The NCAA basketball system is just about to get under way, we just need to survive Halloween, daylight savings, and election day–easier said than done, we know. Think of it as dessert after eating your veggies and, well, tons of free candy. There are quite a few young men and women taking the court this season, but there are definitely a few worth watching more than others. Here are our top players to keep an eye on this year.

R.J. Barrett | Duke | Guard

Barrett is a beast on the court, and he was the easy choice for literally everybody’s top prospect this season. Canadian by birth, he absolutely wrecked the US Americans at FIBA Under-19 World Cup, so we did the only thing we could. We stole him.

Kelsey Mitchell | Ohio State | Guard

Mitchell may be relatively small at 5’8, but she makes up for it in pure passion. No other player can take over a game so absolutely, and with an unmatched aggression that leaves all of her opponents in the dust–or in tears.

Grant Williams | Tennessee | Forward

Williams was the SEC Player of the Year last season — and rightfully so. Nobody gets boards like he does on offense, and he is one of the hardest players to defend from anywhere on the court. An early favorite for Player of the Year.

A’Ja Wilson | South Carolina | Forward

The female SEC Player of the Year the last two years, Wilson is an absolute giant at 6’5. But she isn’t the type of player to just let her size do the work, she has technique, athleticism, and a fire that is tough to match. Possibly the best female in all of basketball period, let alone the NCAA.

Luke Maye | North Carolina | Forward

Maye is the type of player you have to root for. Starting as a walk-on who averaged 1.2 points in 5.6 minutes per game as a freshman before forcing his way onto the court last season and crushing 6.9 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 32.3 minutes per game.

Katie Lou Samuelson | UConn | Guard/Forward

At 6’3, you could be forgiven if you think Samuelson simply barrels her way inside using her size. You’d be wrong, however. One of the most accurate shots from outside, she drains threes like they’re layups.

Carsen Edwards | Purdue | Guard

Easily among the favorites, if not THE favorite, to win Player of the Year, Edwards has a legit shot at averaging 20 or more points per game this season. With a presence on the court that can’t be denied, he’s Purdue’s not-so-secret weapon — and their only hope.

Jordin Canada | UCLA | Guard

Canada single handedly put UCLA back into contention, and she is hoping to do a lot more this year. Her leadership is worth more than her talent–which is saying something, because she runs the court like nobody else.

Caleb Martin | Nevada | Forward

Averaging nearly 19 points per game last season, Martin breezed his way to the top of the Mountain West Conference last season. We’re betting that he goes even higher this year, given that he passed on the NBA Draft in order to take Nevada to the next level and into the Final Four.

Napheesa Collier | UConn | Forward

So yeah, we have two ladies from UConn on this list. But Collier is the more accurate of the pair, averaging more than 20 points per game last season while missing fewer than four shots per game. No, that isn’t a typo. In addition to his prolific offense, Collier is a master at stuffing opponents and making them eat the ball whenever they try to get one by. So does anybody doubt that UConn is going to win it this year?

(Cropped image courtesy of Eric Wong via Flickr. | CC BY-ND 2.0)