The best month of the sporting calendar is underway. To get yourself prepared, there are a couple of names that you should know.
Here are 14 of them. Any of them could have a special couple of games and be remembered for eternity.
Ace Baldwin Jr., VCU
Baltimore’s own was the A-10 player of the year, helping the HAVOC defense remain one of the tops in the country. He ranked in the top-50 of the nation in steal percentage. On the offensive end, he was a bit of a problem as well, averaging 12.6 points and 5.8 assists per game.
Drew Pember, UNC Asheville
The forward transfer from the University of Tennessee was a handful for the Big South this season, winning both the league’s player and defensive player of the year awards. He leads the nation in fouls drawn per 40 minutes and will come into the tournament as the third highest-possession-used player.
Ajay Mitchell, UCSB
One of the best passers in the country, Mitchell can score the rock too. He leads the Gauchos with 16.4 points per game on 50.9% shooting.
Dalton Bolon, Charleston
There aren’t many teams who are more of a coalition than the College of Charleston Cougars. CofC has six players who average between 9.0-12.3 points per game. The man who rallies them all is the affectionally known “Psycho D.” He portrays that nickname on the defensive end as he is known to not only be a wild trash talker but super locked in on that end of the court.
Marques Warrick, Northern Kentucky
Northern Kentucky runs one of the slowest tempos in the nation, but to win games, you have to score, and Warrick has done just that. Averaging 19.1 points per game, he has consistently upped his averages every year.
Tosan Evbuomwan, Princeton
Steve Wojciechowski called Evbuomwan the “The Ivy League’s Giannis” during Sunday’s championship game... That’s an interesting comparison, but regardless of how the NCAA Tournament goes, he’ll be a hot name over the offseason. The Ivy League does not allow graduate students to play in its programs, so Tosan will probably move on to a Power 5 school.
Walter Clayton Jr., Iona
During Saturday’s MAAC championship game, former Providence head coach Tim Welsh said you can call Clayton by just his first name like “Michael” or “Kobe.” I don’t know if he’s on that level, but he’s one of the best players in mid-major basketball. He averages 16.9 points per game, ranking as the second-best free throw shooter in the country.
Sincere Carry, Kent State
Carry scored double-digit points in all but three games, sending the Golden Flashes to their best season since 2001-02. Back at Duquesne, he gave fans on the bluff the most hope they’d had in ages. He enters the Big Dance as the tournament’s highest-used player.
Tucker DeVries, Drake
The Player of the Year in the Missouri Valley, DeVries reminds me an awful lot of another MVC legend... Doug McDermott. Playing for his father (just like McDermott), DeVries averages 19 points per game on the 29th most experienced team in college basketball. The kicker is that he is only a sophomore.
Tucker Richardson, Colgate
For the fourth time in his illustrious career, Tucker Richardson will lead Colgate to the NCAA Tournament. The Patriot League Player of the year is an insane passer and averages 5.8 assists per game. He can also cause fits on the defensive end, forcing two steals per game.
Max Abmas, Oral Roberts
Remember Abmas? The little guard who led Oral Roberts to the Sweet 16 in 2021. Well... he’s back and averaging over 20 points per game for the Golden Eagles. To couple with his scoring, he’s averaging a career-high in both rebounds and assists.
Connor Vanover, Oral Roberts
If you’ve never seen Vanover play basketball... oh boy, you are in for a treat. The 7-foot-5-inch center is a freak of nature. Not only does he average seven rebounds and three blocks per game, but he is also insane off of the pick-and-pop, averaging 1.4 3-pointers per game.
Jordan Brown, Louisiana
Jordan Brown was a very good player at Arizona, winning Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year in 2020-21. He needed a change of scenery though, and he has impressed in his two seasons in Lafayette. The former five-star player is averaging 19.4 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Cajuns.
Ray Harrison, Grand Canyon
When Jovan Blacksher Jr. went down with a leg injury, Harrison had to click into a whole near gear. He did just that and more. The Presbyterian transfer is one of the highest-used players in the Tournament, averaging 17.7 points per game. He went crazy in the conference tournament, winning its most outstanding player while scoring 30 points twice.