All the big fans of college sports in the US look to the annual draft, where standout college players get a chance to play professionally. Like every year’s draft, the 2023 NBA draft was highly anticipated. But now it’s come and gone: 108 players notifying the NBA that they would withdraw for draft consideration, which means their schools have a personnel boost. Draft junkies are probably eyeing the next set of rising stars.
One of the 108 returnees includes Purdue’s Zach Edey, winner of the CBS Sports National Player of the Year award. Zach’s presence on the varsity team automatically makes Purdue one of the top contenders for the national championship this season. Of course, the Canadian basketball player will be more than happy to repeat his NPOY 2023 feat.
Another rising star to watch is USC’s Isaiah Collier. Collier was listed by ESPN as the No. 1 star to watch nationally in the class of 2023. The Georgia native has shown enough competitiveness to earn himself the rank of USC’s highest-ranked men’s basketball player since Evan Mobley.
Meanwhile, interest in these rising stars transcends court, with the media, betting companies reviewed and featured at https://www.mightytips.com/bookmakers/trustly-betting-sites/, and pundits Independents actively monitor their successes. That is, the talents and performances of these wonder kids attract the attention of a diverse group of stakeholders.
In no particular order, these nine players could become potential first-round picks in the 2024 Draft if their performances in the 2023/24 season go according to plan.
1. Jaden Akins, Michigan State
Jaden Akin’s withdrawal from the NBA draft was a great boost for Tom Izzo’s team for the 2023/24 season. The Spartans may not be the college with the most players in the NBA, but they are boosted with five of their six leading scorers returning to school this season.
Akins averaged 9.8 points on an impressive 42.2% shooting from behind the arc. If you were wondering, “Which college has the most NBA players? It’s the University of Kentucky.
2. Dillon Mitchell, Texas
Mitchell is a former five-star prospect and brings athleticism and size as significant additions to the Texas Longhorns.
His freshman year saw him average just 17.4 minutes per game. However, his return to school for the second year should be helpful for his overall career.
3. Zach Edey, Purdue
Edey faced a tough draft challenge last summer had he opted to remain in the draft. That’s because the NBA has evolved too much for the reigning NPOY to pass for elite NBA talent.
Edey is still the big man back to the basket, though, averaging 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in his first season as a starter, and dominated college play last year.
4. Coleman Hawkins, Ill.
Coleman Hawkins made one of the many surprising exits from the NBA draft when he chose to stay in Illinois for a senior year. Along with his teammate Terrence Shannon Jr., Hawkins was promoted to be taken early in the second round if he stayed in the draft.
Hawkins has shown the ability to defend all positions, averaging a team-leading 6.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last season.
5. Isaiah Collier, USC
Collier is the No. 1 player in the 247Sports composite rankings and one of the most game-ready potentials in his category.
A physical point guard, Collier has shown that he can become a primary ball handler on an NBA offensive team. He has a lot riding on being a first-choice player next summer.
6. Daron Holmes II, Dayton
Holmes, another 2023 NBA Draft pick, showed significant improvements in a strong freshman campaign last season. The 20-year-old true center averaged 18.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in each game.
Perhaps his strongest asset is his ability to finish at the rim; Maintaining or improving his current performance will undoubtedly help his actions immensely.
7. Dillon Jones, Weber Estate
Despite his good performances last season, Jones decided to return to the Wildcats. He averaged 16.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game.
However, the 6-foot-6 forward would need to reduce his turnovers (3.4 per game last season) for the top pick in the upcoming draft.
8. Tyrin Lawrence, Vanderbilt
Lawrence was voted out of the NBA’s consideration in May, and the transfer portal, choosing to play another season with Vanderbilt.
The guard, who is likely to want to join the ranking of NBA players with college titles, played nearly twice as many playing minutes as his sophomore year this year and averaged 13.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season. Improving his stats will show that his choice to return to school was correct.
9. Bronny James, USC
Bronny James might not be an all-time top-10 pick, but his name places him among the common contenders for first-round picks in the upcoming draft.
If the 18-year-old shows his ability to contribute to wins, his value is likely to increase this season. Plus, the prospect of making his dad’s team for at least one season will likely motivate him to make more of an impact.
Although next year’s draft hasn’t generated as much anticipation as the most recent edition, there are still plenty of rising stars worth watching in the 2023/24 season. The list above shows nine NBA players per college who are rising NBA college stars who could be generating early talk leading up to the 2024 draft next June.