clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

March Madness: Who to watch and when to watch them

A guide to watching who the Jazz scouts will be watching

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Four Practice Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Lake Hale Lake Hale is a staff writer for SLC Dunk, covering the Utah Jazz since 2022. He currently is a communications major at Utah Valley University and has been watching Jazz games since he was 9 years old

If you wake up this Thursday and notice the birds are singing a bit louder, the warm glow of the sun hits a little brighter, and the morning breeze sounds like a song, that’s because March Madness is here. Everything gets a little better this Thursday, college basketball can be a bit messy but its ultimate tournament of 64 teams is arguably the greatest in all of sports. The Jazz finds themselves in a unique situation this year due to not only their first-round pick most likely being good but also first-round picks from Minnesota and Philly via Brooklyn. This is a great year to get acquainted with college basketball’s top talent to see who might be joining our team next year.

As of 3/13 in the morning the Jazz are currently sitting at the 14th worst record in the league, they have a 1.2% chance to get the #1 overall pick and a 5.7% chance to get into the top 4. Luckily the Jazz has an extensive track record of being lucky and we most likely will get a really good pick (sarcasm). Regardless of where we pick, this March Madness is riddled with talent that the Jazz will most certainly be looking at.

This tournament is unique because of the top 5 prospects this year, only one of them is playing college basketball. Young athletes now have the option to enter the G League, play overseas, or join basketball leagues designed to help pay young athletes like Overtime Elite. Regardless college basketball has talent everywhere you look.

Here’s your guide on who to watch as well as when to watch them:

Brandon Miller

#1 Alabama vs. #16 winner of play in game

Prospect rank: 3

When: Thursday 3/16 @ 2:30 PM on CBS

Brandon Miller is the best prospect in college basketball, his #1 overall Alabama team is a serious threat to win the national championship. The 6’9 200 pound freshman shoots 40% from three, 85% from the free throw line, and has an extremely tight handle. Smells like Paul George to me.

Syndication: The Tennessean Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Nick Smith Jr.

#8 Arkansas vs. #9 Illinois

Prospect rank: 6

When: Thursday 3/16 @ 4:30 PM on TBS

Nick Smith Jr. is a 6’5 185 pound freshman for the Razorbacks, although Nick has been injured a bit and his shooting has been streaky, this point guard is extremely shifty and could be extremely fun to watch this March.

Jarace Walker

#1 Houston vs. #16 Northern Kentucky

Prospect rank: 7

When: Thursday 3/16 @ 9:20 PM on TNT

Jarace Walker is a 6’8 240 pound animal/human. One of the more fun watches in March purely because no one his size should move as he does, he feels like the answer to “what if a D1 linebacker played basketball instead”

Keyonte George

#3 Baylor vs. #14 UC Santa Barbara

Prospect rank: 9

When: Friday 3/17 @ 1:20 PM on TNT

Keyonte George is a 6’4 combo guard with the Baylor Bears. He is currently nursing a nagging ankle injury suffered back in February but he should be at full strength for the tournament. If he gets hot he plays like someone who grew up watching Steph Curry, the only issue for him and the Bears is it’s not often enough.

Anthony Black

#8 Arkansas vs. #9 Illinois

Prospect rank: 10

When: Thursday 3/16 @ 4:30 PM TBS

Anthony Black is a lanky combo guard who starts in the backfield with Nick Smith Jr. The 6’7 198 pound freshman is a sneaky fun watch, his height and intangibles make him intriguing as far as a prospect goes but occasionally he puts it all together and looks like a lock for the top 10, when he does it’s a blast.

Gradey Dick

#1 Kansas vs. #16 Howard

Prospect rank: 11

When: Thursday 3/16 @ 2:00 PM TBS

Gradey Dick is an all-time name and more importantly an all-time shooter. At 6’8 Gradey is shooting 39.9% from three on 5.8 attempts per game. Those numbers stack up with some of the better shooters in recent drafts, he also tries on defense and occasionally can throw down a couple of dunks. You can’t help but hold your breath every time he gets the ball.

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament Championship - Kansas vs Texas William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Hood-Schifino

#4 Indiana vs. #13 Kent State

Prospect rank: 12

When: Friday 3/17 @ 9:55 PM on TBS

Jalen Hood-Schifino is creeping up big boards as you read this. The 6’6 guard has been a bit of a late bloomer this season, after struggling with his shot and turnovers the freshman is beginning to take over all of Indiana’s offense. He also has can play well in big games, he recently scored 35 points against #1 seed Purdue.

Cason Wallace

#6 Kentucky vs. #11 Providence

Prospect rank: 14

When: Friday 3/17 @ 7:10 PM on CBS

Cason Wallace is a breath of fresh air, a Kentucky guard that tries hard on defense seems pretty rare. The 6’4 193 pound point guard doesn’t just try on defense, it’s why he’s ranked #14 on ESPN’s big board. He has great instincts as far as on ball pressure goes, he is currently averaging 2 steals and .5 blocks a game.

Kris Murray

#8 Iowa vs. # 9 Auburn

Prospect rank: 19

When: Thursday 3/16 @ 6:50 PM on TNT

Kris Murray is one of the better shooters this March and plays on an Iowa team that really allows him to shoot it, the 6’8 forward shoots 6.6 threes a game. While he’s not gonna be a top-10 pick this year, Kris will be called in the first round due to his size and shooting. Think Cam Jonson of the Brooklyn Nets, every single team wants someone like that.

Honorable mentions/top talent that didn’t make the tournament:

Jett Howard – Michigan

Prospect rank: #15

#3 seed Michigan plays Toledo Tuesday in the NIT tournament 3/14 @ 7:00 on ESPN 2

Taylor Hendricks – UCF

Prospect rank: 13

UCF plays #4 seed Florida in a rivalry game Wednesday in the NIT tournament 3/15 @ 7:00 on ESPN 2

*Prospect rankings based on Jonathan Givony of ESPN’s prospect rankings