Ugonna Onyenso

UConn’s Karaban Among Prospects Withdrawing From NBA Draft

After winning a pair of national championships as a starting forward at UConn, Alex Karaban will return to the Huskies for his junior year in search of a third consecutive title, he announced today (via Twitter).

The No. 36 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Karaban had been testing the NBA draft waters but will withdraw his name from the 2024 pool in order to retain his college eligibility. He averaged 13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 31.4 minutes per game as a redshirt sophomore and has made 38.9% of his three-point attempts across his two college seasons.

Big man Ugonna Onyenso, who spent his first two college seasons at Kentucky, has also opted to withdraw from the NBA draft, agent Daniel Hazan tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link).

Onyenso told Givony last month when he initially declared for the draft that he was “100% focused on the NBA” and wasn’t thinking about “coming back to play college basketball.” However, it appears he changed his mind after getting some feedback from teams during the pre-draft process. The No. 68 player on ESPN’s big board is in the transfer portal and still has to determine where to spend his junior season, Givony notes.

Meanwhile, another player on ESPN’s board (at No. 52), Dayton forward DaRon Holmes II has decided to keep his name in the draft and forgo his final year of college eligibility, as he announced on Instagram.

The Atlantic 10’s Defensive Player of the Year and co-Player of the Year in 2023/24, Holmes averaged 20.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.1 blocks in 32.5 minutes per game for the Flyers, posting an impressive shooting line of .544/.386/.713 in 33 games (all starts).

Here are more of today’s draft decisions from early entrants ahead of the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline:

Withdrawing from the draft:

  • Swingman Chibuzo Agbo will transfer from Boise State to USC for his super-senior season (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports).
  • Northwestern swingman Brooks Barnhizer will return to school for his senior season (Twitter link via Jeff Goodman of The Field of 68).
  • Guard Johnell Davis will transfer from Florida Atlantic to Kansas for his super-senior season (Twitter link via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN).
  • Guard Garwey Dual will return to school for his sophomore season. He played at Providence last season but is in the transfer portal now (Twitter link via Givony).
  • St. Joseph’s forward Rasheer Fleming will return to school for his junior season (Twitter link via Rothstein).
  • Clemson guard Chase Hunter will return to school for his super-senior season (Instagram link).
  • Forward Arthur Kaluma will return to school for his senior season. He played at Kansas State last season but is in the transfer portal now (Twitter link via Jeff Borzello of ESPN).
  • Forward Baba Miller will transfer from Florida State to Florida Atlantic for his junior season (Twitter link via Givony).
  • Southern Idaho center Shahid Muhammad will return to school for his junior season (Twitter link via Rothstein).
  • UIC swingman Toby Okani will return to school for his super-senior season (Twitter link via Goodman).

Remaining in the draft:

  • Memphis senior forward David Jones will stay in the draft and forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility (Twitter link via Givony).
  • Bowling Green State sophomore guard JZ Zaher will stay in the draft and forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility (Twitter link via Rothstein).

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Gobert, Turner, Thunder, Blazers

It was a “rough” film session for the Timberwolves on Thursday following their Game 1 loss to Dallas, head coach Chris Finch told reporters, including Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Finch, who spoke post-game about the team’s lack of composure and disappointing performance in clutch moments, was even harsher when he revisited the Game 1 loss a day later.

“I told the guys, ‘It’s been a long time since I’ve been this disappointed in your effort. Your performance, your attitude, your application and attention to detail just wasn’t there,'” Finch said. “The Western Conference finals started. Not sure if they got the memo. But they got it this afternoon.”

According to McMenamin, one team source said Thursday’s session was “about as fired up as he’s ever seen Finch.” The coach’s goal, the source explained, was to encourage his team to recognize what a rare opportunity it is to play in the conference finals and to urge them to increase their urgency and capitalize on that opportunity.

Finch also pointed out that the team’s three home losses in the postseason – Games 3 and 4 vs. Denver and Game 1 vs. Dallas – came after longer-than-usual layoffs, and with the Wolves coming off of big wins.

“I said to our guys, ‘We’re 3-3 at home, and we’ve had two kind of similar performances coming off stints of success,'” Finch said. “There’s a lot of ways immaturity kind of rears its head, and this might be one of them. But they’ve got our attention now, so there’s no reason for us to be feeling ourselves.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • While four-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert gets much of the credit for leading the Timberwolves‘ top-ranked defense, assistant coach Elston Turner is a key under-the-radar contributor as the coordinator of that unit, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Describing the dynamic between Gobert and Turner, Finch took a moment to come up with an appropriate analogy. “Like divorced parents trying to co-parent,” the head coach said with a laugh. “A healthy co-parent. My only caveat to that is they’re not divorced. They’re on the same team.”
  • While there are still holes on the roster, Rylan Stiles of contends that the Thunder can afford to use the No. 12 overall pick in next month’s draft to take a shot on a higher-upside prospect who may be a year or two away from contributing rather than trying to find a win-now player who addresses a current need on the roster.
  • In a separate story for, Stiles wonders if the Thunder should take advantage of their window before paying Chet Holmgren and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander big raises by taking a swing on a veteran star who is owed significant money for the next couple seasons but who may not stay on the books beyond that.
  • Raequan Battle (West Virginia), Adem Bona (UCLA), Arthur Kaluma (Kansas State), Ugonna Onyenso (Kentucky), Will Richard (Florida), and Jaylon Tyson (California) participated in a pre-draft workout for the Trail Blazers on Thursday, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. None of those prospects is likely to receive consideration with Portland’s lottery picks (No. 7 and No. 14), but some could end up as second-round or undrafted free agent targets.

44 Prospects Invited To G League Elite Camp

Forty-four prospects for the 2024 NBA draft were invited to the NBA’s G League Elite Camp, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link).

The list of players is as follows:

The field of draft prospects scrimmage for two days in Chicago starting on May 11 ahead of the NBA’s annual draft combine. If players perform well enough, they’re often promoted to the larger combine immediately following the G League Elite Camp. Typically, at least a half dozen players move on.

While the combine usually focuses on the top-ranked players in each draft class, the G League Elite Camp offers opportunity to prospects further down boards who are more likely to go undrafted. Of the 44 names invited to the G League Elite Camp, only 16 rank among ESPN’s top 100 prospects. No prospect ranks higher than No. 48 (Onyenso) on ESPN’s board.

Nine of ESPN’s top 100 prospects have not been invited to Chicago for either event: Armel Traore (France), Zacharie Perrin (France), Andrija Jelavic (Croatia), Yannick Kraag (Netherlands), Tre Mitchell (Kentucky), Ilias Kamardine (France), Dylan Disu (Texas), Riley Minix (Morehead State) and Jonas Aidoo (Tennessee). According to Givony (Twitter link), the NBA might not announce the official list until Monday, so there’s a chance it’s amended.

The G League Elite Camp will give invitees who declared for the draft as early entrants an opportunity to see where they stand ahead of the draft withdrawal deadline on May 29. Not all of the players who participate in this event will remain in the draft pool.

Last year, future NBA players like Hornets forward Leaky Black, Pistons forward Tosan Evbuomwan, Mavericks forward Alex Fudge, Celtics guard Drew Peterson and Nets guard Jaylen Martin all participated in the event. Other recent notable alums of the event include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado and Clippers guard Terance Mann.

NBA Adds Six More Names To Draft’s Early Entrant List

After announcing on Tuesday that 195 prospects had declared for the 2024 NBA draft as early entrants, the league added six more names to that list on Wednesday, bringing the total number of early entrants to 201 (Twitter link).

The following players also entered the draft prior to last Saturday’s deadline, per the NBA:

Most of those players had been previously reported as early entrants or announced that they intended to enter the draft, then didn’t show up on the NBA’s initial list on Tuesday. Jonathan Givony of ESPN indicated (via Twitter) that a “miscommunication or mishap” at the league office appears to have resulted in them being initially omitted.

[RELATED: 2024 NBA Draft Early Entrants List]

Of the six (re-)additions to the early entrant list, Onyenso is the only one known to be committing forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, per an earlier report from Givony. Some others may end up going pro, but they’re believed to be preserving their college eligibility for now — or their intentions haven’t been reported.

College players have until May 29 to make a decision on whether or not to keep their names in the draft pool or return to school, while international early entrants – or college players not concerned about retaining their NCAA eligibility – face a June 16 withdrawal deadline.

Here are a couple more updates on the 2024 NBA draft pool:

  • Former Florida Atlantic guard Johnell Davis is testing the draft waters and his preference is to go pro, but if he doesn’t like the feedback he gets during the pre-draft process, he has a lucrative fallback option, according to Jeff Goodman of Field of 68 (via Twitter). Davis has committed to Arkansas and will be in line for an NIL deal worth more than $1MM if he opts to use his final year of college eligibility, says Goodman.
  • Creighton big man Ryan Kalkbrenner – who was the No. 52 prospect on ESPN’s big board, according to Givony (Twitter link) – announced on Wednesday (via Twitter) that he plans to return to the Bluejays for his super-senior season. The standout center, who averaged 17.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game in 2023/24, has a chance to win a fourth consecutive Big East Defensive Player of the Year award, Givony notes.

NBA Announces Initial Early Entrant List For 2024 Draft

The NBA has officially released the initial list of early entrants for the 2024 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 195 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 138 are from colleges, 43 had been playing for teams internationally, and 14 were playing non-college ball stateside (ie. the G League or Overtime Elite).

While that early entrant total obviously far exceeds the number of players who will be selected in this year’s draft (58), it’s down significantly from the figures we’ve seen in recent years. A record 353 early entrants initially declared for the draft in 2021, but that number dropped to 283 in 2022 and 242 a year ago. The NCAA’s NIL policy, which allows college athletes to be paid based on their name, image, and likeness, has presumably been a major factor in that trend.

This year’s total of 195 early entrants figures to decline significantly by May 29 and again by June 16, the two deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it’s still likely that the eventual number of early entrants will exceed 58 players. That group will join the college seniors with no remaining eligibility and other automatically eligible players in this year’s draft pool.

Our tracker of early entrants for the 2024 draft is fully up to date and can be found right here.

Here are the changes we made to our tracker today:

Newly added players

College players:

These players either didn’t publicly announce that they were entering the draft or we simply missed it when they did.

International players:

These players weren’t previously mentioned on our list of international early entrants. The country listed here indicates where they last played, not necessarily where they were born.

Other players:

  • Abdullah Ahmed, C, Westchester Knicks (born 2003)
  • Somto Cyril, C, Overtime Elite (born 2005)
  • Reynan Dos Santos, G, Overtime Elite (born 2004)
  • Djordjije Jovanovic, F, Ontario Clippers (born 2003)
  • Jalen Lewis, F/C, Overtime Elite (born 2005)
  • Malique Lewis, F, Mexico City Capitanes (born 2004)
  • Babacar Sane, F, G League Ignite (born 2003)

Players removed

Despite reports or announcements that the players below would declare for the draft, they didn’t show up on the NBA’s official list.

That could mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have had no NCAA eligibility remaining, making them automatically draft-eligible; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.

It seems that last possibility is a real one, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets that a “miscommunication or mishap’ at the league office may result in a dozen or more additional names being added to the NBA’s early entrant list.

We’ve still removed the following names from our early entrant list for the time being, but it sounds like some could be re-added soon.

Note: Some of these players may also be transferring to new schools.

Chomche, Dadiet, Flowers, Onyenso Among Draft’s Latest Early Entrants

Ulrich Chomche, an 18-year-old Cameroon center at the NBA Africa Academy, is entering the 2024 NBA draft, his agents at Klutch Sports tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

While Chomche is ranked 39th overall on ESPN’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects, that’s not necessarily the consensus. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic (Twitter link) says he didn’t get the impression at last week’s Hoop Summit that Chomche was “anywhere near ready” to enter for the NBA and says that many NBA evaluators had a similar take. Vecenie adds that the big man is No. 86 on his own big board.

The No. 40 prospect on ESPN’s board, French wing Pacome Dadiet, has also declared for the draft, agent Yann Balikouzou tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). The 18-year-old made 36% of his three-pointers while playing for Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany’s top basketball league this past season, Givony notes.

Another draft prospect who spent the season overseas has announced his intentions to enter the 2024 draft, according to the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League, who say (via Twitter) that 6’9″ wing Trentyn Flowers is declaring.

Flowers is an American prospect who spent his first professional season in Australia as part of the NBL’s Next Stars program. He’s the No. 77 prospect on ESPN’s board.

Here are several more draft-related notes:

  • Kentucky sophomore center Ugonna Onyenso, an elite shot blocker who swatted 2.8 shots in just 18.8 minutes per game this season, will enter the draft and forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility, Givony reports at ESPN. Onyenso, the No. 47 prospect on ESPN’s board, averaged just 3.6 points per contest but told Givony he wants to show teams during the pre-draft process that he can shoot the ball and isn’t “just a defensive player.”
  • Texas sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell is entering both the NCAA portal and the NBA draft, reports Jeff Goodman of The Field of 68 (Twitter link). The No. 71 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list, Mitchell averaged 9.6 points and 7.5 rebounds in 29.0 minutes per game in 34 contests for the Longhorns in 2023/24.
  • Grand Canyon senior guard Tyon Grant-Foster, the WAC Player of the Year in 2023/24, is entering the draft rather than using his final year of NCAA eligibility, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Grant-Foster, who has now undergone multiple heart surgeries, made his return to the court this season after collapsing at halftime of a game at the start of the 2021/22 season.
  • The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a pre-draft event showcasing draft-eligible seniors, has announced its rosters for 2024 (Twitter links). This year’s PIT will tip off later this week and will run from April 17-20.
  • Michigan State senior guard A.J. Hoggard, who is taking part in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, is testing the draft waters while retaining his college eligibility (Twitter link via Kyle Austin of Hoggard is the very last prospect to crack ESPN’s big board, coming in at No. 100.
  • Senior guard Jordan Ivy-Curry (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports) and Wake Forest senior forward Andrew Carr (Twitter link) are also testing the draft waters. If he returns to school, Ivy-Curry is transferring from UTSA to Virginia Tech.