It’s that time of year again. The madness of March is upon us. Last second buzzer beaters, cinderella slippers, unlikely stars, controversial selections and omissions, cold tears of defeat, and warm tears of joy. You will find all of these things and much more, every March Madness season in the United States of America. Isn’t it amazing? The drama and intrigue that surrounds a nationwide ‘win or go home’ NCAA basketball tournament is something that can’t be duplicated anywhere else on this earth. It’s a yearly reminder of that long held American belief that anything is possible. Regardless of the fact that most of the Goliath’s end up winning most of the time, it’s the possibility, the hope that this will be the year that a merry group of David’s might win the whole cake. This list serves to highlight some of the more exciting players to watch out for this 2016 tournament season.
#16. Tyler Ulis / Kentucky
Tyler Ulis is arguably the best point guard in the country, and his floor general play has allowed Kentucky to perform at a very high level as tournament play begins. This 5’9 speedster is definitely a player to watch in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
#15. AJ English / Iona
A. J. English is a gifted 6’4 senior guard out of Wilmington, Delaware, and the son of former NBA sharpshooter Alex English. The Gaels of Iona are looking to make waves in this years tournament, and English is scheduled to carry the weight. A must see player.
#14. Jakob Pöltl / Utah
Jakob Pöltl is the nimble 7’0 center for the Utah Utes who has emerged as a potential lottery pick in this years NBA Draft. A native of Vienna, Austria, our crystal ball tells us that Jakob will likely be one of the main reasons for Utah’s success in this tournament.
#13. Isaiah Whitehead / Seton Hall
Isaiah Whitehead is a talented 6’4 sophomore guard out of New York City. He is also a must watch player as his Seton Hall Pirates look to make some noise in this years tournament. Fresh off of a Big East Tournament title, Whitehead and company are just getting started, and a white hot team as play is set to begin.
#12. Denzel Valentine / Michigan State
Denzel Valentine is the 6’5 senior guard for the newly crowned Big 10 Tournament Champion Michigan State Spartans. He is also the heart and soul of this team as they move towards the tournament with guns blazing as a number 2 seed.
#11. Yogi Ferrell / Indiana
Yogi Ferrell brings his 6’0 frame and tenacious play to the tournament as his Indiana Hoosiers look to regain some of the glory of decades past. The Greenfield, IN native is set to put the icing on an illustrious 4 year career at Indiana University. A must watch player.
#10. Dillon Brooks / Oregon
Dillon Brooks is the 6’6 sophomore forward for the number 1 seeded Oregon Ducks, and one of the best players in the country. He brings his 17 points and 6 rebound average to the tournament with an Oregon team that carries high expectations for success.
#9. Domantas Sabonis / Gonzaga
Domantas Sabonis is the 6’11 sophomore forward for tournament mainstay Gonzaga Bulldogs out of the WCC. The Kaunas, Lithuania native is a force to be reckoned with patrolling the Gonzaga front court. His success will be directly tied to the Bulldogs success.
#8. Brandon Ingram / Duke
Brandon Ingram is the electric 6’9 freshman guard for the Duke Blue Devils. Conventional wisdom would state the Grayson Allen is the key to Duke’s success in the tournament, but upon closer inspection, it will be the play of Ingram in addition to Allen, that gives Duke the edge it needs to advance deep into the tournament. Watch out for this ‘superfrosh’.
#7. Marcus Paige / North Carolina
Marcus Paige is the 6’1 senior guard who leads the North Carolina Tarheels into the 2016 tournament with a head full of steam. His ability to slash and get to the basket in concert with his ability to shoot from the perimeter makes Paige a player to watch and admire.
#6. Buddy Hield / Oklahoma
Buddy Hield is the explosive 6’4 senior guard and heartbeat of the Oklahoma Sooners. We project Hield to be a much better pro than his much hyped peer Ben Simmons. Skeptical? Watch Buddy Hield perform in this years tournament and get back to us. We’ll wait.
#5. Ryan Anderson / Arizona
Ryan Anderson is a stout 6’9 senior forward for the Arizona Wildcats, and a lock as a lottery pick in this years NBA Draft. Arizona’s good fortune has a great deal to do with the exceptional play of Anderson, and their push through the tournament will be no different.
#4. Malcolm Brogdon / Virginia
Malcolm Brogdon is a 6’5 senior guard and backcourt glue that holds the Virginia Cavaliers together. He brings his 19 point, 4 rebound, and 3 assist per game average into this years tournament with a confidence that borders on bravado, and with good reason. Great guard play is the key to tournament success, and Virginia has that in spades.
#3. Jamal Murray / Kentucky
Jamal Murray is a great deal of fun to watch play the game of basketball. Prior to his playing days at Kentucky, the 6’4 freshman guard had experience playing for the Canadian national team, and has performed at a high level against pro talent. This kid is the real deal, and probably the number 1 reason that Kentucky will make serious headway in this years NCAA tournament.
#2. Georges Niang / Iowa State
Georges Niang is Iowa State’s 6’8 senior forward and perhaps the best reason for their success this season and moving forward through the tournament.
#1. Gary Payton II / Oregon State
Gary Payton II is the 6’3 senior guard for the Oregon State Beavers, and the son of NBA legend Gary Payton Sr. He is supremely athletically gifted and a genuine star coming out of a talent rich Pac-12 conference. When we talk about players to watch, Gary Payton 2.0 is the kind of player that we are generally referring to. The Beavers go as Payton goes. #MustWatch