Draft Notes: 2024 Mocks, Withdrawals, Sheppard, Traore

Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN (Insider link) recently published a new 2024 mock draft that features lots of interesting information.

Former Dayton star DaRon Holmes II has canceled several upcoming workouts, sources tell Woo, “raising strong suspicions that he has secured a guarantee in the back part of the first round.” The mock has Holmes, who is ranked No. 45 on ESPN’s big board, going No. 28 overall to the Nuggets.

According to Givony, rival teams think the Trail Blazers, Grizzlies and Bulls have interest in moving up in the draft — possibly to No. 3, a pick the Rockets control — to select UConn center Donovan Clingan.

While the Hawks haven’t made their intentions known regarding the No. 1 pick, each team in the top five has “significant interest” in French forward Zaccharie Risacher, who looks “highly unlikely” to fall past the Wizards at No. 2, per Givony. ESPN’s mock has Atlanta selecting Risacher first overall.

The entire mock draft is worth reading in full for those who subscribe to ESPN+.

Here are a few more draft notes:

  • In a separate article for ESPN (Insider link), Givony and Woo answer questions related to the early-entrant withdrawal deadline for college players to maintain their NCAA eligibility. That deadline passed on Wednesday night. Of the players who withdrew from the draft, Givony thinks Michael Ajayi (transferring to Gonzaga) has a great chance to improve his stock in 2025, while Woo views Alabama’s Jarin Stevenson as a player who could move up boards next year.
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report also updated his mock draft after the withdrawal deadline. While the top-three picks (Risacher, Alexandre Sarr and Reed Sheppard) are the same on both mocks, there are also some major differences. For example, ESPN’s mock has Colorado’s Cody Williams landing with Portland at No. 14, but Wasserman has Detroit selecting Williams at No. 5. Kel’el Ware (No. 23 in ESPN’s mock, No. 14 in Bleacher Report’s) is another player with a seemingly wide draft range.
  • Kentucky guard Sheppard recently sat down for an interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter video link), answering questions about his family background, NBA players he looks up to, and more.
  • French guard Nolan Traore, who spent this season with Saint-Quentin in France’s top basketball division, has signed a two-year extension, the team announced (via Twitter). ESPN’s Givony was the first to report the news, writing that Traore was being recruited by major colleges as well as other professional teams from around the world. “Basketball-wise, it’s the best situation for me,” Traore told Givony. “I can play with a coach that I know, that gave me the confidence to play in the playoffs. I liked the first experience that I had with them. Playing in the FIBA Champions League [BCL] group stage next season will be exciting and was a big positive.” The 17-year-old is a projected lottery pick in 2025, according to Givony, who adds that Traore will be ranked in the top five when ESPN updates its mock draft for next year.
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