LSU's Ben Simmons and Oklahoma's Buddy Hield have dominated the headlines in college basketball this season, but there are always new stars that emerge every March as they find success in the NCAA Tournament. So, who should you being paying attention to know before they have breakout performances? Here are five players who will turn into absolute superstars in March:
Isaiah Whitehead, PG, Seton Hall Pirates
Stats: 18.1 ppg, 5.0 apg
Whitehead carried the Pirates to the Big East Tournament title, and that wasn't a fluke. He is the unquestioned leader of this team, and he has emerged as one of those secret stars poised to become a household name in the NCAA Tournament. The Brooklyn native has a bit of a streetball toughness to his game - not in a “flashy, too many dribble moves” kind of way, but in a “always in attack mode, never back down” kind of way. That relentlessness allows him to put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses, and now that he has improved his jump shot (38.4 percent three-point shooter), he’s virtually unguardable.
Dillon Brooks, SF, Oregon Ducks
Stats: 16.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.1 apg
Oregon has quietly rose to a top seed by establishing themselves as the best team in the Pac-12. Brooks has been a big reason why the Ducks have become one of the best teams in the country this year, averaging 16.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. He's extremely versatile at 6'6" and 225 lbs. and his playing his best basketball at the right time, averaging 20.4 points over Oregon's last eight games.
As the clear leader of this Ducks team, expect to hear a LOT more about Brooks in the coming weeks as Oregon makes a deep tournament run.
Kris Dunn, PG, Providence Friars
Stats: 16.0 ppg, 6.4 apg, 5.5 rpg, 2.5 spg
Dunn is easily the best point guard in the country, and it's not even close - so why haven't you heard that much about him?
Well, that's probably because he plays at Providence, but the 6'4", 220-pounder has turned the Friars into one of the most dangerous teams in the country. His all-around dominance can not over overstated. Dunn will be a top-five pick in the NBA Draft, and if he can carry a so-so Providence team to the Sweet 16 - or further - his name will appear right alongside Simmons and Hield at the top of the sport.
Jameel Warney, PF, Stony Brook Seawolves
Stats: 19.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg
Warney is one of the five finalists for the Karl Malone Award, given annually to the best power forward in the country, and for good reason. He is an automatic scoring machine on the block, a menace on the boards, and never tires. He also showed he can play his best in big games, scoring 43 points in the America East championship game.
A.J. English, SG, Iona Gaels
Stats: 22.5 ppg, 6.2 apg, 5.1 rpg
The son of former NBA player Alex English, A.J. is probably the best player you've never heard of. A legit NBA prospect who will get drafted this June, English is an athletic lead guard with size (6'4", 190 lbs.) who can get into the lane whenever he wants thanks to his elite quickness. He's also a reliable shooter from long range, making 3.4 three-pointers per game at a 37.7 percent clip.
Throw in his ability to create for others with his assist numbers, and you have an all-around player capable of singlehandedly winning any game by himself. Don't be surprised if he takes over the first weekend of the tournament and becomes a superstar if Iona pulls off an upset or two.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed
Related Topics: NCAA Basketball, Oregon Ducks Basketball, A.J. English, Iona Gaels Basketball, MAAC Basketball, Jameel Warney, Seton Hall Pirates Basketball, Kris Dunn, College Basketball, Providence Friars Basketball, NCAA Tournament, Pac-12 Basketball, Dillon Brooks, Stony Brook Basketball, Isaiah Whitehead, Big Ten Basketball, America East Basketball, Big East Basketball