March Madness is only as memorable as the individual performances delivered within. For instance, we remember legendary March showings from the likes of Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker and Danny Manning just as much as we remember those BYU, UConn or Kansas teams on which they played. 

Not only has the 2024 NCAA Tournament delivered big upsets, shocking moments and fun finishes, but several players have used this platform to launch themselves into a different stratosphere of recognition.

So before we brush the first weekend of this great tournament aside and start previewing what is ahead (trust me, we will do plenty of that!), let's first take a moment to tip our caps to those who made the first weekend of this year's March Madness so magical. 

First team

Zach Edey, Purdue: Purdue's star center set records in the first weekend, becoming the first player with more than 50 points, 35 rebounds and a field goal percentage above 65% through two NCAA Tournament games since Lew Alcindor in 1968. He has 53 points, 35 rebounds and six blocks in two blowout wins for the Boilermakers.

Donovan Clingan, UConn: Neither Stetson nor Northwestern had answers for Clingan in the first two games. He had 19 points in 20 minutes against the Hatters in Round, and the Huskies standout followed that up with 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks in 27 minutes against the Wildcats in Round 2. Clingan is just the fourth player since tournament expansion to have at least 14 rebounds and eight blocks in a game, joining the likes of Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Cole Aldrich.

Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois: No one has so much as made Illinois sweat so far. Shannon Jr. has dominated for the Illini with 26- and 30-point outings against Morehead State and Duquesne, respectively. He has scored 20 or more in six consecutive games and enters the second weekend as one of the hottest players left in the field.

Tyler Kolek, Marquette: After missing six games with an oblique injury, Kolek showed no signs of rust in his return combining for 39 points and 22 assists in two wins to open the tourney for Marquette. His offensive playmaking and pest-like behavior on defense is a dimension the Golden Eagles sorely missed. His return has lifted them back into status as a legitimate Final Four contender.

Mark Sears, Alabama: Sears has been a superhero for Bama, dragging the Tide to two wins in three days while averaging 28 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in that stretch. He is the first player to average at least 25/8/5 in the first weekend since Caron Butler in 2002, according to CBS Sports Research.

Second team

Jared McCain, Duke: McCain's shot-making helped Duke sink the Dukes of James Madison in Round 2. He made his first six 3-point attempts and had 22 points by halftime, finishing with 30 points on 8-of-11 shooting from distance.

Jaedon LeDee, San Diego State: San Diego State throttled Yale on Sunday as LeDee continued his dominance this postseason. He's up to 58 points and 17 rebounds on 20-of-30 shooting in the NCAAs and is a perfect 3 of 3 from 3-point range to boot. 

RJ Davis, North Carolina: Davis has been Mr. Steady for UNC in its run to the Sweet 16. He scored 22 and 20 in wins over Wagner and Michigan State, respectively. He's shooting 50% from 3-point range on 14 attempts in the NCAA Tournament and 54% from the field. 

Dalton Knecht, Tennessee: The SEC Player of the Year scored 23 and 18 in wins over Saint Peter's and Texas to lead the Volunteers into the second weekend. Knecht has Tennessee one win away from its second-ever Elite Eight appearance.

DJ Burns, NC State: NC State's unlikely run to the Sweet 16 has been fueled by its big man in the paint. Burns is averaging 20 points in the NCAA Tournament and was impactful on both ends against Oakland in Round 2. He scored 24 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out two assists and had one block.

Honorable mentions

Caleb Love, Arizona: Someone has to be recognized from this lethal Arizona team, and Love has been the most prolific scorer thus far. He scored 37 points across two games against Long Beach State and Dayton and has been impactful as a rebounder and facilitator.

Jack Gohlke, Oakland: No. 14 seed Oakland knocked off No. 3 seed Kentucky in the first round behind Gohlke's 32-point outing. He reached that point total without a single 2-point field goal, shooting 10 of 20 from 3-point range. Gohlke followed that up with six more 3s in the second round to bring his tally to 16, setting a record for the most through two games in NCAA Tournament history.

Jeremaine Couisnard, Oregon: Oregon rolled past South Carolina in Round 1 behind Couisnard's 40 points and nearly took down No. 3 seed Creighton in double overtime with him leading the way, too. He finished with 32 points and eight boards against the Bluejays and tallied 72 points across two games, the most by any player in the first two games of the NCAA Tournament since 1990.

Anton Watson, Gonzaga: Gonzaga has mauled two really good teams -- first McNeese, then Kansas -- to reach the Sweet 16 with Watson leading the way in the frontcourt. He has 34 points and 19 rebounds in two games this tournament.

Emanuel Sharp, Houston: With most of Houston's roster in foul trouble and the Cougars on the ropes against Texas A&M in the second round, Sharp turned in an epic 30-point explosion to lift his team past the Aggies. That set a new career-high for the sophomore behind seven 3-pointers.