There are plenty of reasons to watch the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, but for many people it’s to get a look at the future stars who will grace an NBA court in the next year or two. While the NBA draft is an inexact science, you can bet that the following ten players will make an impact in the NBA some day.
Marvin Bagley III, Duke
6’11” forward who will more than likely be in the top three in this year’s NBA draft. Originally from Phoenix, he finished his senior year of high school at Sierra Canyon in the LA area. Bagley can run the floor and shoot extremely well for a big man and will be a key to Duke making noise in the tournament.
Deandre Ayton, Arizona
The seven-footer from the Bahamas is likely to be the top pick in the NBA draft after just one year in Tucson. He was the focus of ESPN’s (unsubstantiated) report that Arizona head coach Sean Miller was caught on the phone talking about a $100,000 payment to him. The controversy hasn’t seem to have affected Ayton’s play.
You think Deandre Ayton is playing with some extra anger tonight? My goodness pic.twitter.com/xHsQAAo2TX
— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) February 25, 2018
Jalen Brunson, Villanova
He’s the son of former Temple, NBA and NBL (Adelaide 36ers) player Rick and is a finalist for the Naismith award as player of the year. The 6’3” guard already has an NCAA title and is leading Villanova towards a second.
Devonte Graham, Kansas
The player of the year in the Big 12 conference has been the key to another successful Kansas season. Graham has been even more important down the stretch with big man Udoka Azubike out with injury.
Impossible to defend. Impossible. Devonte’ Graham with an incredible shot down stretch to lift #RockChalk over #Wreckem #Big12MBB #KUvsTTU @Heartland_CS pic.twitter.com/BjB6xzCGMl — Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) February 24, 2018
Miles Bridges, Michigan State
The rare star whose coach says needs to be ‘more selfish,’ the 6’7” wingman hasn’t quite lived up to incredibly high pre-season expectations. But he’s super talented and a key to the Spartans’ post-season hopes.
Grayson Allen, Duke
Aka the ‘punk for Duke who’s always tripping dudes.’ He’s been around for four years, is super athletic and can hit the big three when the Blue Devils need it.
Grayson Allen was called for a Flagrant 1 for an intentional hip check: pic.twitter.com/wjCqHlcMOG
— ESPN (@espn) March 10, 2018
Mike Daum, South Dakota State (team already eliminated)
He’s a 6’9”, 114 kg big man nicknamed ‘The Dauminator,’ who can shoot from the outside, and averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds per game. He’s gone from an unheralded kid from a tiny town in Nebraska to a genuine NBA prospect.
Collin Sexton, Alabama
The closest thing to a March Madness folk hero, Sexton has been a one man show, leading Alabama off the ‘bubble’ and into the tournament. He’s a 6’3” guard who has worked tirelessly to turn himself from a lowly-regarded high school player into a potential high draft choice.
Michael Porter Jr, Missouri
The #1 high school recruit of the year in 2017 moved from Missouri to Washington when his Dad was hired as an assistant to Lorenzo Romar at Washington. But after Romar got fired, Porter signed with Missouri. He missed most of the season with a back injury but is a 6’10” star in the making.
Trae Young, Oklahoma (team already eliminated)
Oklahoma was lucky to get a bid and they’re one and done, much like Young. He started the season as the most-hyped player in college basketball as the Sooners ran out to a 12-1 record and was so good that some (silly) pundits started calling him ‘the next Steph Curry.’ Since then, both Young and the Sooners have struggled, but he still led the nation in scoring at 27.4 ppg.