13 college basketball players you'll be hearing about in March
We're a month away from the start of the 2018-19 school year, which means we'll have the first college basketball games of the season roughly three months after classes begin, and then March Madness will be here before you know it. In anticipation of all that next season has to offer, we dusted off our crystal ball to take look ahead at the 2019 NCAA tournament.
Here are 13 players you'll hear about in March.
Carsen Edwards, Purdue
2017-18 averages: 18.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists; 40.6 3-point percentage
March moment: 30 points, three rebounds, 11-for-20 shooting, 4-for-9 from 3 in a Sweet 16 loss to Texas Tech in 2018
Why you'll hear about him: Edwards is one of the leading candidates for Big Ten Player of the Year, if not national player of the year, after returning for his junior season following a sophomore campaign in which he was the only returning starter from a 30-win Purdue team. He took a team-high 32.7 percent of the Boilermakers' shots – while still scoring efficiently – when he was on the floor last season and that number could climb with the graduation of Vincent Edwards, Isaac Haas, Dakota Mathias and PJ Thompson.
Caleb and Cody Martin, Nevada
Year: Redshirt senior
2017-18 averages: Caleb: 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.3 steals; 40.3 3-point percentage; Cody: 14.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.5 blocks; 55.1 two-point percentage
March moment: Nevada made a furious comeback against No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round of the 2018 NCAA tournament, when the Wolf Pack trailed by 22 points in the final 11-plus minutes. Cody Martin had 25 points, six rebounds and seven assists, while Caleb scored 10 points with five rebounds.
Why you'll hear about them: After starting point guard Lindsey Drew was sidelined for last season in February with a ruptured Achilles, the Martin twins – with Cody taking over at point guard – led Nevada to the Sweet 16 before falling to Loyola Chicago by one point. The Martin twins elected to return to school instead of pursuiing professional futures, which will likely give Nevada its highest preseason expectations in program history. They're big, they're versatile, they have a strong supporting cast and they have a taste of what it takes to win in the NCAA tournament.
Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome, Virginia
2017-18 averages: Guy: 14.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists; 39.2 3-point percentage; Jerome: 10.6 points, 3.9 assists, 3.1 rebounds; 37.9 3-point percentage
March moment: Guy scored 50 points on 20-for-41 shooting in Virginia's three ACC tournament wins in 2018.
Why you'll hear about them: Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome, Virginia's starting backcourt pairing, say they want to be "remembered for something better" than No. 16 seed UMBC's upset No. 1 Virginia 74-54 in March. The Cavaliers were arguably the best team in the country in the regular season in 2017-18, compiling a 31-2 record while sweeping the ACC regular season and conference tournament titles. Guy and Jerome have been to the NCAA tournament twice but they only have one win to show for it.
R.J. Barrett, Duke
March moment: N/A
Why you'll hear about him: Duke has to replace its top five scorers from last season, who combined for roughly 75 points a night, and the two returning upperclassmen of note – Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier – combined for just seven starts and 26 minutes per game. In short, there are a lot of minutes and shots available, and Barrett is arguably the best incoming freshman in the country. The versatile 6-7 Canadian forward has a 6-10 wingspan, suggesting he has upside defensively and can create mismatches.
Romeo Langford, Indiana
2017-18 averages (high school): 35.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 3.0 steals, 1.9 blocks
March moment: N/A
Why you'll hear about him: With a 16-15 record in 2018, Indiana missed the NCAA tournament for multiple seasons in a row for just the third time since 1973. Langford, one of the most highly touted players in this year's freshman class, will play a major role in the Hoosiers' push to play meaningful games in March once again. Indiana ranked 92nd nationally in offensive efficiency last season, per KenPom.com, and the 6-5 Langford should provide an immediate boost to the team's play on that end of the floor.
Dedric and K.J. Lawson, Kansas
Position: Forward, guard
Year: Redshirt junior
2016-17 averages (Memphis): Dedric: 19.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.1 blocks, 1.3 steals; K.J.: 12.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists
March moment: Dedric: 29 points, eight rebounds, four assists; K.J.: 13 points, six rebounds in regular-season home finale win against Tulane in 2017
Why you'll hear about them: Kansas made the Final Four last season and there's a chance the Jayhawks' practice squad was almost as talented as the team's starting lineup. The Lawson brothers, who played two years at Memphis before transferring to Kansas, sat out last season and will now fill the scoring void after the departures of Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman. Dedric Lawson's track record suggests he'll be an All-Big 12, if not All-American, caliber player.
Luke Maye, North Carolina
2017-18 averages: 16.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block; 43.1 3-point percentage
March moment: Hitting the game-winner against Kentucky in the Elite Eight in 2017
Why you'll hear about him: Maye's upward trajectory in his first three seasons at North Carolina was as impressive as almost any player's multi-year improvement in recent memory. Maye was a Third Team All-American last season after averaging 1.2 points in 5.4 minutes per game as a freshman, proving he had much more to add to his UNC legacy than just his game-winner against UK.
Jahvon Quinerly, Villanova
2017-18 averages (high school): 18.5 points, 5.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.7 steals
March moment: N/A
Why you'll hear about him: Villanova lost its top four scorers from its national championship team to the NBA, including national player of the year point guard Jalen Brunson. Jay Wright has the Wildcats rolling as a program with two national titles, 165 wins and three No. 1 seeds in the last five seasons, and Quinerly will be a key figure in Villanova's pursuit to maintain its stature nationally. Like Randy Foye, Kyle Lowry, Scottie Reynolds, Ryan Arcidiacono and Brunson before him, Quinerly could be the next great Villanova guard under the tutelage of Wright.
Reid Travis, Kentucky
Year: Redshirt senior
March moment: 25 points, 14 rebounds, two assists on 10-for-17 shooting in an NIT win against BYU in 2018
Why you'll hear about him: Travis, a two-time First Team All-Pac-12 selection and 1,400-point scorer in college, has never played in the NCAA tournament. Now, as a graduate transfer, he'll spend his last season at Kentucky, which is poised to start the season near the top of the AP and Coaches polls. Travis can provide valuable experience and positional balance to Kentucky's talented freshman class that has several talented guards and wings.
Bol Bol, Oregon
2017-18 averages (high school): 20.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 blocks
March moment: N/A
Why you'll hear about him: For starters, he's Manute Bol's son and he's 7-2. Bol is also the centerpiece of one of the best freshman classes in the country and he could be one of the central figures in the Ducks' bid to return to the NCAA tournament in March. Oregon ranked 98th in the country in defensive efficiency last season and Bol's tremendous length suggests he could develop into a game-changing rim protector.