Americans may enjoy many sports, but there’s nothing quite like their deep love of college sports, especially basketball. The rivalries, the history, the tournaments, the overtimes and the opportunities to place bets on events all create fascination and entertainment for fans.
The sense of community that college basketball invokes is what encourages fans to travel across the country to cheer on their local team or, failing that, catch an event on the TV and get behind them from the comfort of their armchairs. Then there are tournaments such as the March Madness, which give the NCAA basketball players a shot at greatness. It’s a chance to stand out and catch the eye of the talent hunters of the NBA and maybe get drafted into a team.
The NCAA produces lots of talent. Below is a look at some of the best rising stars in college basketball. Some day you might even see their names on the DraftKings sportsbook when you’re checking NBA finals odds or other NBA odds.
Oscar Tshiebwe has returned to the 2022-23 season as the reigning National Player of the year, which he won the previous season. The Kentucky Wildcat who plays as a forward for the team in the Southeastern Conference was especially impressive in his first year with the team. Although a little less so in his second year, he was still serving the team well.
Rebounding is one of Tshiebwe’s strengths. In the first year, he averaged around 15.1 rebounds per game, and in the second one, he hit around 13.7 boards. The rebound specialist also does a respectable job of posting points for his team, having averaged around 17.4 in the first year and 16.5 in the second.
Blocking is something he may have to work on a little more to be of even greater benefit to his team. In year one, he blocked 55 shots. The following year, that number went down to 32. Nevertheless, this is one special player.
Some fear Drew Timme’s college basketball career may have come to its end following the loss of his Gonzaga Bulldogs, who play in the West Coast Conference, to the UConn in the Elite 8. This is a player who could seriously be going places, however, as he’s the Bulldogs’ all-time leading scorer. Several companies have already partnered up with him, including Walker’s Furniture, Dollar Shave Club, Beats by Dre, Continental Tire, Northern Quest Resort and Casino, and Barstool Gonzaga.
The power forward has been dominant for several seasons and is especially damaging to other teams at the offensive end. He handles himself well on the block, exhibits flawless footwork and touch, he’s excellent at making the most of angles to score off the glass and his passing is also good. When he has his back to the basket, he shows immense patience and skill. Ultimately, he’s almost a completely rounded offensive player.
Marcus Sasser serves as a guard for the Houston Cougars in the Big 12 Conference, and a fine job he does of this as well. He’s scored more than 1,000 career points, becoming the 50th Cougar to hit the 1,000 point mark, and shot more than 200 three pointers, which makes him the 7th Cougar to do so.
He’s not just a tremendous shooter, however. As well as racking up points for the Cougars, he does a good job of stealing the ball. In the past, he’s finished 2nd among the Cougars and 7th in the league with 1.61 steals per contest.
Defensively, his footwork is strong, he stays low and balanced and always gives his very best. He also works hard through screens, making it tough for opponents to pull off their offensive maneuver.
Nick Smith Jr is a guard for the Arkansas Razorbacks, who compete in Division 1 in the Southeastern Conference. The freshman is a fantastic scorer at the three different levels in basketball and has an excellent quality of being able to create his own shots, work well off screens and punish teams around the basketball rim if given the space. He’s aggressive, confident and has fluid body movement, showing ability to change direction with ease.
Not only is a phenomenal points scorer, however, but he’s also a good playmaker and his ball handling skills are becoming more and more reliable. His passing is solid, and his decision making has improved. He puts in plenty of effort defensively, and his energy, his size and his mentality make him a tough adversary whether defending on the ball or off it.
The college basketball scene has some outstanding players that have the potential to go far. Other players you should also consider following include Duke Blue Devils forward Dariq Whitehead, Memphis Tigers guard Kendric Davis and Indiana Hoosiers forward Trayce Jackson-Davis.