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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14. Isaac Jones (Washington State)

A big part of one of the season’s surprise teams, Jones spent three years at the junior college level at Wenatchee Valley before starring at Idaho with the Vandals last season. His final season of eligibility has come this year at Washington State and Kyle Smith is ecstatic to have this 6’9 forward playing a prominent role for the Cougars in a revival season for the program.

After averaging nearly 20 points a game last season in the Big Sky, he’s had comparable numbers against the Pac-12, putting up 15.4 points and 7.4 rebounds a game on the season. He earned All-Pac-12 honors and was possibly the best offensive big in the league, making 60% of his 2-point attempts with decent rebounding and shot blocking numbers. Washington State has a smart and strong team and Jones is the player to watch for the Cougars.

13. Riley Minix (Morehead State)

Minix arrived on campus this past offseason as a bit of an unknown quantity outside of Morehead. He had shown his abilities in four seasons at Southeastern, an NAIA school in Florida, but was now playing D1 basketball for his final year of eligibility. Suffice to say he’s taken both Morehead State and the OVC by storm, helming the Eagles to another trip to the Big Dance.

In an incredible season, Minix averaged 20.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, picking up OVC Player of the Year honors in his only season in the league. He’s unsurprisingly been a double-double machine for the Eagles and ranks by some metrics as one of the nation’s most efficient players. Minix dropped 26 points in both the semifinals and finals of the OVC Tournament and is actually averaging more than 24 points a game since the start of February.