Busting Brackets

2024 NCAA Tournament: Ranking the Top 20 Players from the South Region

Feb 24, 2024; Waco, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars guard L.J. Cryer (4) and guard Jamal Shead (1) react
Feb 24, 2024; Waco, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars guard L.J. Cryer (4) and guard Jamal Shead (1) react / Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
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20. Trey Townsend (Oakland)

Not many people knew about Townsend before he arrived at Oakland back in 2020. Frankly, not many knew about him across most of his first four seasons with the Golden Grizzlies, though he’s started every game and been an important piece for Greg Kampe’s program. Not only has his numbers improved with each season, but he led Oakland to their long-awaited Horizon League Tournament title.

Prior to that, Townsend was named Horizon League Player of the Year after averaging 16.9 points and 7.8 rebounds for an Oakland squad that hung on to win the regular season title in the conference. Townsend is an impressive talent who saved his best for last, with 38 points against Milwaukee in the title game of the Horizon League Tournament, easily winning Tournament MVP honors. That performance was a career-high, but watch out for Oakland if he can recreate that effort on this pesky squad.

19. Tyrese Proctor (Duke)

Part of Duke’s impressive recruiting class from 2022, Proctor put up solid numbers as a freshman but opted to return for a second season with the Blue Devils. He’s been a key part of the success at Duke this season and has taken a step forward as a sophomore, with his work in the backcourt helping get a talented Duke squad into this position.

Proctor averages 10.5 points and 3.8 assists per game while hitting just under 37% of his 3-pointers on the year. His offensive numbers have taken a definite step forward even while he’s not expected to bare the load for the Blue Devils. There aren’t many young guards playing more consistently than Proctor down the stretch. He played every minute of Duke’s last three games and they’ll certainly need him at his best to advance far into the Big Dance.