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Mavericks draft prospects to watch in the NCAA tournament, Part 1

Mavs fans have plenty of reasons to tune in to all the Madness in March, catching all the best of the NBA draft.

NCAA Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Gonzaga vs Saint Mary’s Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Whether or not you’re a college basketball fan, a basketball fan, heck even a sports fan at all, there are few events greater than the NCAA Tournament. Even if you’re just a Mavericks fan and want nothing to do with the adrenaline rush of March Madness, there’s still reason to watch.

Virtually nowhere else do you get the chance to watch nearly every NBA prospect gathered in one collective place, with all the high stakes you could want. So if you need a watching guide to some of the more interesting first and second round prospects that the Dallas Mavericks should be keeping their eye on, this is your place.

Ian Miler and Jordan Brodess are here to give you some quick insight into interesting first round matchups. We promise it won’t just be the obvious least not yet. Let’s dive in!

East Region

First Round Prospect: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech)

3/22 vs St. Louis - 8:57 CT, truTV

IAN: The cousin of last year’s lottery pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nickeil Alexander-Walker (or NAW) has a similar physical profile to the former Kentucky and current Clipper guard, at 6’5 with a 6’10 wingspan. There are a few key differences in their games, however, with NAW as a better shooter, while Shai is the better athlete. NAW has a better build at this stage, though strength match ups can still give him trouble when playing bigger guard/wings. Alexander-Walker could be a great fit in Dallas as tall combo-guard who can shoot, offer secondary play-making, and guard multiple positions with a high steal rate.

Second Round Prospect: Dylan Windler (Belmont)

3/21 vs Maryland - 2:10 CT, truTV

JORDAN: Perhaps lesser known to casual college basketball fans, the 6’8 200 lb. Windler could announce himself emphatically on a national stage. A senior with a lethal left-handed shot from deep has helped lead a dynamic Belmont squad to an at-large bid, already defeating Temple Tuesday night. He had a 12-game stretch recently where he put 27 points and 12 rebounds while hitting 49 percent from deep (if he gets hot, tune in). Windler, with averages of 21 points and 11 rebounds while shooting nearly 43 percent from three this year, has NBA size, a high release shot, and the fundamentals to make it in the league. He’d fit well coming off the bench in Dallas next year as a marksman.

West Region

First Round Prospect: Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga)

3/21 vs Fairleigh Dickinson - 6:10 CT, truTV

JORDAN: There are plenty of players to watch on this dominant Gonzaga squad, and one of the key cogs to their success is big man Rui Hachimura. The 6’8 230 lb junior is a dynamic athlete that is still young in his development (he started playing at 14). He’s light on his feet, strong in the paint, and has a solid mid-range. It would be nice if he could stretch out to the three-point line (he’s hit 15 of 32 this season, small sample size), but his athletic versatility would make him an intriguing fit next to Kristaps Porzingis next season — though most projections have him moving in and out of the lottery.

Second Round Prospect: Charles Matthews (Michigan)

3/21 vs Montana - 8:20 CT, TNT

IAN: Matthews is a part of a very deep Michigan team, filled with guys who play hard and defend their butts off. There aren’t many perimeter defenders in the country better than Charles, who somehow didn’t make the Big Ten’s All-Defensive Squad (a total joke). There was hope the Senior and Kentucky transfer would eventually turn into a 3&D type wing, like another Matthews Mavs’ fans are familiar with, but the 3 part of that equation hasn’t exactly materialized. After a solid start to his season, Matthews finished the year with numbers pretty close to his career averages. Offensively he may not be able to bring much of a role to the table, but if he makes the next level it will be because of his defense.

Part two will run tomorrow morning before the Friday games kick off!