look to repeat, something that has only been done twice in the last four decades. The Huskies have a plethora of high-level prospects on their retooled title contender but the rest of the region is largely devoid of NBA talent. Iowa State, the No. 2 seed, is loaded with talented collegiate players and is playing some of its best basketball of the season but more likely has 2025 prospects if any. Illinois and Auburn round out the third and fourth seeds in this division and both have fun players who could end up in the late second round or better with good showings but do not have any key prospects on their own.

Players to Watch:

Steph Castle, UConn

You can argue that nobody has more to gain from an extended March Madness run than UConn’s star freshman. His projected range is anywhere from 3-16 across all of the major draft coverage platforms, and currently sits at number four on my big board. After setting the record for Big East Freshman of the Week awards, it is clear that very few freshmen players have had an impact on their teams greater than Steph Castle.

Castle came into the season with a lot of hype as a prospect but has completely flipped the projection of what he would be as a player. He came in as a point guard who had shown flashes of high-level scoring chops in high school but instead has become a stud defender and a high-level connector in an off-ball role at Connecticut.

He has been playing his best basketball of the season and has seemingly put it all together at UConn. There is a very legitimate case to be made that Castle has the highest ceiling of any prospect in this class. However, that argument is entirely dependent on believing in his jump shot.

UConn is primed to make a run this year and Castle should be a big part of that. He has shown to be one of the best perimeter defenders in college basketball, taking on the toughest matchup and giving players like Baylor Scheierman a real fight, something not many players can do. He will have his fill of tough defensive matchups in a loaded east region, and if he can do that while shooting at a reasonable 35% clip or so from deep over an extended run, do not be surprised if you start to see Steph Castle’s name in more top-five conversations.

Alex Karaban, UConn

Castle’s teammate is one of the holdovers from UConn’s championship team last season which lost three of its starting five to the NBA. He is a redshirt sophomore and an absolute flame thrower at 6-foot-8. Karaban can shoot the lights out of the gym as a career 40% three-point shooter on nearly five attempts per game over his two years in Connecticut.

Karaban is more than just a shooter, as his passing is an important part of what Connecticut does. He will have an opportunity to highlight that secondary playmaking ability and the offensive versatility that he can provide at the next level. Defensively, there is more to be desired about Karaban as a prospect but his size and positional awareness should allow him to compete at the collegiate level.

At the end of the day, Karaban is arguably the most lethal shooter in the tournament. If he gets hot in a game, people will notice. If he does it for an extended run in the tournament, the world will know. He is projected as an early second, late first type of prospect, but it is easy to see how teams could fall in love with that kind of shooting and offensive production along with the playmaking flashes.

Donovan Clingan, UConn

I have written enough about Clingan, but his stock is currently rising. He is playing his best ball and appears to finally be healthy. The most important thing for Clingan will be to show that he can play extended minutes over the course of a run. The run could also put him in key matchups against stud collegiate big men like Armando Bacot and even a potential finals matchup with Zach Edey.

If Clingan continues his dominance on both sides of the ball, look for him to garner some serious attention going into draft combine season where his injuries will become the major narrative.

Jaxson Robinson, BYU

Robinson is a fairly one-dimensional prospect but at 6-foot-7, the former Texas A&M and Arkansas transfer will have some opportunity to prove himself on No. 6-seeded BYU. He is a good defender but a team will draft him because of his shooting. He only shot 35% from three this year but did it on seven attempts per game and a high degree of difficulty on his shot profile. The tournament is a good opportunity for a player of his variance.

Any player that will shoot 12 threes in a game has the potential to make a name for themself, one way or another. The biggest criticism of Robinson is that he cannot provide offense if the shot is not falling. If BYU has an early exit and he is unable to get going, that could reaffirm that idea, or he could get hot and bring all sorts of eyes to his shooting.

Tucker Devries, Drake

Drake was a trendy upset pick last year against Miami in the 5/12 line last year before Miami went on a Final 4 run. One of the reasons that Drake fell short last year was that Devries, who averaged 19 points a game as a sophomore, struggled mightily and finished with only 3 points. This year, the now 22-point-a-game junior will look to get the monkey off his back in the 7/10 matchup against Washington State.

Devries is a truly elite three-level scorer at the college level, who can score in just about every way imaginable. He is a 36% three-point shooter on over seven attempts a game with an out-of-this-world degree of difficulty and extremely high usage rate. If he gets it going and is scoring off the dribble and out of the pick-and-roll, it will be fun to watch, and a great introduction to the world at large.

Last year, Devries shot 1-13 from the field and 1-11 from beyond the arc, so he has a lot to prove when it comes to doing at this level. If Drake is able to go on a run, he is sure to become a fan favorite, especially after fellow MVC competition Indiana State became a martyr for a questionable selection committee.

Other Names To Keep an Eye On:

Riley Minix, Morehead State

Jaedon Ledee, San Diego State

West Region:

Potential Lottery Picks: 1

Potential First Round Picks: 4

The West is a very interesting region with a lot of variance from top to bottom. It is also the most balanced with prospects up and down the board. There are really interesting potential matchups, especially in the post-littered throughout the region. There is a mix of high-level college players such as Bacot and RJ Davis at North Carolina and Caleb Love at Arizona (formerly UNC) along with players trying to garner more hype for themselves as potential mid- to late-first draft picks.

Players To Watch:

Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor

If you were to ask me which prospect has the most important tournament ahead of him, my answer may very well be Ja’Kobe Walter. He was a high-level prospect who has been marginally disappointing in his time at Baylor depending on your taste. He has shot the ball okay at 34% on six attempts and has some good numbers as a movement shooter, but has not necessarily shown as much on-ball juice as you would have hoped for from a prospect of his caliber.

There looked to be a time early in the college basketball season when Ja’Kobe was starting to put it together and get more comfortable, and it looked like that jump might be there to be a top 5 prospect. Unfortunately, however, he fell off significantly after that and now finds himself most oftentimes in the back end of the lottery to the mid-first range.

He hasn’t been as strong of a defensive prospect as projected, so that is another area where he can prove himself in March. If he can have a run as a true creator and scorer for Baylor, he will be able to flip the script and show why he was such a highly-ranked recruit. If he doesn’t, he could find himself continuing to fall down draft boards and be passed by all of the risers who do take advantage of their opportunities.

Yves Missi, Baylor

You can read more on Missi here! He will have an opportunity to prove his defensive chops in a region with Bacot and the next two listed players as potential matchups.

PJ Hall, Clemson

The senior big man for Clemson averages 19 points and 10 rebounds a game and has shown the ability to pop taking nearly 5 threes a game. His shooting fell off late in the season dropping him to a 31% shooter which is not reflective of the kind of shooter he will be at the next level. There are questions about what his role would be on an NBA team and if he can be a true 5, this tournament gives him an opportunity to answer some of these questions.

Clemson is an underdog against 11-seed New Mexico and will have their work cut out for them. However, if they can go on a run it will be on the back of PJ Hall, and he will likely get Missi in the second round and even potentially Da’Ron Holmes II in the Sweet 16. If Clemson can win those games and he is comfortably scoring on elite post defenders, he could raise his stock to comfortably being in the first round.

Da’Ron Holmes II, Dayton

Holmes surprised people last year when he chose to go back to school instead of entering the draft after testing the waters, but it has proven to be a good decision. He is a much more complete prospect after adding quite a bit of strength in the offseason. He is a great rebounder and extremely versatile defender but still on the skinnier side, so there are some questions about where he fits at the next level.

Holmes II has a unique opportunity to answer the questions asked of him on the fly. While Dayton played a tough schedule, the bulk of their season is still in the A10, where Holmes II plays against a different caliber of big man than those who he would face on a regular basis in the NBA. The NCAA tournament will provide him the chance to go against NBA-bodied bigs like Yves Missi and show that he can compete with them on both sides of the ball.

The junior big man averaged over 20 points a game this year and the Dayton Flyer hopes are on his shoulders. A potential second-round matchup awaits him if he can get past 10-seeded Nevada, and from there, every game would likely be a gauntlet of high-level big men for him to match up with.

Harrison Ingram, North Carolina

Harrison Ingram is a basketball player, it is that simple. The Stanford transfer still has a lot of questions about what his game would look like at the NBA level. I cannot answer all of those questions, but I can say that Harrison Ingram has as big of an impact on a college basketball game as anybody in the country.

He does so many good things on the court, it is hard to miss his presence. He has the expectations of being on a one seed and the expectations of being a North Carolina Tarheel, but he has the chance to become a legend in that state. If they go on a run, it will likely mean that he is making his 3s, as he improved from a 31% three-point shooter over his first two seasons in the Pac-12 to a 37% shooter at UNC. He also is the leading rebounder for the Tarheels since ACC play started, which is especially impressive considering that Bacot is the all-time leader in double-doubles for Carolina.

Other Names To Keep an Eye On:

Tyon Grant-Foster, Grand Canyon

Donovan Dent, New Mexico

South Region:

Potential Lottery Picks: 4

Potential First Round Pick: 9

The South is by far the best region for prospects, with high-level potential prospect matchups up and down the board that would have scouts salivating.  Even without Houston having any top-tier prospects, Duke, Kentucky and Marquette all have multiple likely first-round picks, which makes for a star-studded region. It also helps the star power that Colorado who has a play-in game with a scrappy and underseeded Boise State team, has three potential first-round picks and one definite lottery pick trying to make a run.

Players To Watch:

Cody Williams, Colorado

Cody Williams is as interesting as a prospect as there is in the tournament, and he may not even make the tournament proper. Stuck in the play-in game, the younger brother of rising NBA star Jalen Williams has a real opportunity to legitimatize himself as a top prospect.

The 6′ 8″ wing shot up draft boards throughout the college season ending up in the top three on more than one major analyst’s board. However, the back end of his season has left a lot to be desired. He has been battling with injuries and has not been playing as consistently as he has needed.

He may struggle due to injury, and will still be coming off the bench for the Buffs, but if he is able to have a breakout game against a tough Boise State defense as the only game on TV (tonight at 9:10 EST), the draft world could be set aflame by Williams.

He has long been talked about as one of the highest ceilings in the class and one of the only true two-way wings. He is extremely toolsy with a great physical profile and high-level finishing ability. If he can add sustained production to that profile, he can solidify himself in that top-five range.

Tristan Da Silva, Colorado

Cody Williams is the more hyped prospect for the Buffs but I think Tristan Da Silva is the key to a potential run. If they want to get out of the First Four and have a chance to match up with Marquette in the second round, Da Silva would be extremely important. While he is not their best college player, nor their best prospect, the second-team All-Pac-12 big man is instrumental in what Colorado wants to do offensively.

The 15-point-per-game scorer has increased his volume year after year from the perimeter and shoots 38% from deep on nearly five attempts per game this year, if that shot is falling, he changes the way you guard them since you have to account for his size while still banging with Eddie Lampkin Jr in the paint.

Da Silva just does a lot of good things and is really solid in every way on the court. That is likely not going to change in the tournament, or in the NBA. However, the tournament gives the 6-foot-9 shooter a really nice opportunity to introduce himself to the rest of the world with a high level of passing and shooting with good size.

KJ Simpson, Colorado

The first-team All-Pac-12 guard does not have the positional size that his teammates have that makes them easier to project to the NBA, what he does however is loads of production. As a small guard, averaging five assists per game is still impressive, adding 5 rebounds per game is just ridiculous. Not only does he impact the offense in a lot of different ways but he scores, too — and a lot. He averages 20 points per game on an out-of-this-world 45% 3-point percentage on five attempts per game.

A 6-foot-2 guard who can shoot like that is something that lends itself easily to blowing up in the NCAA tournament if he gets hot. He will have every opportunity to do so with all eyes on the Buffs tonight against Boise State. The Colorado path is loaded with good defenses, so Simpson will have the chance to raise his draft stock with sustained shooting success against them. If they lose in the play-in, it is hard to imagine him earlier than the second round.

Kyle Filipowski, Duke

Kyle Filipowski does not want to be a villain, he just is. Very few players have had a weirder narrative season than Filipowski, the quintessential Duke bad guy who went on a crusade against the danger of court storms, only to trip Ingram a few games later. Since then, he has been on a media tour defending his honor, telling everybody who will listen that he really is just a good kid. Whether that is true or not, people will be watching and rooting against everything Filipowski and Duke do in the tournament.

His range has varied throughout the year from the 10-20 range and I have a hard time imagining that will change. He is a fairly solid big-man prospect, the question at the next level will be if he can shoot on the perimeter. Filipowski showed growth in that area in his sophomore campaign shooting 35% from range on three attempts per game.

Duke, as always, will have more eyes on them than just about any other team in the NCAA tournament. A potential run for the Blue Devils would have to most likely go through Houston in the Sweet 16 just to get to the Elite 8. If they got a matchup like Kentucky in the Elite 8, there is no doubt that NBA scouts would be licking their lips at a chance to watch that one.

Jared McCain, Duke

Even with the disappointing ACC tournament performance, McCain has continued to impress. In the loss to UNC, McCain hit four threes and finished with 19 points with some timely buckets to keep it close. McCain has shown consistently that for Duke to win, he is going to have to hit shots and score some points.

Tyler Kolek, Marquette

Tyler Kolek quite literally has not done anything since the last time I wrote about him. He has been out with an injury and was kept out of the Big East tournament as a precautionary measure. We can only hope that he has fully recovered from his oblique injury and can get back to 100% for a tournament run. While Kam Jones has been awesome and has become a name to watch in Kolek’s absence, it is clear that their title hopes rest on Kolek’s shoulders.

Oso Ighodaro, Marquette

Ighodaro is a unique big man who brings a lot of intriguing qualities. He is an explosive athlete who is a really good screener and an even better finisher. This puts him in a fairly traditional rim-running role on offense, except he is an elite passer out of the high post.

He has averaged over 3 assists over his junior and senior campaigns and is an extremely innovative creator out of handoffs in the ways that he can create space for scorers. The passing may lead you to believe he can play on the perimeter and space, which is certainly not true; Ighodaro has taken a pair of threes in his four-year career at Marquette and has not made either.

Offensively, I think the feel and passing parlayed with the high-level finishing ability make a very interesting big-man prospect for the second round. The concern, however, is if Ighodaro will be able to guard fives at the next level, something he has struggled with at the college level, largely due to a lack of strength.

Ighodaro likely won’t be able to raise his draft stock much but if Marquette goes on an extended March Madness run and he shows he can guard in the post well at this level, it will not hurt his chances, and he would most definitely have a couple of highlights along the way.

Reed Sheppard, Kentucky

Reed Sheppard has interestingly become the top-ranked prospect at Kentucky. That’s interesting because he is there with a loaded freshman class that includes three top-10-ranked prospects coming out of high school. The 79th-ranked prospect and son of former Kentucky Wildcat Jeff Sheppard has absolutely skyrocketed up big boards and mock drafts alike.

The basis of the case for Sheppard is a high-floor, can’t-miss kind of guard prospect. It is not just because he is deceptively athletic and a cerebral high IQ basketball player either. Sheppard has put up absolutely gaudy defensive numbers that can only be compared production-wise to a select few such as Jrue Holiday.

Players like Jrue Holiday and Derrick White are most often the comparisons for Sheppard, and while he doesn’t have their size, neither of those players shot a nuclear 52% from three-point land on four attempts per game. Sheppard has continued to grow into his role at Kentucky and will have a chance to show that in the tournament.

In the last five games, Sheppard has scored 27 points twice, including a flame-throwing seven three-point game against a very tough Tennessee defense. If Sheppard gets hot like that in the tournament, everybody will be talking.

Rob Dillingham, Kentucky

Rob Dillingham is another Kentucky Wildcat prospect who has skyrocketed up draft boards this year, and he is another one who did not start at the top of the projections. He is as dynamic of a scorer as you are going to find in college basketball. He can get buckets in every way imaginable, just a high-level shot-maker.

The 6-foot-2 guard shot 45% from three on 4.5 attempts per game but also gets to the rim and finishes at an impressively high rate given his size. He is crafty and creative offensively and will always try to put on a show, which makes for the best kind of player in March.

We have seen him turn it on and get it going when he needs such as his 27-point game in their SEC tournament loss to Texas A&M. However, we have also seen games where he has not been able to get it going, and if that happens in the tournament, that could be rough for Kentucky.

The bigger question about Dillingham is on defense. We have seen him be attacked and played off the court, such as Kentucky’s game against Gonzaga. If that happens in the NCAA tournament, will NBA teams start to question him at such a high draft pick? Or will the offense be so tantalizing that Dillingham’s top 5 projections will sustain through June?

Justin Edwards, Kentucky

Unlike Sheppard and Dillingham who have worked their way up to top 5/10 prestige with their collegiate play, Edwards did start out there. The third ranked prospect coming out of high school, the 6-foot-7 wing came into Lexington with nothing but expectations and potential.

Edwards fell hard and fell quickly off of draft boards once he got to Kentucky. The lack of feel was apparent and the on-ball juice was not there in the way that people would have hoped given his body and athleticism.

While Edwards will likely never achieve the success or even rankings that he had coming out of high school, he has adapted and become a productive part of Kentucky’s identity. Edwards has become a consistent three-point shooter during SEC play as well as guarding the primary options on other teams. The tournament will provide an opportunity for Edward to show his defensive chops and continue to hit shots as he attempts to work his way back into the first round on draft boards.

Midwest Region:

Potential Lottery Picks: 1

Potential First Round Picks: 6

The Midwest region is full of teams with one or two prospects that will be facing a lot of attention for the defense. It will be very interesting for these players, and their teams, to see how they will adjust. If you key in on stopping Zach Edey or Dalton Knecht, will the rest of Purdue or Tennessee be able to make you pay? That is the question a lot of teams will be asking themselves as they prepare for those teams.

Players To Watch:

Zach Edey, Purdue

The back-to-back Naismith player of the year is a 7-foot-4 behemoth and I do not have much to say beyond that. Of all the players in the tournament, there is likely nobody whose tournament performance means less. We already saw Edey lose to a No. 16 seed. It cannot get any worse than that, right?

For his sake, the vindication that would come from an extended tournament run, or even championship after last year’s embarrassment would have to be fulfilling, but it would not change his draft stock. Edey has proved his passing chops and ability to pass out of a double team, but he cannot make guys hit shots.

Last year’s upset was not on Edey’s shoulders as his teammates could not make shots and his coach could not make an adjustment. However, he was the face of the team and is again this year, so another disappointing upset would be a stamp on disappointing postseasons for one of the greatest players in modern college basketball history.

We already saw the discourse on the officiating during the Big 10 tournament, and I expect that to be a continued narrative for however long as Purdue is in the tournament.

Johnny Furphy, Kansas

Johnny Furphy came on like gangbusters once he was given an opportunity and added to the starting lineup. However, he stagnated after that and was not able to show that success over a longer sample size, nor in bigger opportunity with the injury to Kevin McCullar Jr.

Without McCullar, Kansas’ success will largely reside on Furphy’s shoulders, and with his three-point shooting. There are no expectations for Kansas anymore, who were already struggling before this disappointing update. Furphy can only raise his stock and show he is ready and a real deal 2024 prospect, if they lose to Samford as many are projecting, it becomes a more complicated question on whether Furphy will enter the draft.

Kevin McCullar Jr., Kansas

The worst thing that could have happened for a player with a checkered injury history is a sustained injury over the most important part of the season, leading to being sidelined for all of March. That is what happened to the exciting upperclassman at Kansas. He will no longer have an opportunity to prove that he can play through the injury and now just has to hope that the medical reports during draft season are not too bad. It is an absolute travesty of a way to end the career of an amazing college career.

Collin Murray-Boyles, South Carolina

One of the most divisive players in this draft class, and also one of the biggest risers. It remains to be seen if CMB will be in this draft class, but I would be surprised if he isn’t if he has a good tournament. He is one of the more unique big man prospects in the class given the fact that he is 6-foot-7 and took five threes over the course of his freshman season at South Carolina.

The undersized big man gets comparisons from All-NBA players like Julius Randle on offense and All-Defense players like Bam Adebayo on defense. Not that comparisons are 100% accurate but you cannot tell me that reading that does not get you a little excited.

He is a high-level athlete who is borderline freakily strong at his size which allows him to guard up at the college level, but the quickness allows him to switch and defend in space. Defensively, he is a prototypical modern NBA big which is why some draft analysts are falling in love with the versatility. He is a super smart defender compounded with his tools and physique, you get one of the best defenders in the draft class with high-level steal and block percentages as a help-side rim protector.

He has shown that he can go toe to toe with anyone defensively on the perimeter, which is remarkably impressive for his size. They have a tough 6/11 matchup with a hot Oregon team and Kwame Evans Jr., but if they can get out of the first round, there are some tantalizing matchups for CMB. Getting switched onto the likes of Dalton Knecht, Baylor Scheierman and Trey Alexander will be all the evidence he needs to show he can guard at the next level.

Offensively, he may not shoot but that does not mean he does not score. He averaged 18 points a game at South Carolina, yet most of the country has not started talking about him yet. That might change this weekend if he has a big performance and solidifies what has been an impressive rise for his draft stock.

Kwame Evans Jr., Oregon

Evans is very similar to Murray-Boyles in a lot of ways as a prospect, just with a lot less production. CMB is in a great context for both offensive and defensive production, whereas Evans gets 21 minutes a game and under 6 shot attempts. He is a high-level passer with a great feel that can shine in flashes, but the production opportunities may not be there.

He is an interesting case study on production versus projection, and while I still believe in Kwame Evans as a prospect, I have a hard time imagining enough output in the tournament to make a difference. He reached double figures just four times throughout Pac-12 play starting in late December.

Evans likely will not be a star of the tournament, but as he has all year, makes the most of his opportunities with high-level defense, passing and doing the little things.

Baylor Scheierman, Creighton

I have talked about a few high-level shooters in this draft class, but none may be better than the 5th year South Dakota State transfer. Scheierman took eight triples per game and made 37% of them on an obscenely difficult shot diet in one of the best conferences in college basketball.

Scheierman can and will shoot in every way imaginable, and that is fun to watch. If I had to bet, I would say that no matter how long Creighton is in the tournament, Scheierman will have at least one wildly impressive three-pointer to set the college basketball world on fire.

Shooting isn’t the only thing that Scheierman can do, he can dribble and pass as well. However, the shooting at 6-foot-7 is what will appeal to NBA teams and why at least one of them will likely take a shot on him in the late first, early second round.

The big question for Scheierman is the defense, and if he can hold up on that end during a sustained March Madness run for the Blue Jays, it might make a major difference in how he is viewed as a prospect. He really has a chance to impress teams and Creighton is a real threat to make a run.

Trey Alexander, Creighton

Trey Alexander had an interesting year after testing the waters last year. He returned to school and got a bigger role with higher usage in his junior campaign. He nearly doubled his assist numbers from a year ago, along with adding an additional 1.5 rebounds a game and increasing his points per game from 13 to 17 a night. However, with that increased usage, his efficiency went down with shooting the ball.

As a sophomore, he shot 41% from deep, but only shot 32% from three this year on high volume. If you believe in the shooting, it likely directly impacts how you feel about Alexander as a prospect. All of the indicators are positive and he is a good free-throw shooter, so I am inclined to believe the three-point shooting will be good, not great.

However, Alexander does everything else at a high level. He is super smooth and crafty with the ball in his hands and is a table setter for the rest of his teammates at Creighton, including Scheierman and Ryan Kalkbrenner, two of the best in college basketball at their respective positions. He is a great passer who controls the flow of the offense, and we have seen him have double-doubles against high-level opponents like Marquette.

I expect Alexander to perform at that level on both sides of the ball. His freakish length for a guard makes him a good defender and that is likely to translate to the NBA. I do not think he will show anything that teams wouldn’t expect from him but Creighton will go as far as he takes them.

He is capable of going on a run simply by doing what he has done all year. They are a dangerous team and that is in large part because of him, and that is something that Purdue and Tennessee should be scared of.

Dalton Knecht, Tennessee

I have written about Knecht a couple of times and he has only improved since each article. His story is simple, he can flat-out score the basketball. While you can question the sustainability of such a heliocentric offense fully built around Knecht’s ability to score, you cannot question his ability to score.

Rick Barnes has challenged Knecht publicly to be more of a distributor and passer but that is not in his nature. He is a fine passer, but a pass from Knecht will rarely be as good of a choice as a shot. The 5th year senior averaged 21 points a game but took 15 shots, six of which come from beyond the arc. He shot 39% from three on a healthy 6 attempts per game.

The 6-foot-6 former JuCo prospect is honest about the inspiration he takes for his game from Kevin Durant. It shows. He is a three-level scorer who is fearless on every offensive possession. It is easy to imagine that player taking the world by storm, especially if he has a 40-point game like he did against Kentucky two weeks ago. He has one of the best stories in college basketball and his explosive offense will almost definitely make him a mid-first-round pick at the worst, no matter what happens.

Other Names To Keep an Eye On:

Anton Watson, Gonzaga

Dillon Mitchell, Texas

Enjoy March Madness responsibly. We sleep in May.