NCAA Selection Sunday: Top players to watch during March Madness

By Brian Pascus

/ CBS News

CBSN

March Madness officially kicks off today with Selection Sunday on CBS at 6 p.m. Fans across the country are preparing for three weeks of thrilling college basketball. The NCAA Tournament includes 68 teams vying for a national championship in a single elimination, winner-take-all bracket.

While hundreds of players will be partaking in the tournament, here are eight stars to keep your eye on when watching over the next three weeks.

Zion Williamson

Duke, freshman

Zion Williamson is likely the most famous college basketball player in the country, as well as the proverbial #1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. With his gravity defying dunks and tenacious motor, Williamson has galvanized fans around the sport (even drawing President Obama to one of his games). He blew out his shoe in February and injured his knee, but still averaged 22 points and 9 rebounds per game on the season. He's healthy and led Duke to a victory in the ACC Tournament title game on Saturday.

Ja Morant

Murray State, sophomore

Ja Morant may be the most electric player in the entire tournament. Widely considered a top-3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Morant is the type of guard who can take over an entire game. A one-man-show for the Murray State Racers, Morant averaged a stunning 24.6 points, 10 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game.

Ja Morant drives to the basket on Feb. 9, 2019. Joe Robbins / Getty

Ignas Brazdeikis

Michigan, freshman

Ignas "Iggy" Brazdeikis was born in Lithuania and lived in Chicago and Canada before attending Michigan this fall, where he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Iggy is a versatile big man who can score from anywhere on the floor and could be good enough to lead the Wolverines all the way back to the National Title game for the second straight year.

Rui Hachimura

Gonzaga, junior

Rui Hachimura, who was born and raised in Japan, won the West Coast Conference Play of the Year award as a Junior. He averaged 20 points and 6 rebounds per game on a season where he led Gonzaga to 31 wins. He's a big, strong forward who can score from the inside and outside. Don't be surprised is Hachimura is named Tournament MVP.

Coby White

North Carolina, freshman

Coby White is an athletic freshman guard who averaged 16 points and 4 assists per game on the season for the Tar Heels. In a February 26 game against Syracuse this season, White scored 34 points. He later passed Michael Jordan on North Carolina's all-time freshman scoring list.

Duke v North Carolina
Coby White on March 09, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Streeter Lecka/Getty

Bruno Fernando

Maryland, sophomore

Fernando is a one-man dunking machine for the Maryland Terrapins. A strong, powerful center from Angola, Fernando averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds per game on the season, one filled with multiple slam dunks and highlight-reel blocked shots.

RJ Barrett

Duke, freshman

RJ Barrett may not be as heralded as his Blue Devil teammate Zion Williamson, but he is just as bit as talented. The silky-smooth forward led the team in scoring with 22.9 points per game, where he added 7.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash is his godfather.

DeAndre Hunter

Virginia, sophomore

Don't turn away from the T.V. or you may miss DeAndre Hunter drill another three-pointer. Hunter is the Cavaliers best player and can score from anywhere on the court. He went 5-7 from three-point-land during a March 4 win over Syracuse and averaged 15 points per game on the season.

Notre Dame v Virginia
De'Andre Hunter shoots over a defender on Feb. 16, 2019 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Ryan M. Kelly / Getty

First published on March 17, 2019 / 3:27 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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