The 2018 NCAA Tournament begins this week and college basketball’s biggest event will include many former high school basketball players from the Charlotte-area.
Correspondent Jay Edwards has helped put together a list of all the local stars who you will see on TV this week.
Donte Clark, Texas Southern (Queens Grant/Kennedy Charter0
Texas Southern (15-19 overall) started the season 0-13. But coach Mike Davis, who once coached at Indiana, has guided his team to the tournament by winning 15 of their last 21 games, including the Southwestern Athletic conference tournament, to earn the NCAA bid.
Former Kennedy Charter and Queens Grant star Donte Clark helped lead the Tigers in that run, scoring 14 points in the SWAC championship game, an 84-69 win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff on March 10.
A 6-foot-4 UMASS transfer, Clark also had 22 points, five rebounds and five assists in SWAC semifinal win over Prairie View.
Clark averages 19 points and five rebounds per game season.
Opening round matchup: No. 16-seed Texas Southern vs. No. 16-seed North Carolina Central (play-in game), Wednesday March 14 at 6:40 p.m. in Dayton, OH.
Grant Williams, Tennessee (Providence Day)
Williams was named the Southeastern Conference (SEC) player of the year last week.
The former Providence Day star and two-time Observer player of the year had his best game of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) tournament -- 15 points and nine rebounds -- in the championship game loss to Kentucky March 11. He averages 15 points and six rebounds per game for the Volunteers (25-8).
Opening round matchup: No. 3-seed Tennessee vs. No. 14-seed Wright State, Thursday, March 15 at 12:40 p.m. in Dallas.
Luke Maye (Hough), Aaron Rohlman (Gastonia Huss), North Carolina
Luke Maye, (Hough) and Aaron Rohlman (Hunter Huss), North Carolina: Maye, a North Carolina junior, is a former Hough all-state forward. One of the heroes of the Tar Heels’ 2017 run to the national championship was named a first team All-ACC pick March 4.
Maye had 17 points and 10 rebounds to help North Carolina beat Duke in the ACC semifinals March 9, before going for 20 points and seven rebounds in the ACC championship game loss to Virginia (71-63).
Maye averages 17 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Tar Heels (25-10) this season.
Former Hunter Huss standout, North Carolina senior, Aaron Rohlman, is a walk-on and reserve off the bench for the Tar Heels.
Opening Round matchup: No. 2-seed North Carolina vs. No. 15-seed Lipscomb, Friday, March 16 at 2:45 p.m. in Charlotte.
Gabe Devoe (Shelby), Shelton Mitchell (Cuthbertson/Oak Hill), Clemson
The Clemson guards both played key roles to help lead the Tigers (23-9) to the ACC tournament semifinals last week.
Devoe, a former Shelby standout had 25 points in an ACC quarterfinal win (90-82) over Boston College, while Mitchell, a former Cuthbertson and Oak Hill star, had 21 points in the same game.
Devoe averages 13 points and five rebounds per game, while Mitchell averages 12 points and three assists per contest this season. They have helped Clemson make its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011
Opening Round matchup: No. 5-seed Clemson vs. No. 12-seed New Mexico State, Friday, March 16 at 9:57 p.m. in San Diego.
Lavar Batts, Jr. (Jay M. Robinson) and Torin Dorn (Vance) and Allerik Freeman (Olympic)
The N.C. State trio all plays key roles for a Wolfpack team that is back in the NCAA Tournament.
Freeman, a former Olympic standout, leads the team averaging 15.4 points per game this season. He had 21 points in the second round ACC tournament loss loss to Boston College last week.
Dorn, a former Vance star, averages 14 points per game. And Batts, Jr., a former Jay M. Robinson all-state guard who originally committed to VCU, has been a key reserve for the Wolfpack (21-11) all season.
Former North Mecklenburg star C.J. Bryce is also on the Wolfpack roster, but is redshirting after transferring from UNC Wilmington last year.
Opening Round matchup: No. 9 N.C. State-seed vs. No. 8-seed Seton Hall, Thursday, March 15 at 4:30 in Wichita.
CJ Jackson, Ohio State (Olympic)
The 6-foot-1 junior point guard averages 12 points, four assists and four rebounds per game for the Buckeyes this year.
Jackson, a former Olympic star, one of his best games in Ohio State’s (24-8) regular season finale against Indiana, where he scored 13 points, including the game-winner in the 80-78 double overtime thriller.
Opening Round matchup: No. 5-seed Ohio State vs. No. 12-seed South Dakota State, Thursday, March 15 at 4 p.m. in Boise.
Desean Murray, Auburn (Northside Christian/East Gaston)
The Auburn junior forward has started all 32 games for the Tigers (25-7) this season, averaging 10 points and seven rebounds, playing the forward position at 6-foot-3. He had 15 points and eight rebounds in Auburn’s SEC quarterfinal loss (81-63) to Alabama, March 9.
Opening Round matchup: No. 4 Auburn-seed vs. No. 13-seed Charleston, Friday, March 16 at 7:27 p.m. in San Diego.
Ebuka Izundu, Miami, FL (Victory Christian)
The 6-foot-10, 230-pound centermhas played a key role off the bench in all 31 Hurricane games this season, averaging five points and four rebounds per game.
Opening Round matchup: No. 6-seed Miami (FL) vs. No. 11-seed Loyola-Chicago, Thursday, March 15 at 3:10 p.m. in Dallas.
Davion Mintz (North Mecklenburg) and Ty-Shon Alexander (Concord/Northside Christian/Oak Hill), Creighton
The Creighton duo both play key roles for a Bluejays’ team (21-11) that finished third in the Big East conference.
Mintz, a former North Mecklenburg standout, is a starting, sophomore point guard that averages six points and three assists per game. Mintz had 14 points and six assists in Creighton’s 72-68 overtime loss to Providence in the Big East tournament quarterfinals.
Alexander, a former Concord and Northside Christian player, is averaging six points and two rebounds per game as a freshman off the bench.
Opening Round matchup: No. 8-seed Creighton vs. No. 9-seed Kansas State, Friday March 16, at 6:50 p.m. in Charlotte.
Kishawn Pritchett (Lake Norman), Rusty Reigel (Charlotte Latin), Jordan Watkins (Providence Day), Bates Jones (Charlotte Latin), Davidson
Four of the 16 players on the Davidson’s basketball roster have Charlotte-area high school ties as the Wildcats return to the NCAA Tournament since 2015.
Pritchett (6 ppg, 3.5 apg), a former Lake Norman standout, and Reigel (4 ppg), a former Charlotte Latin star both play key roles for Davidson (21-11).
Pritchett a 6-foot-6 sophomore starter, had nine points in the Wildcats 58-57 victory over Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 (A-10) championship game that clinched their NCAA berth. Reigel had 10 points and eight assists in Davidson’s A-10 semifinal victory over St. Bonaventure.
Watkins, a senior and former Providence Day star, has appeared in 16 games for the Wildcats this season (1.8 ppg); and Jones, a freshman and former Charlotte Latin standout forward, has played in 18 games this year (0.9 ppg).
Opening Round matchup: No. 12-seed Davidson vs. No. 5-seed Kentucky, Thursday, March 15, at 7:10 p.m. in Boise.
Jaylen McManus (North Mecklenburg) and Jermaine Blackburn Jr (Davidson Day), College of Charleston
McManus, the former North Mecklenburg forward, appeared in all 33 games this season for the Cougars (26-7), averaging 3.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 15 minutes of action per game.
McManus, a 6-foot-7 forward, had two rebounds in Charleston’s NCAA Tournament clinching victory in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship game win (83-76) over Northeastern.
Blackburn Jr. has appeared in two games this season.
Opening Round matchup: No. 13 Charleston-seed vs. No. 4-seed Auburn, Friday, March 16 at 7:27 p.m. in San Diego.
Melvin Massey (West Charlotte), Justin Jordan (Davidson Day), UNC-Greensboro
The UNC Greensboro duo are both reserve guards for a Spartan team (27-7) that is making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2001 and third overall in school history.
Massey, a former West Charlotte standout, appeared in 26 games, averaging four points per game.
Jordan, a former Davidson Day star and Michael Jordan’s nephew, has played in 20 games this year, averaging one point.
Opening Round matchup: No. 13-seed UNC Greensboro vs. No. 4-seed Gonzaga, Thursday, March 15 at 1:30 p.m. in Boise.
Devin Cooper (Ardrey Kell), Radford
The former, Ardrey Kell standout is a reserve sophomore guard on the first Radford team (22-12) to make the NCAA Tournament since 2009.
Cooper is averaging one point, 0.5 rebounds per game in six appearances for the Highlanders (22-12)
Opening Round matchup: No. 16-seed Radford vs. No. 16-seed Long Island Brooklyn (play-in game) on Tuesday, March 13, in Dayton, OH.