10 players to watch
Zion Williamson, Duke: Everyone who watches the 6-7 freshman forward says the same thing: There’s really nobody like him in college basketball. He’s 289 pounds but can foul-line dunk with a 45-inch vertical.
RJ Barrett, Duke: The 6-7 forward isn’t the most spectacular freshman on his own team, but he’s the Blue Devils’ top all-around talent and the projected No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
Carsen Edwards, Purdue: The 6-1 junior could go down as one of the best scoring guards in Purdue history, but can he score enough to replace four starters lost to graduation?
Dedric Lawson, Kansas: Tubby Smith basically got fired for not keeping this 6-9 junior forward in Memphis. After sitting out a year, the Jayhawks expect him to contend for Big 12 player of the year honors.
Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s: This throwback New York City point guard has all the dribble moves to shake defenders out of their shoes, but the junior’s jump shot is also a thing of beauty.
Mike Daum, South Dakota State: He could’ve been NBA-bound after averaging 23.9 points last season and leading the Jackrabbits to the NCAAs, but the 6-9 senior forward is back for more.
Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga: Hard to believe the 6-8 Hachimura barely played in the 2017 NCAA title game, because now the junior forward is arguably the Zags’ best player and NBA prospect in years.
Tyus Battle, Syracuse: Getting Jim Boeheim to another Final Four is something the 6-6 junior guard is talented enough to do with an array of offensive skills few players have on the perimeter.
Bol Bol, Oregon: Remember when Manute Bol hit six threes in one game shooting over his head? Well, Bol’s son, a 7-3 freshman, has a prettier stroke and is actually a true outside threat — and an elite shot blocker like pops.
Romeo Langford, Indiana: Not many freshmen come along good enough to win Big Ten player of the year, but the 6-5 guard just might be that good – while lifting the Hoosiers back to national relevance.