Tyler Kolek

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.

Baylor’s Missi, Marquette’s Kolek Entering 2024 Draft

Baylor center Yves Missi, a projected first-round pick who is ranked No. 20 on ESPN’s latest big board, is declaring for the 2024 draft and forgoing his remaining college eligibility, he told Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

As Givony writes, Missi didn’t start playing organized basketball November 2021, when he moved from Cameroon to the U.S. at age 16 to play high school ball. As a freshman for the Bears in 2023/24, Missi averaged 10.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 1.5 BPG in 34 games (22.9 MPG).

An explosive athlete, Missi is “one of the most physically gifted” prospects in the 2024 draft class, Givony says, with “significant potential” on the defensive end. Missi said he wants to show is game more well-rounded than he was able to show in college.

NBA teams will be able to see in the pre-draft process how fast I’m learning, especially since I’m new to the game,” Missi said. “They will see my ability to shoot and ball-handling, which is something they didn’t necessarily see much of this year.”

Marquette point guard Tyler Kolek, another possible first-round pick who is ranked No. 29 on ESPN’s board, is also entering the draft and forgoing his final year of college eligibility, he announced on social media (Twitter link).

Kolek had an impressive senior season for the Golden Eagles, averaging 15.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 7.7 APG and 1.6 SPG on .496/.388/.851 shooting in 31 games (33.0 MPG). According to Givony, Kolek has some physical limitations, but he’s an excellent ball-handler and passer who consistently brings energy and toughness — Givony compares him to Pacers guard T.J. McConnell.

And-Ones: Howard, Harkless, 2024 Draft, Buzelis

Former NBA star Dwight Howard is exploring potential opportunities in Europe and Australia in the hopes of playing his way back to the NBA, reports Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com. As Urbonas explains, if Howard were to sign with a team in the EuroLeague or Australia’s National Basketball League, he’d look to include an NBA out clause in his contract.

Howard, who played in Taiwan last season, met with Golden State in September, but the Warriors opted not to sign him. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is facing sexual assault and battery allegations and is seeking to dismiss a civil lawsuit in Georgia related to those allegations.

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

  • Veteran NBA forward Maurice Harkless signed a G League contract and has been acquired from the available player pool by the Rip City Remix, the Trail Blazers‘ affiliate (Twitter link). Harkless, a first-round pick in 2012, appeared in 621 NBA regular season games across 10 years, but wasn’t in the league last season. He’s just just 30 years old and will be looking to show with the Remix that he deserves a call-up.
  • In their latest dispatch on the 2024 draft class, Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN.com (Insider link) identify Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard and Iowa State’s Milan Momcilovic as the most surprising NCAA freshmen so far this season and single out several prospects who have boosted their stock in November, including Arizona’s Keshad Johnson, Marquette’s Tyler Kolek, and Marquette’s Oso Ighodaro.
  • G League Ignite prospect Matas Buzelis, a contender for the No. 1 spot in the 2024 NBA draft, has yet to make his season debut in the NBAGL’s Showcase Cup due to an ankle injury. The Ignite have taken a cautious approach with Buzelis, according to Woo, who hears from a source that the 6’10” point forward is nearing a return and could play this weekend.