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.