Reece Beekman

NBA Announces 78 Invitees For 2024 Draft Combine

The NBA announced today (via Twitter) that 78 prospects have been invited to attend this year’s draft combine, which will take place in Chicago from May 12-19.

In addition to those 78 players, a handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which is also held in Chicago just before the combine begins, are expected to receive invites to stick around for the main event.

Not all of the prospects invited to the combine will end up remaining in the 2024 draft pool, since some are early entrants who are testing the waters while retaining their NCAA eligibility. College players must withdraw from the draft by the end of the day on May 29 if they wish to preserve that eligibility, while non-college players face a decision deadline of June 16. The feedback they receive from NBA teams at the combine may be a deciding factor for players who are on the fence.

Here’s the list of players who have been invited to the 2024 draft combine:

(Note: For players in international leagues, the country listed is where they had been playing, not necessarily where they’re from.)

  1. Michael Ajayi, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  2. Melvin Ajinca, G/F, France (born 2004)
  3. Trey Alexander, G, Creighton (junior)
  4. Izan Almansa, F, G League Ignite (born 2005)
  5. Reece Beekman, G, Virginia (senior)
  6. Adem Bona, F/C, UCLA (sophomore)
  7. Trevon Brazile, F, Arkansas (sophomore)
  8. Jalen Bridges, F, Baylor (senior)
  9. Matas Buzelis, F, G League Ignite (born 2004)
  10. Carlton Carrington, G, Pitt (freshman)
  11. Devin Carter, G, Providence (junior)
  12. Stephon Castle, G, UConn (freshman)
  13. Ulrich Chomche, C, NBA Academy Africa (born 2005)
  14. Cam Christie, G, Minnesota (freshman)
  15. Nique Clifford, G, Colorado State (senior)
  16. Donovan Clingan, C, UConn (sophomore)
  17. Isaiah Collier, G, USC (freshman)
  18. Tristan Da Silva, F, Colorado (senior)
  19. Pacome Dadiet, G/F, Germany (born 2005)
  20. N’Faly Dante, C, Oregon (super-senior)
  21. Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  22. Nikola Djurisic, G/F, Serbia (born 2004)
  23. Ryan Dunn, F, Virginia (sophomore)
  24. Zach Edey, C, Purdue (senior)
  25. Justin Edwards, G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  26. Kyle Filipowski, F/C, Duke (sophomore)
  27. Trentyn Flowers, G/F, Australia (born 2005)
  28. Johnny Furphy, G/F, Kansas (freshman)
  29. Kyshawn George, G/F, Miami (FL) (freshman)
  30. Tyon Grant-Foster, G, Grand Canyon (senior)
  31. PJ Hall, C, Clemson (senior)
  32. Coleman Hawkins, F, Illinois (senior)
  33. Ron Holland, F, G League Ignite (born 2005)
  34. DaRon Holmes II, F, Dayton (junior)
  35. Ariel Hukporti, C, Germany (born 2002)
  36. Oso Ighodaro, F, Marquette (senior)
  37. Harrison Ingram, F, UNC (junior)
  38. Bronny James, G, USC (freshman)
  39. A.J. Johnson, G, Australia (born 2004)
  40. Keshad Johnson, F, Arizona (super-senior)
  41. David Jones, F, Memphis (senior)
  42. Dillon Jones, F, Weber State (senior)
  43. Ryan Kalkbrenner, C, Creighton (senior)
    • Note: Kalkbrenner indicated this week that he intends to return to school, so it’s unclear if he’ll continue to go through the pre-draft process.
  44. Alex Karaban, F, UConn (sophomore)
  45. Bobi Klintman, F, Australia (born 2003)
  46. Dalton Knecht, G, Tennessee (super-senior)
  47. Tyler Kolek, G, Marquette (senior)
  48. Pelle Larsson, G, Arizona (senior)
  49. Jared McCain, G, Duke (freshman)
  50. Kevin McCullar, G, Kansas (super-senior)
  51. Yves Missi, C, Baylor (freshman)
  52. Ajay Mitchell, G, UC Santa Barbara (junior)
  53. Jonathan Mogbo, F/C, San Francisco (senior)
  54. Tristen Newton, G, UConn (super-senior)
  55. Juan Nunez, G, Germany (born 2004)
  56. Quinten Post, F/C, Boston College (super-senior)
  57. Antonio Reeves, G, Kentucky (super-senior)
  58. Zaccharie Risacher, F, France (born 2005)
  59. Jaxson Robinson, G/F, BYU (senior)
  60. Tidjane Salaun, F, France (born 2005)
  61. Hunter Sallis, G, Wake Forest (junior)
  62. Payton Sandfort, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  63. Alexandre Sarr, F/C, Australia (born 2005)
  64. Baylor Scheierman, G/F, Creighton (super-senior)
  65. Mark Sears, G, Alabama (senior)
  66. Terrence Shannon, G, Illinois (super-senior)
  67. Jamal Shead, G, Houston (senior)
  68. Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. KJ Simpson, G, Colorado (junior)
  70. Tyler Smith, F, G League Ignite (born 2004)
  71. Cam Spencer, G, UConn (super-senior)
  72. Nikola Topic, G, Serbia (born 2005)
  73. JT Toppin, F, New Mexico (freshman)
  74. Jaylon Tyson, G, California (junior)
  75. Ja’Kobe Walter, G, Baylor (freshman)
  76. Kel’el Ware, C, Indiana (sophomore)
  77. Jamir Watkins, G/F, Florida State (junior)
  78. Cody Williams, F, Colorado (freshman)

It’s worth noting that the NBA and the NBPA agreed to a few combine-related changes in their latest Collective Bargaining Agreement. Here are a few of those changes:

  • A player who is invited to the draft combine and declines to attend without an excused absence will be ineligible to be drafted. He would become eligible the following year by attending the combine. There will be exceptions made for a player whose FIBA season is ongoing, who is injured, or who is dealing with a family matter (such as a tragedy or the birth of a child).
  • Players who attend the draft combine will be required to undergo physical exams, share medical history, participate in strength, agility, and performance testing, take part in shooting drills, receive anthropometric measurements, and conduct interviews with teams and the media. Scrimmages won’t be mandatory.
  • Medical results from the combine will be distributed to select teams based on where the player is projected to be drafted. Only teams drafting in the top 10 would get access to medical info for the projected No. 1 pick; teams in the top 15 would receive medical info for players in the 2-6 range, while teams in the top 25 would get access to info for the players in the 7-10 range.

Regarding that last point, Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link) has the details on the top 10 played out this year, noting that the composite ranking was generated based on a combination of publicly available rankings and feedback from a panel of experts, as well as a retained-scouting service.

Sarr is considered the No. 1 overall prospect, per Givony, so only teams drafting in the top 10 will get access to his medicals. Buzelis, Castle, Clingan, Risacher, and Topic are in the 2-6 range, while Dillingham, Holland, Knecht, and Sheppard round out the top 10.

Draft Notes: Furphy, Beekman, More Early Entrants, NTX Combine

Following a promising freshman season at Kansas, Jayhawks wing Johnny Furphy has announced that he’ll enter the 2024 NBA draft while retaining his NCAA eligibility (Twitter link).

Starting 19 of the 33 games he played in his first college season, Furphy averaged 9.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in 24.1 minutes per contest, with a shooting line of .466/.352/.765. He’s viewed as a potential first-round pick if he keeps his name in this year’s draft, coming in at No. 28 on ESPN’s big board.

Whether or not he decides to go pro, it figures to be an eventful summer for Furphy, who was included on Australia’s 22-man preliminary roster for the 2024 Olympics. While he may not make the 12-man roster for Paris, Furphy’s inclusion signals that the Boomers view him as a key part of the national team going forward.

Here are several more draft-related updates:

Draft Decisions: A. Jackson, Edey, Beekman, More

Andre Jackson Jr., who helped lead Connecticut to a national title, has opted to keep his name in the draft rather than return to the Huskies for another season, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Jackson is projected to be taken late in the first round or early in the second round, Wojnarowski adds. The junior shooting guard ranks 32nd on ESPN’s big board and is projected to go to the Pacers with the 32nd pick in the latest mock draft by Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

“My time at UCONN has been filled with ups and downs but through it all I built relationships with my teammates, coaches, friends and fans that will last forever,” Jackson wrote in a Twitter post. “I’ve made so many memories playing in that jersey and I will miss it. But I’ll always be a husky. Thank you.”

Jackson averaged 6.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.3 steals in six tournament games and was believed to have raised his draft stock significantly, although questions remain about his outside shooting. He took part in the draft combine and went through individual workouts with several teams, including the Hawks, Celtics, Nets, Pacers and Trail Blazers, according to Wojnarowski.

Dozens of draft decisions were announced Wednesday ahead of the 11:59 pm EDT deadline to return to school without losing eligibility. Most late deciders opted to pull out of the draft, but a few prominent names will remain in the pool. They are:

National Player of the Year Zach Edey will withdraw from the draft and return to Purdue for another year, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN. The 7’4″ center averaged 22.9 points and 12.9 rebounds as a junior while shooting 60.7% from the field. Even so, his draft status wasn’t certain as he’s No. 47 in the ESPN rankings.

Another prominent player pulling out of the draft is Virginia’s Reece Beekman, the ACC’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Givony reports. Beekman hopes to boost his draft stock for 2024 after coming in at 43rd in ESPN’s rankings. “I’ve decided to go back to UVA to work towards being a first-round draft pick next year and finish my degree,” he said.

Here are some more players who decided late Wednesday to take their names out of the draft:

NBA Reveals Players Expected At 2023 Draft Combine

The NBA has announced 78 players that are expected to attend this year’s draft combine, scheduled for May 15-21 at in Chicago, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets.

Additionally, a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which takes place May 13-14 in Chicago, will be invited to participate in the combine.

Players will have interviews with NBA teams and participate in five-on-five scrimmages, as well as shooting, strength and agility drills. Some top prospects opt out of the scrimmages.

Victor Wembanyama, the projected top pick, is not on the list. His French League season is still ongoing.

The list of invitees is as follows:

Gradey Dick, Colby Jones, Others Declare For NBA Draft

Kansas freshman guard Gradey Dick announced on ESPN’s NBA Today on Friday that he has decided to enter the 2023 NBA draft and go pro, forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Dick had a solid year in his first and only college season, averaging 14.1 PPG and 5.1 RPG with a shooting line of .442/.403/.854 in 36 games (32.7 MPG) for the Jayhawks. He projects as a potential lottery pick, according to Givony, who has Dick ranked at No. 11 on his latest big board. Givony describes the 6’8″ wing as a player with “a high floor and plenty of upside left to tap into.”

Meanwhile, Xavier guard Colby Jones announced on Instagram that he’ll declare for the draft following a junior year in which he put up 15.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 4.4 APG with solid shooting percentages of 50.9% from the floor and 37.8% on three-pointers. He’ll forgo his remaining eligibility and go pro too, he confirms to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

Givony, who has Jones ranked 29th overall at ESPN, writes that his “passing ability and all-around feel for the game” are two of his most appealing traits as a prospect, adding that he has also shown defensive toughness.

Finally, Houston guard Marcus Sasser also intends to enter the draft and it sounds like he’ll forgo his final year of eligibility. The announcement he made on Instagram includes no indication that he’s leaving the door open to return to school.

Sasser averaged 17.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, and 2.8 RPG on .438/.399/.826 shooting across 48 games (31.1 MPG) during his final two years with the Cougars. He currently comes in as the No. 36 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list.

Here are more of the prospects who recently declared for the 2023 draft:

Expected to remain in draft:

Testing the draft waters:

And-Ones: Embiid, French National Team, 2023 Draft, Henderson

A native of Cameroon, Sixers star Joel Embiid also has U.S. and French citizenship, meaning his choice of which country to represent in international play will have a major impact on what the field looks like at the 2024 Olympics. Teaming up with Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama would give France the world’s best frontcourt and make Les Bleus a legitimate gold medal threat.

Speaking to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Gobert was asked about the possibility of Embiid joining the French national team and said he’d welcome the addition of the MVP runner-up. However, Gobert’s answer wasn’t unequivocal, and he said he doesn’t plan to personally recruit Embiid.

“For me the most important thing is if his heart tells him to be a part of Team France,” Gobert told Vardon. “I want him to do it for the right reasons. As long as he understands that the French national team is different than the NBA. We have rules, we have things that we do. Sometimes we all have lunch and dinner together — it’s not everybody doing their own thing. These are two different teams.

“But I think the main thing for us, for him and for me is that I want to make sure that he does it from his heart. And if he does that, I think he would be an amazing addition for our team. … It has to come from him. You are either all in, or you’re not. You can’t just show up.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The latest 2023 mock draft from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) moves Alabama’s Brandon Miller up to No. 7 and Arkansas’ Anthony Black up to No. 11. Reece Beekman has also moved into the first round, with Givony observing that the Virgina guard’s defensive ability gives him a “very high floor.”
  • Beekman also earned a spot on John Hollinger’s list at The Athletic of 10 returning NCAA players who have impressed him as potential NBA prospects. Iowa’s Kris Murray, Illinois’ Terrence Shannon, and Xavier’s Colby Jones are among the other college standouts singled out by Hollinger.
  • Mirin Fader of The Ringer takes an in-depth look at the consensus No. 2 prospect in the 2023 draft class, profiling rising G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson.
  • The NBA is now allowing sovereign wealth funds to invest in its franchises as minority stakeholders. Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic explains exactly what that means and lays out why it might be risky, noting that the league could have to make decisions on sovereign wealth funds associated with autocratic countries.