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Top 10 NBA Draft prospects to follow in the 2022 NCAA Basketball Tournament

We take a look at some of the top 2022 NBA Draft prospects to watch in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

One of several factors that makes the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament so special is the stage it sets for future NBA stars to showcase and introduce themselves to the nation.

Within the 68-team field, several potential NBA Draft lottery and first-round picks will have the opportunity to showcase their talents as they try to will their respective teams to Final Four glory. Let’s look at the top 10 NBA Draft prospects that will be taking the court in the big dance.

1. Jabari Smith, PF, Auburn

A 6’10” true freshman out of Tyrone, GA, Smith has been tabbed as the potential No. 1 overall pick in 2022 NBA Draft. He’s played an integral part in Auburn’s rise a Top 5 team this season, earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors by averaging 17.1 points and seven rebounds per game.

Smith and No. 2 Auburn will hit the court on Friday when facing No. 15 Jacksonville State at 12:40 p.m. ET on TruTV.

2. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga

Other analysts have Chet Holmgren being selected as the first-overall pick this June. The seven-footer from Minneapolis has been a monster on both ends for the Bulldogs, shooting 61% from the field on offense and earning West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors as a true freshman. He has averaged 14.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks per game.

Holmgren and No. 1 Gonzaga will hit the court on Thursday when facing No. 16 Georgia State at 4:15 p.m. ET on TNT.

3. Paolo Banchero, PF, Duke

Banchero has been an impact freshman for the Blue Devils this season, earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors. The big 6’10”, 250 pound forward from Seattle put up an average of 17 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as the team claimed the ACC regular season title.

Banchero and No. 2 Duke will hit the court on Friday when facing No. 15 Cal State Fullerton at 7:10 p.m. ET on CBS.

4. Jaden Ivey, PG, Purdue

Ivey has been a prolific scorer and leader for the Boilermakers this season, stepping up with an increased role. The sophomore from the South Bend area has put up 17.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game this season.

Ivey and No. 3 Purdue will hit the court on Friday when facing No. 14 Yale at 2 p.m. ET on TBS.

5. AJ Griffin, SF, Duke

Along with Banchero, Griffin will leave as part of the final class of impact freshman to play for Coach K in Durham, NC. The 6’6” small forward from White Plains, NY, has averaged just 23.1 minutes per game but has made the most of them, putting up 10.4 points per game.

6. Johnny Davis, SG, Wisconsin

Davis made a major leap as a sophomore in Madison, WI, a jump that was big enough to earn himself Big Ten Player of the Year honors in a field full of worthy contenders. The shooting guard from La Crosse, WI, put up 19.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Davis and No. 3 Wisconsin will hit the court on Friday when facing No. 14 Colgate at 9:50 p.m. ET on TBS.

7. Keegan Murray, PF, Iowa

Iowa boasts the second-most efficient offense in the nation heading into the tournament and that’s thanks in large part to the contributions of Murray. The sophomore from Cedar Rapids, IA, is averaging 23.6 points per game, good for fourth in the nation, along with 8.6 boards.

Murray and No. 5 Iowa will hit the court on Thursday when facing No. 12 Richmond at 3:10 p.m. ET on TruTV.

8. TyTy Washington, PG, Kentucky

Washington has been a solid floor general for a Kentucky team that is primed to make a Final Four run. The 6’3”, true freshman from Phoenix has averaged 12.8 points, four assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Washington and No. 2 Kentucky will hit the court on Thursday when facing No. 15 Saint Peter’s at 7:10 p.m. ET on CBS.

9. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis

The 6’10”, 250-pound big man from New Castle, DE, earned AAC Freshman of the Year honors this season and was a primary part of Memphis turning up late in the season and getting off the bubble. The potential lottery pick averaged 12.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

Duren and No. 9 Memphis will hit the court on Thursday when facing No. 8 Boise State at 1:45 p.m. ET on TNT.

10. Bennedict Mathurin, SF, Arizona

Arizona is the No. 2 overall seed in the entire tournament and its successful 31-3 campaign was driven in large part by Mathurin. The sophomore from Montreal emerged as Pac-12 Player of the Year this season, wrecking shop with 17.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Mathurin and No. 1 Arizona will face either No. 16 Bryant or Wright State on Friday at 7:27 p.m. ET on TruTV.