Courtside Column- Sweet Sixteen Players to Watch


The NCAA college basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, is the best platform for a college player to showcase their skills to NBA scouts and fans.

Josh Stams, Contributor

The NCAA college basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, is the best platform for a college player to showcase their skills to NBA scouts and fans. The tournament is the biggest stage that these players have ever played on and every year players begin to create their legacies. From Steph Curry leading Davidson on their cinderella story to Christian Laettner’s villainous run of success with Duke, star players storylines are always the center of the tournament. The farther in the tournament teams get, the more exciting the games. Here are my picks for the top players to watch for the remainder of the tournament.


  • Zion Williamson – #1 Duke


The number one spot comes with no surprises, as Zion is considered the best college player in the world and is almost guaranteed to be going number one in the NBA draft next year. Zion has been on a tear this season averaging 22.1 points, 8.9 rebounds while shooting around 70% from the field. He has amazing ball handling skills and his finishing ability around the rim is incomparable, but what sets him apart is his once in a generational athleticism. He is 280 pounds giving him incredible strength and he also has the speed and jumping ability of someone half his weight. His explosiveness on the basketball court also provides to the hype around him-he is known to throwdown highlight dunks in even the biggest games. He is very comfortable with the pressures of a national stage because he’s been a household name of basketball fans since his junior year of high school. So far, he has been on a tear in the tournament as he has scored 32 and 25 points over the first two games of the tournament showing his dominance over anyone who tries to guard him and has shown no sign of slowing down in the next few rounds.


  • Coby White – #2 UNC


Another point guard on this list, Coby White is coming in with a team that has been in the NCAA finals two of the past three years. With a lot of experience around him, Coby is a tough match-up for any team because he has a combination of speed, ball handling skills and a stellar scoring ability. While the team has so many great players around him, when he is scoring the ball, UNC is almost unstoppable. Coby hasn’t had as amazing stats this season as the others on this list, but he is still averaging 16.3 points per game for a UNC team with other great players like Cam Johnson, Nassir Little and Luke Maye. He didn’t have a great first game on shooting 28.3% from the field while scoring 10 points, but in the last game versus Washington, he scored 17 while showcasing his amazing scoring ability with some spectacular shots. It can be expected that Coby will continue to showcase himself over the rest of the tournament.

  1. Cassius Winston – #5 Michigan State

Cassius Winston is a player who does everything. He scores, passes, and defends as good or better than almost any other guard left in the tournament. He also helped lead Michigan State to a 2 seed in the tournament as many other key players on his team suffered from injuries throughout the season. The team persisted to win partly due to Winston’s dominance on the court. He has been amazing in the first two games of the tournament, again using his passing and scoring to breakdown defenses while leading his team to two impressive wins. He has a poise on the basketball court that the others on this list haven’t quite developed yet. Going into the next round, it can be expected that Winston’s play will stay amazing as he looks to help his Spartans make it to another weekend of the tournament.

  1. Ignas Brazdeikis – #13 Michigan

Ignas is one of the most expressive players on the basketball court, often antagonizing opposing fans. He is easy to hate but hard to not be in awe of  his amazing shooting ability and often plays better the more hostile the opposing fans are. He is a player who rises to the occasion, like when he lead Michigan over UNC and Villanova. He hasn’t played his best basketball so far this tournament, but as the competition gets better, I expect Ignas to start playing at his best. This combined with his arrogant nature on the basketball court, should make for very good viewing.

  1. 5. Admiral Schofield – #5 Tennessee

Admiral Schofield came into the tournament as a lesser known competitor compared to the other players on the list, but nonetheless, he is a scoring machine. He is Tennessee’s best three point shooter and can throwdown a highlight dunk as well. He had a good season averaging 16.4 points per game. His team has won two close games so far in the tournament and he has been a standout star scoring 19 points in each game. If his team is going to advance further in the tournament, as many people predict, Admiral will need to continue to be dominant and be a leader until the end.