Busting Brackets

2024 NCAA Tournament: Ranking the Top 20 players from the East Region

Nov 15, 2022; Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Connecticut Huskies center Donovan Clingan (32) and guard
Nov 15, 2022; Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Connecticut Huskies center Donovan Clingan (32) and guard / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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16. Stephon Castle (Connecticut)

As if the defending champions weren’t talented enough, Castle was a 5-star recruit who came to Connecticut this past offseason and made a great impact as a freshman. Castle isn’t expected to be the star scorer or impact player for the Huskies, but his contributions did lead to him being named Big East Freshman of the Year.

Castle missed several games early in the season with injuries but has still managed to average 10.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He’s a great young weapon for the Huskies and had 21-point efforts in conference wins over Seton Hall and St. John’s. He’s not the headliner in Connecticut, but this team is a 1-seed and power house thanks in part to his contributions.

15. Dae Dae Grant (Duquesne)

A talented scorer throughout his collegiate career, Grant spent three seasons playing at Miami-Ohio in the MAC before transferring to Duquesne back in 2022. Grant has been a great long-range shooter and significant offensive weapon throughout his career, starting nearly 150 games across the five years of his career. Now he’ll end that long career as the leader of the 11-seeded Dukes, making their first Tourney trip in generations.

Grant’s fifth collegiate season is perhaps his finest, averaging 16.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game for the Dukes. He received All-A-10 honors for a second straight season and is the league’s best free throw shooter, with his 94% mark among the national leaders as well. Grant had multiple 30-point performances this season and dropped 27 on St. Bonaventure in the semifinals en route to an unexpected A-10 Tournament title. He’s vital to any success the Dukes will have in the Big Dance.