The first round of the NCAA tournament gets underway Thursday afternoon, and it's full of NBA-ready talent and hidden gems everyone should be keeping their eyes on. Teams like the San Antonio Spurs that have multiple picks to work with will undoubtedly be keeping watch across the board to see who can help speed up their rebuild quickly.
With Wednesday's First Four games now completed, the field of 64 teams is now set, highlighted by top seeds Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas, and Baylor. While you can catch a full 1st round NBA mock draft by my colleague right here and see some top prospects for the Spurs on our draft page, we wanted to dive even further by looking at one guy from every tournament team.
I enlisted the help of fellow Air Alamo writers Roberto Araiza, Ethan Farina, and Cal Durrett to each take a region and give their top prospect from every team to watch as a potential fit in San Antonio.
Whether they be for this draft or one in the near future, here are 64 guys to watch in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Let's get started with the region I was responsible for, the West.
1. Gonzaga - Chet Holmgren, C
Most intriguing attribute: Chet Holmgren is uniquely gifted in all aspects of the game and does it all as a seven-footer. There's a reason he's extremely likely to be a top-two pick this summer.
How he'd help the Spurs: San Antonio's need for an upgrade in the frontcourt on both ends is painfully obvious. Holmgren would be an instant-impact talent who'd likely be a gamechanger on both ends of the floor.
16. Georgia St. - Eliel Nsoseme, F
Most intriguing attribute: Former Cincinnati Bearcat Eliel Nsoseme has been a nightly double-double over the last two seasons with his energy at the rim on both ends.
How he'd help the Spurs: San Antonio could use a junkyard type player to crash the glass and finish plays a la Montrezl Harrell, something Nsoseme does well for Georgia State. That said, he's one of the older players in the tournament at 24 and likely won't be drafted -- but he should be fun to watch in an uphill battle against Gonzaga.
8. Boise St - Tyson Degenhart, F
Most intriguing attribute: Tyson Degenhart is a lights-out shooter from beyond the arc, knocking down 43 of his 103 attempts this season for Boise State for a 41.7% mark.
How he'd help the Spurs: The 6-7 forward undoubtedly needs some polishing before playing in the NBA, but he shows promise as a sniper who can spread the floor and be aggressive. One year ago, Duke's Paolo Banchero called Degenart his toughest matchup in a bid for a high school state title with O'Dea.
9. Memphis - Jalen Duren, C
Most intriguing attribute: Often projected to land around where the Spurs will be picking in the first round, Memphis' Jalen Duren has the size and stature of an NBA center at 6'11, 250. His defensive instincts stand above just about anyone in this draft class.
How he'd help the Spurs: As I recently wrote after yet another loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Spurs are severely lacking in the switchable big man department. As such, they suffer greatly against teams that can run the pick and roll effectively. Duren would be a massive upgrade in that area.