Matas Buzelis, Kyle Filipowski, Jared McCain Enter 2024 Draft

A trio of projected 2024 first-round picks have announced their intent to enter this year’s NBA draft. The highest-rated of those three prospects, G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis, informed ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski of his decision.

In past years, players who joined the Ignite became automatically draft-eligible after their first season or during the calendar year in which they turned 19, but the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement tweaked that rule so that those prospects now won’t become draft-eligible until they enter of their own accord or until the calendar year when they turn 22. That’s why Buzelis has to declare for the draft.

The No. 6 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Buzelis had an up-and-down year in the G League for an Ignite team that posted a dismal 2-32 regular season record. Buzelis, who dealt with some ankle issues earlier in the season, appeared in 26 of those games, averaging 14.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 32.0 minutes per contest.

According to Wojnarowski’s report, the 6’10” forward showed “dramatic” improvement on the defensive end in the second half, impressing NBA evaluators who were already high on his shooting and play-making abilities. He also participated in the Rising Stars event in Indianapolis at All-Star weekend.

A pair of Duke prospects have also confirmed that they’re entering the 2024 draft. Sophomore forward/center Kyle Filipowski made his announcement in an Instagram post, while freshman guard Jared McCain did so in an Instagram video.

Neither Blue Devil indicated that he’ll retain his college eligibility and test the waters, so it sounds like they’ll both go pro. That doesn’t come as a surprise — Filipowski ranks 16th overall on ESPN’s board, while McCain is at No. 19.

Filipowski increased his scoring average to 16.4 points per game in his second college season while also improving his shooting efficiency (.505 FG%, .348 3PT%). That more reliable outside shot makes the seven-footer a valued prospect even though he doesn’t have ideal length of athleticism for an NBA center, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

As for McCain, he averaged 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 31.6 minutes per game as a full-time starter for Duke in his first and only college season. He also knocked down an impressive 41.4% of 5.8 three-pointers per game while making 77-of-87 free throws (88.5%).

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