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Players to Watch Heading into the NCAA Tournament

There will be a handful of stars that arise out of the NCAA Tournament this year just like every other season. Some players from the top teams will become household names and others will come out of nowhere to become some of the biggest stars in college basketball. Let’s look at some players that could have a massive impact while leading their team on a potential tournament run.

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Reed Sheppard - Kentucky

The freshman Reed Sheppard has been outstanding this year for the Kentucky Wildcats. As of late he has led this team to five-straight wins, including beating No. 4 Tennessee in a game where he had 27 points.

Kentucky is getting hot at the right time and Sheppard has been a big reason why. The tournament will be a way for him to further his already high draft stock in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Rob Dillingham - Kentucky

Another Kentucky freshman has made waves this season in Rob Dillingham. He’s compared to Lou Williams or Malik Monk, two professional scorers from the NBA. His athleticism is more in line with Monk and Dillingham can score in bunches. He had a 35-point game earlier this year.

Hopefully in the tournament we can see Dillingham get unleashed a little bit more. He is second on the team scoring 15 points per game but plays just 22 minutes on average, the fifth most on the team.

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Cody Williams - Colorado

The younger brother of NBA star Jalen Williams has been making a name for himself at Colorado. He’s been talked about as a top-10 pick all season but Colorado was on track for a disappointing season, until lately. The Buffs have turned their season around without Williams who has been injured.

Williams is expected to come back for the NCAA Tournament where he can showcase why he should be a top pick. His game is similar to his NBA brother’s, a do-it-all player with great size and athleticism that should dominate in this tournament.

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Kyle Filipowski - Duke

Last year Kyle Filipowski was NBA ready but opted to stay another season at Duke. He’s increased his draft stock to a possible top-10 selection and will be crucial if the Blue Devils are to go on a run in the tournament.

The 7-foot center can get a bucket down low with his size but he also has improved his three point shooting from 28% last season to over 35% this year. Filipowski is a player who could jump into the top 5 conversation in the NBA draft with a big showing in March and April.

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Donovan Clingan - UConn

A large part of the success that UConn has had this season is due to the emergence of their center Donovan Clingan. Last year as a freshman he played just 13 minutes per game. This year it has been bumped up to just over 21 per game. As of late he has played an even bigger role as he’s seen 23 or more minutes in each of his last six games.

On the season in just 21 minutes per game he’s averaged 12.4 points, 2.3 blocks, and 7 rebounds. If his minutes continue to rise he could be one of the top performers in the tournament for a likely one seeded UConn.

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