32 males’s basketball gamers who might develop into breakout stars of the postseason

32 males’s basketball gamers who might develop into breakout stars of the postseason
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Right now a 12 months in the past, few individuals exterior the Massive 12 knew about Markquis Nowell. The 5-foot-8 level guard was a key participant for Kansas State, however he hadn’t performed significantly nicely in a number of the group’s greatest video games and struggled in his group’s first-round loss to TCU within the Massive 12 event.

After which, the NCAA event started. By the point Kansas State received to its Elite Eight matchup towards Florida Atlantic, Nowell — who then had 30 factors in a Wildcats loss — had develop into a must-see participant. That is how shortly every little thing can change within the faculty basketball postseason.

Whereas this common season failed to supply many fireworks, that gives an even bigger alternative for gamers to have breakout performances in March and revel in a number of the consideration Nowell and others attracted final season.

So, Jeff Borzello, John Gasaway and Myron Medcalf are right here to supply their takes on the gamers in every league who might seize the second and develop into stars within the postseason.

American Athletic Convention

Johnell Davis, Florida Atlantic Owls
The nation ought to already be acquainted with Davis, who starred on FAU’s Ultimate 4 group final season — and he is even higher this season, hitting the 30-point mark 3 times. He practically single handedly took down Arizona again in December, going for 35 factors, and bailed FAU out with 34 in a win towards UTSA in January. He is carried out on the largest stage, has improved as a shooter, and he has the arrogance to take — and make — huge pictures.

Honorable point out: David Jones, Memphis Tigers
Say what you need about Memphis’ efficiency in AAC play, however the Tigers have gained seven of 9 and nonetheless have extra expertise than another group within the league. Plus, Jones, who ranks sixth within the nation in scoring, and teammate Jahvon Quinerly, have a historical past of hitting game-winners. — Borzello

America East Convention

Quinton Mincey, UMass Lowell River Hawks
Certain, Vermont’s the favourite within the America East Convention, and rightly so. However Mincey is without doubt one of the hardest gamers to defend within the league. The senior’s coming off an 18-point efficiency on the street at Vermont and is averaging 22 over his 4 most up-to-date outings. Whereas the 6-7 Mincey retains opponents trustworthy along with his 3-point vary, he inflicts most of his injury contained in the arc.

Honorable point out: Aaron Deloney, Vermont Catamounts
Mincey could have scored 18 towards Vermont, however Deloney rang up a career-high 33 in that very same sport. — Gasaway

Atlantic Coast Convention

RJ Davis, North Carolina Tar Heels
As one half of the best partnership in faculty basketball together with girlfriend Deja Kelly, the North Carolina girls’s star, Davis has been probably the most electrical gamers within the ACC. His numbers have been spectacular — however he is additionally the chief of a faculty with a legacy of elite level guard play in March. Shammond Williams, Ed Cota, Raymond Felton, Joel Berry and others have starred for UNC within the postseason. Davis is provided to hitch that group (once more) two years after serving to the Tar Heels attain the nationwide title sport.

Honorable point out: Judah Mintz, Syracuse Orange
Throughout his group’s current 5-1 rally in a six-game stretch, Mintz –a 6-4 guard — averaged 20.8 PPG for a Cuse group that received sizzling late within the season.— Medcalf

Atlantic Solar Convention

Jalen Blackmon, Stetson Hatters
The league’s high scorer is nice sufficient to hold Stetson to an NCAA event bid. He can get sizzling from behind the arc, end contained in the lane and is computerized from the free-throw line. Blackmon has scored no less than 30 factors on 4 separate events, together with 36 in a win over Jacksonville within the penultimate sport of the season. He is averaging higher than 21 factors and taking pictures practically 40% from 3-point vary.

Honorable point out: Isaiah Cozart, Japanese Kentucky Colonels
Cozart is one of the best participant on the league’s regular-season champion. He is a double-double machine who’s additionally an elite shot-blocker; his two-way potential could possibly be a difference-maker within the league tourney.— Borzello

Atlantic 10 Convention

DaRon Holmes II, Dayton Flyers
Holmes is a well-known presence in 2024 conversations about All-American and even nationwide POY honors. The 6-10 junior has launched constant 3-point taking pictures to his sport, and remains to be connecting on 60% or extra of his 2-point tries. Holmes has moreover recorded 4 or extra assists seven instances this season. Anthony Grant’s main scorer is a multi-dimensional star.

Honorable point out: Jordan King, Richmond Spiders
After starring at Siena (the place he started as a walk-on) and East Tennessee State, King powers a near-zero-turnover Spiders offense that hits its pictures.— Gasaway

Massive 12 Convention

Jamal Shead, Houston Cougars
On Saturday, Jamal Shead missed a layup at Oklahoma within the remaining seconds of additional time, however he stayed targeted, grabbed a unfastened ball and nailed an off-balance shot to win the sport for the Cougars, probably the most dominant groups within the nation. He is the chief for Kelvin Sampson’s crew. On each ends of the ground, Shead (2.3 SPG) can change a sport in his group’s favor.

Honorable point out: Kevin McCullar Jr., Kansas Jayhawks
As Kansas makes an attempt to place itself again collectively once more after a late-season slide, the return of Kevin McCullar Jr. (19.1 PPG) from a knee damage — assuming he stays wholesome — will increase the percentages that the Jayhawks can appear to be a contender by Choice Sunday. — Medcalf

Massive East Convention

Cam Spencer, UConn Huskies
This one would possibly go towards the grain a little bit bit, since Tristen Newton and even Donovan Clingan usually tend to earn headlines coming into the postseason — however Spencer is the guts and soul of this group. The Huskies additionally want him to play nicely in the event that they wish to minimize down the nets. He is averaging 15.9 factors and taking pictures 47.7% from 3 in wins, however simply 5.7 factors and 14.3% from 3 in losses.

Honorable point out: Tyler Kolek, Marquette Golden Eagles
Kolek is coping with an indirect damage, however he is been one of many premier level guards within the nation for 2 seasons in a row — and had an eight-game stretch in Massive East play the place he averaged 20.6 factors and 9.4 assists. He narrowly will get the nod over Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman. — Borzello

Massive Sky Convention

Saint Thomas, Northern Colorado Bears
Thomas arrived at Northern Colorado by means of Loyola Chicago, the place he made 5 begins over two seasons however largely got here off the bench in help of the Ramblers’ main scorers. Then he signed with the Bears, who had simply misplaced their very own main scorer Dalton Knecht to Tennessee. Thomas is averaging a 20-10 double-double on the season and lately added eight assists to twenty-eight factors and 12 boards in a win over Idaho State.

Honorable point out: Dillon Jones, Weber State Wildcats
Jones is a pure scorer who, at 6-6, occurs to be one of many nation’s finest defensive rebounders as nicely. — Gasaway

Massive South Convention

Drew Pember, UNC Asheville Bulldogs
Pember is a unicorn. This season, he has six video games with 20 factors and no less than 4 3-pointers. That is sufficient to make any participant in faculty basketball a star. Pember (20.4 PPG, 37% from past the arc) is 6-11. A breakout effort within the postseason might make him a family identify in March.

Honorable point out: Duke Miles, Excessive Level Panthers
Miles has hit his stride once more after lacking three video games on account of an undisclosed damage in January. He is scored 20 factors or extra in 10 video games this season. — Medcalf

Massive Ten Convention

Zach Edey, Purdue Boilermakers
Can we actually select anybody apart from the man about to win his second consecutive Wood Award? Edey is much more dominant than final season, rating second nationally in scoring and third nationally in rebounds, blocking extra pictures and ending extra effectively across the rim. He is scored 30-plus six instances in Massive Ten play. The hole between him and everybody else within the Participant of the 12 months race is wider than ever — and Purdue is not dropping to a 16-seed once more.

Honorable point out: Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois Preventing Illini
When Shannon will get going, it looks as if he can will his group to a win. He was an All-American via the primary month of the season and is returning to type, averaging 26.4 factors in his final seven video games. — Borzello

Massive West Convention

Elijah Pepper, UC Davis Aggies
Pepper’s been the main scorer at UC Davis since earlier than Ezra Manjon left to play at Vanderbilt. That was in 2022. Pepper’s been at this for some time. The Aggies’ all-time main scorer is computerized (91%) on the line and at all times discovering methods to contribute on either side of the ball. When Pepper’s not dropping 30 factors on Hawaii, he is recording seven steals towards Cal State Northridge.

Honorable point out: Justin Hohn, UC Irvine Anteaters
As the first perimeter risk on an interior-oriented offense, Hohn is vital in creating the house the Anteaters want to attain within the paint. — Gasaway

Coastal Athletic Affiliation

Tyler Thomas, Hofstra Delight
Thomas has led a turnaround for a Hofstra squad that began 4-4 in league play however went 8-2 in its final 10 video games. Thomas, a 6-3 guard, averaged 22.3 PPG throughout these convention video games. He is comfy as a hero. Final season, Thomas hit the game-winner in Hofstra’s first-round upset of Rutgers within the NIT. This 12 months, he is an all-CAA candidate.

Honorable point out: Ante Brzovic, Charleston Cougars
The 6-10 ahead has been a key piece for a Charleston squad that gained the CAA’s regular-season title. — Medcalf

Convention USA

Isaiah Crawford, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Crawford, a fifth-year senior from Texas, is ending the common season on a tear. He is scored no less than 19 factors in every of his final 4 video games, averaging 20.8 factors and seven.8 rebounds over that span, taking pictures 40% from 3. He is taken his sport to a brand new stage in convention play, which has coincided with Tech profitable 11 of its final 13 video games. He additionally went for twenty-four towards a very good New Mexico group in November.

Honorable point out: KyKy Tandy, Jacksonville State Gamecocks
It is laborious to see Jacksonville State making a run, however Ray Harper is a terrific event coach — and Tandy is essentially the most explosive participant within the convention. The previous Xavier switch has scored 20 factors 11 instances this season. — Borzello

Horizon League

DJ Burns, Youngstown State Penguins
For 4 seasons Burns performed supporting roles at Southern and Murray State. He fills the same want at YSU, solely now he is a dominant rebounder who makes 59% of his 2s. For the primary time in 5 seasons throughout three applications, the 6-7 Burns has additionally been given a inexperienced mild from exterior. If not for his 31% 3-point taking pictures numbers, his effectivity numbers could be much more spectacular than they already are.

Honorable point out: Brandon Noel, Wright State Raiders
Noel’s 3-point accuracy has taken a leap ahead in his sophomore season. He is connecting 45% of the time from past the arc towards Horizon opponents. — Gasaway

Ivy League

Xaivian Lee, Princeton Tigers
A 12 months in the past, Lee was a reserve who barely performed on a group that reached the Candy 16. This 12 months, he is the star of a Tigers group that leads the nation in turnover proportion (12.2%). Lee (17.9 PPG) could lead on Princeton again to the second weekend.

Honorable point out: Danny Wolf, Yale Bulldogs
Wolf (14.4 PPG, 9.8 RPG), a seven-footer, helped Yale seize a slice of the Ivy League regular-season title, which it shared with Princeton. — Medcalf

Metro Atlantic Athletic Convention

Mervin James, Rider Broncs
One might make the case that Rider is enjoying one of the best basketball of anybody within the MAAC over the previous couple of weeks, profitable six in a row. And James has been one of the best participant within the league over that span, scoring no less than 20 factors in 5 straight video games, averaging 22.8 factors and three.6 assists. He leads the league in scoring and likewise put up 28 towards Maryland again in November.

Honorable point out: Matt Balanc, Quinnipiac Bobcats
Quinnipiac is again on observe for a league title, bouncing again from a four-game dropping streak with two straight wins — and Balanc is the Bobcats’ key man. He is second within the league in scoring and simply had 26 towards Siena. — Borzello

Mid-American Convention

Enrique Freeman, Akron Zips
Should you desire the old-school “pay your dues, do not switch” mannequin of hoops, Freeman’s your man. As a first-year participant with the Zips in 2019-20, he totaled 13 minutes and three factors for the complete season. Now the 6-7 senior is the main scorer on an Akron group hoping to make its second journey to the NCAA event in three years. Freeman is No. 1 within the nation for defensive rebound proportion at KenPom.

Honorable point out: Tyler Cochran, Toledo Rockets
Rating among the many MAC’s leaders for interior-oriented stats like defensive rebounding fee and 2-point accuracy, the 6-2 Cochran performs a lot bigger than his listed top. — Gasaway

Mid-Japanese Athletic Convention

Jamarii Thomas, Norfolk State Spartans
In his group’s final seven video games coming into this week, Norfolk State completed 6-1 as Thomas registered 27 assists (and 15 turnovers). He has additionally linked on 39% of his 3-point makes an attempt this season and helped Norfolk State keep an ideal convention file at dwelling with two video games to play. It has been a easy transition for the UNC-Wilmington switch.

Honorable point out: Fred Cleveland Jr., North Carolina Central Eagles
With Cleveland (15.3 PPG, 5.6 APG) enjoying level guard, LeVelle Moton’s squad leads the convention in turnover proportion in league play, per KenPom. — Medcalf

Missouri Valley Convention

Tucker DeVries, Drake Bulldogs
The son of Drake’s head coach, DeVries is flat-out probably the most explosive scorers within the nation. He completed the common season with 39 factors and 29 factors in back-to-back video games and has scored 25 or extra factors 12 instances this season. He has nice dimension for the wing, is a 35% 3-point shooter — and he additionally went for 22 in final 12 months’s MVC title sport. DeVries needs to be at his finest for Drake to take down Indiana State within the MVC tourney.

Honorable point out: Robbie Avila, Indiana State Sycamores
Just lately nicknamed “Cream Abdul-Jabbar” on social media, Avila has introduced Indiana State basketball extra consideration than it has gotten since Larry Chicken was in Terre Haute. The 6-10 dimension, the goggles, the unimaginable taking pictures and passing potential — he is constructed for a nationwide breakout. — Borzello

Mountain West Convention

Jaedon LeDee, San Diego State Aztecs
Give LeDee credit score for endurance. He made 4 begins throughout 117 video games in 4 seasons at TCU and San Diego State earlier than coming into his personal this 12 months because the Aztecs’ featured scorer. LeDee went off for 27 factors within the first sport of the season towards Cal State Fullerton, and the 6-9 senior’s been on a roll ever since. He is drawing an virtually Edey-like 7.5 fouls per 40 minutes.

Honorable point out: Nice Osobor, Utah State Aggies
Montana State switch Osobor is enjoying simply in addition to he did final 12 months. This time, nonetheless, he is starring for a projected No. 7 seed. — Gasaway

Northeast Convention

Jordan Derkack, Merrimack Warriors
Merrimack is lastly eligible for the NCAA event a 12 months after it defeated Fairleigh Dickinson within the league’s event title sport however watched Fairleigh Dickinson symbolize the league and upset top-seed Purdue within the first spherical. Derkack (17.7 PPG), a 6-4 guard, could possibly be Merrimack’s first NCAA event hero after it accomplished the NCAA-mandated four-year transition to Division I athletics.

Honorable point out: Nico Galette, Sacred Coronary heart Pioneers
Galette, a 6-6 ahead, anchored a Sacred Coronary heart squad that had a 4-1 file in its final 5 video games coming into the convention event. — Medcalf

Ohio Valley Convention

Jordan Sears, UT Martin Skyhawks
UT-Martin, which gained seven in a row to finish the common season, performs an extremely entertaining model of basketball, pushing the tempo on the quickest tempo within the league and making lots of 3-pointers. Sears is on the coronary heart of that system. He is a 5-11 guard who completed the common season with no less than 31 factors in three of his final 5 video games. Sears leads the league in scoring and ranks third in assists.

Honorable point out: Riley Minix, Morehead State Eagles
Minix is averaging 24 factors and 11.9 rebounds over his final 10 video games. — Borzello

Pac-12 Convention

Caleb Love, Arizona Wildcats
Anybody who noticed Love’s 28-point tour de drive for North Carolina towards Duke within the 2022 Ultimate 4 knew what he was able to. Now the 6-4 senior’s having one of the best season of his profession at Arizona. It is not difficult. Love’s taking pictures extra usually and extra precisely than ever earlier than.

Honorable point out: KJ Simpson, Colorado Buffaloes
Simpson’s 3s are falling at a spectacular clip. He willed CU to a win at USC with 30 factors on six 3s together with eight assists. — Gasaway

Patriot League

Braeden Smith, Colgate Raiders
Smith (12.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.9 SPG) fueled Colgate’s dominant run to the Patriot League regular-season title, which it gained by six video games. Certain, something can occur in March. However a loss within the convention event by Colgate and Co. could be one of many nation’s biggest upsets.

Honorable point out: Keegan Information, Colgate Raiders
Information (11.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG), Smith’s teammate, completed with 17 factors and 13 rebounds in a four-point loss to Syracuse earlier this season. — Medcalf

Southeastern Convention

Dalton Knecht, Tennessee Volunteers
If Zach Edey did not exist, Knecht could be the favourite to win the Wood Award. He is been, by far, the nation’s finest switch, placing forth a number of the season’s really elite particular person performances — together with 39 factors towards Auburn final week, 39 towards Florida in January and 37 towards North Carolina again in November. He is practically unimaginable to cease, given his 6-6 dimension, 40% 3-point taking pictures and talent to attain via contact and make contested pictures.

Honorable point out: Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard, Kentucky Wildcats
I can not choose simply half of John Calipari’s dominant freshman duo. Dillingham is without doubt one of the nation’s most fun gamers with the ball in his arms, whereas Sheppard has game-changing potential at each ends of the ground. — Borzello

Southern Convention

Achor Achor, Samford Bulldogs
Few gamers have as excessive a per-minute impression as Achor, who is restricted solely by his enjoying time. Too many whistles are a constant concern for the 6-9 junior, who has picked up a fourth foul on 10 events this season. When he is on the ground, nonetheless, Achor is scoring within the paint, drawing fouls in his personal proper, distributing the ball and blocking and altering pictures.

Honorable point out: Mikeal Brown-Jones, UNC Greensboro Spartans
The Spartans gave a a lot bigger position to Brown-Jones this season, and the 6-8 senior has responded by hitting pictures from either side of the arc. — Gasaway

Southland Convention

Shahada Wells, McNeese Cowboys
Boasting one of many highest NET rankings (56th) amongst mid-major applications, McNeese State has a resume that features a win over VCU. Wells (39% from the 3-point line), a TCU switch, has been the catalyst for a program that has misplaced only one sport since Nov. 22, whereas kicking off Will Wade’s comeback tour with a run to the Southland common season crown.

Honorable point out: Christian Shumate, McNeese Cowboys
Pound-for-pound, Shumate (12.1 PPG, 9.6 RPG), a 6-6 ahead, is without doubt one of the finest submit gamers in America. — Medcalf

Southwestern Athletic Convention

PJ Henry, Texas Southern Tigers
After averaging 12.6 factors within the first 12 video games of the season, Henry has been one of many SWAC’s finest gamers — and is the primary cause Texas Southern has gained eight of its final 10 video games. Over his final 11 video games, Henry has hit the 20-point mark six instances and is averaging 18.5 factors per sport and is taking pictures practically 38% from behind the arc. He is the important thing to Texas Southern profitable its fourth straight convention event title.

Honorable point out: Tra’Michael Moton, Grambling Tigers
After scoring in double-figures simply 4 instances within the first 14 video games of the season, Moton has reached that quantity 11 instances within the final two months for the league’s first-place group. — Borzello

Summit League

Zeke Mayo, South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Mayo is on a roll heading into the Summit event. In street wins at North Dakota and North Dakota State, the 6-4 junior poured in 45 factors on eight 3s and even added 5 steals. The Jackrabbits have gained seven of eight thanks partially to the factors Mayo places on the board, whether or not via assists or his personal pictures.

Honorable point out: Jamar Brown, Kansas Metropolis Roos
Brown’s 3s aren’t falling, however 60% taking pictures contained in the arc in Summit play has helped energy the Roos to a six-game win streak. — Gasaway

Solar Belt Convention

Terrence Edwards Jr., James Madison Dukes
After opening the season with a street win over Michigan State, James Madison loved a stretch on the bubble. A trio of league losses modified these prospects, however the group nonetheless completed the common season on a 10-game profitable streak with Edwards (17.7 PPG, 37% from past the arc) main the way in which.

Honorable point out: TreVon Spillers, Appalachian State Mountaineers
In a pair of wins over James Madison that helped Appalachian State seal the league’s regular-season crown, Spiller averaged 14.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 1.5 BPG.— Medcalf

West Coast Convention

Graham Ike, Gonzaga Bulldogs
Ike has been one of the best participant within the WCC during the last month, carrying Gonzaga to a probable NCAA event bid. He scored no less than 20 factors in seven straight video games to finish the common season, together with 24 factors, 10 boards and a couple of blocks within the ticket-punching win at Saint Mary’s this previous weekend. The Wyoming switch is dominant along with his again to the basket and has NCAA event expertise from his time with the Cowboys.

Honorable point out: Aidan Mahaney, Saint Mary’s Gaels
Mahaney made a reputation for himself final season with an unimaginable regular-season efficiency towards Gonzaga — and he is main the Gaels in scoring this season. — Borzello

Western Athletic Convention

Gabe McGlothan, Grand Canyon Lopes
Whereas Tyon Grant-Foster is GCU’s main scorer, thanks partially to his potential to get to the road, McGlothan provides all his teammates house to create along with his 3-point accuracy. In WAC play, the 6-7 senior’s been making 44% of his 3s. One factor to look at, nonetheless, is whether or not McGlothan nonetheless has the contact after going 4-of-16 over his 4 most up-to-date outings.

Honorable point out: Cameron Tyson, Seattle U Redhawks
A onetime Idaho Vandal who additionally appeared in 18 video games for Houston in 2020-21, Tyson has scored 80 factors prior to now three video games. — Gasaway

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