The NCAA men’s basketball tournament will officially tip-off Tuesday with the first few play-in games and then the rest of the bracket gets underway later in the week.
While watching the tournament this year, there are plenty of young stars who will likely turn pro as soon the tournament is finished.
Keep these players in mind while watching the action:
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ZION WILLIAMSON, RJ BARRETT & CAM REDDISH
Three of the most highly touted NBA Draft prospects all come from the same school – Duke. The Blue Devils are the top seed in the tournament, which means Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cameron Reddish will all get significant attention in front of a national TV audience.
Each player has the ability to be taken within the first seven picks of the upcoming NBA Draft – should they all declare at the end of the tournament. The three freshmen led Duke to the ACC championship over Florida State as well.
Williamson, who missed a few games due to a knee injury, is averaging 22.1 points this season. Barrett is averaging 22.9 points and Reddish is averaging 13.7 points.
Duke faces off against the winner of a play-in game between North Carolina Central and North Dakota State in the first round of the tournament.
The casual basketball fan might not know who Murray State star Temetrius Jamel “Ja” Morant is, but they will hear his name a lot before the Racers take on Marquette in the first round of the tournament.
Morant has quickly shot up the mock draft boards for many NBA Draft experts — and for good reason. The sophomore guard is averaging 24.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He’s scored more than 30 points six times and had a season-high 40 points against Southern Illinois in January.
He was also named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year for the 2018-19 season, marking the second straight win by a Murray State player. Senior Jonathan Stark won it last season.
Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura could go high in the draft or end up in the lower lottery range depending on which NBA mock draft you look at. Nonetheless, Hachimura is definitely an NBA prospect that you should watch as Gonzaga prepares to make a run in the tournament.
The West Coast Conference Player of the Year averaged 20.6 points for Gonzaga and scored double-digit points in every game he played this season en route to getting the Bulldogs a No. 1 seed in the tournament.
Should Hachimura enter the draft, he would be the first Japanese-born player to be selected, according to Slam Magazine.
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NASSIR LITTLE, COBY WHITE & CAMERON JOHNSON
Nassir Little, Coby White and Cameron Johnson will be among the leaders for the North Carolina Tar Heels as they look to win their second national championship in three years.
Johnson and White lead the Tar Heels in scoring, averaging 16.9 points and 16.3 points, respectively. Little averaged 9.4 points per game.
Little and White, both freshmen, might go within the first 12 picks of next year’s draft, according to some NBA mock drafts. Johnson could go later in the first round.
Jarrett Culver is part of the Texas Tech Red Raiders squad that earned the No. 3 seed in the West region in this year’s tournament. Behind the sophomore, Texas Tech won 26 games and finished first in the Big 12 Conference during the regular season.
Culver, who averaged 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists this year, might go in the top 10 in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Texas Tech plays Northern Kentucky in the opening round.