2024 National Basketball Association Draft (June 26-27)

UConn, ACC, Freshmen, Seniors Among
Intriguing 2024 NBA Draft Storylines

By David Glenn
North Carolina Sports Network

(NOTE: This is Part Six of a six-part NCAA/NBA series leading up to the June 26-27 NBA draft; Part One can be found HERE, Part Two can be found HERE, Part Three can be found HERE, Part Four can be found HERE, and Part Five can be found HERE.)

Here are four angles worth following in the 2024 NBA draft, which will be nationally televised and streamed today (first round, 8 pm, ABC/ESPN/ESPN+) and Thursday (second round, 4 pm, ESPN/ESPN+) from different locations in New York City.

1. Will the 2024 UConn Huskies continue the 77-year-long streak in which every NCAA title team has had at least one future top-30 (modern-day first-round) NBA draft pick on its active roster when it won the NCAA Tournament?

This streak (please see the various links to the rest of this six-part series above and below), which dates all the way back to the creation of the NBA draft in 1947, appears extremely likely to continue.

Two UConn players, sophomore center Donovan Clingan and freshman guard Stephon Castle, are projected as first-round locks.

It also will be interesting to see if the 2024 Huskies produce a lottery (top-14) pick, either tonight or in a future draft, because over the last 77 years only six college teams have won an NCAA title without the benefit of a top-14 NBA pick. Both Clingan and Castle are viewed as lottery-level possibilities this year.

North Carolina’s 2017 champions, led by coach Roy Williams, are the most recent group to accomplish this rare feat. (UNC star Justin Jackson was selected #15 overall, just outside the lottery, in 2017.) Three of the other five examples also had a Hall of Fame coach leading the way: 1987 Indiana (Bob Knight-HOF), 1998 Kentucky (Tubby Smith), 2010 Duke (Mike Krzyzewski-HOF), 2013 Louisville (Rick Pitino-HOF) and 2014 Connecticut (Kevin Ollie).

2. Will the ACC finish closer to its first-round peak (10 selections) or its modern valley (two)?

While the Atlantic Coast Conference historically has produced more first-round NBA draft picks than any other conference, the number does vary quite a bit from season to season, and this year’s number is difficult to predict, with a significant number of prospects (see below) who could be picked early but also could fall into the second round or even into undrafted-free-agent status.

In 2017, the ACC set the all-time record for most first-round selections from a single league, with 10. There are only 30 first-round picks, so the conference literally produced one-third of those selections by itself. Considering that the NCAA has 32 leagues just at the Division One level, and that international prospects have taken up an increasing number of first-round slots in recent decades, that’s an amazing feat.

In 2019, the ACC tied its own record with another 10 first-round picks, six of whom went in the lottery: #1 Zion Williamson (Duke-New Orleans), #3 RJ Barrett (Duke-New York), #4 De’Andre Hunter (Virginia-Atlanta), #7 Coby White (UNC-Chicago), #10 Cam Reddish (Duke-Atlanta) and #11 Cameron Johnson (UNC-Phoenix).

Last year, though, the ACC experienced one of its quietest first rounds of the modern era. Only two of its players were selected among the top 30 picks; Duke freshman Dereck Lively II went 12th overall to Dallas, and Duke freshman Dariq Whitehead went 22nd overall to Brooklyn.

This year, the ACC’s number of first-round selections almost certainly will end up somewhere between those extreme scenarios.

3. Who are the ACC’s most likely first-round picks this year?

Most mock drafts project that the ACC will end up with four, five or six first-round selections tonight.

Below are the top candidates, listed in order of the best-guess probability that they’ll end up being among the top 30 picks.

Top ACC Prospects In 2024 NBA Draft
Pos. Name, Class, School, Projection

G Jared McCain, Fr., Duke, 1st round
G Bub Carrington, Fr., Pitt, 1st round
F Kyle Filipowski, So., Duke, probable 1st round
G Kyshawn George, Fr., Miami, probable 1st round
F Ryan Dunn, So., Virginia, probable 1st round
F Harrison Ingram, Jr., UNC, possible 1st round
F PJ Hall, Sr., Clemson, probable 2nd round
G Judah Mintz, So., Syracuse, possible 2nd round
G Reece Beekman, Sr., Virginia, possible 2nd round
F Mohamed Diarra, Sr., NC State, possible 2nd round

Reminder: Many top ACC players, including both outgoing and incoming transfers, went through the 2024 NBA draft process but preserved their college eligibility by removing their names from consideration prior to the NCAA’s May 29 withdrawal deadline.

Wake Forest junior guard Hunter Sallis, Florida State junior forward Jamir Watkins, Miami junior guard Wooga Poplar (transferring to hometown Villanova), Miami senior center Norchad Omier (using his extra COVID season at Baylor), Wake Forest senior forward Andrew Carr (Kentucky), Georgia Tech freshman forward Baye Ndongo, Florida State sophomore forward Baba Miller (Florida Atlantic), Notre Dame freshman guard Markus Burton, Duke senior guard Jeremy Roach (Baylor), Clemson senior guard Chase Hunter and Georgia Tech junior guard Miles Kelly (Auburn) all opted to remain at the college level during the upcoming 2024-25 season.

4. Will any of the ACC’s out-of-eligibility seniors be selected?

All players who have exhausted their college eligibility, of course, also are eligible (automatically) for the NBA draft.

ACC players fitting that description this year include UNC center Armando Bacot (a four-time All-ACC selection during his five seasons with the Tar Heels), Pittsburgh forward Blake Hinson (2024 first-team All-ACC), Boston College forward Quinten Post (2024 second-team All-ACC), NC State guard DJ Horne (2024 third-team All-ACC), Clemson guard Joe Girard (2024 honorable mention All-ACC), NC State forward DJ Burns and Virginia Tech guard Hunter Cattoor.

Although this is definitely not a new phenomenon, there is a good possibility that none of these out-of-eligibility seniors will be selected in this week’s draft, despite their significant collegiate accomplishments. Meanwhile, every year, college freshmen with more limited resumes (e.g., Miami’s Kyshawn George, who averaged only 7.6 points per game in 2023-24 and did not make the ACC’s five-man All-Freshman team) are selected in the draft, largely on the basis of their growth potential.

In the cases of the out-of-eligibility seniors, after their five- or six-year body of work at the college level, there remains significant skepticism regarding whether they have the ability to become a rotation player in the NBA. Generally speaking, as the saying goes, 24-year-old prospects (such as Bacot, Hinson and Post) have much less growth potential than 18-year-old prospects (such as Carrington) do.

Any player who goes undrafted this week still can try to make the NBA as an undrafted free agent, of course.

The top players who don’t make The League right away often spend time in the G League, which serves as the NBA’s minor league feeder system, or find a job in another top professional league, such as those in Australia, China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Russia, Spain and Turkey.

Three ACC players went undrafted in 2023 but still played at least some games at the NBA level during the 2023-24 season: UNC’s Leaky Black (Charlotte), UNC’s Pete Nance (Cleveland) and NC State’s Terquavion Smith (Philadelphia). However, all three players spent the large majority of their first professional campaign competing in the G League.


(NOTE: Our previous articles outlined this detailed information on the NCAA champions from 1955-691970-79, 1980-89, 1990-99 and 2000-09.)

—2023 Connecticut—

Head Coach: Dan Hurley
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (1 or more): sophomore G Jordan Hawkins (#14)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (TBD): TBD
NBA Players/Games (3-6/141+): Hawkins+ (70), junior G Andre Jackson Jr+ (62), junior F Adama Sanogo+ (9), freshman C Donovan Clingan? (projected 2024 first-round pick), senior G Tristan Newton? (possible 2024 draft pick), freshman F Alex Karaban? (possible 2025 draft pick)

—2022 Kansas—

Head Coach: Bill Self
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (2 or more): senior G Ochai Agbaji (#14), junior G Christian Braun (#21)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (TBD): TBD
NBA Players/Games (3-5/369+): Braun+ (189), Agbaji+ (137), sophomore F Jalen Wilson+ (43), junior G Dajuan Harris Jr? (possible 2025 draft pick), freshman F KJ Adams Jr? (possible 2025 draft pick)

—2021 Baylor—

Head Coach: Scott Drew
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (1): junior PG Davion Mitchell (#9)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (TBD): TBD
NBA Players/Games (3-5/325+): Mitchell+ (234), junior G Jared Butler+ (89), sophomore G Adam Flagler+ (2), junior F Matthew Mayer? (G League in 2023-24), freshman G LJ Cryer? (possible 2025 draft pick)


(No NCAA Tournament-COVID)

—2019 Virginia—

Head Coach: Tony Bennett
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (2): sophomore F De’Andre Hunter (#4), junior PG Ty Jerome (#24)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (0): none
NBA Players (6/622+): Hunter+ (279), Jerome+ (159), junior F Mamadi Diakite+ (66), junior G Kyle Guy (53), junior F Braxton Key+ (34), sophomore C Jay Huff+ (31)

—2018 Villanova—

Head Coach: Jay Wright
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (3): junior F Mikal Bridges (#10), junior G Donte DiVincenzo (#17), freshman F Omari Spellman (#30)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (0): none
NBA Players/Games (7/1,672+): Bridges+ (513), junior PG Jalen Brunson+ (471), DiVincenzo+ (393), junior F Eric Paschall (162), Spellman (95), freshman G Collin Gillespie+ (24) freshman F Jermaine Samuels+ (14)

—2017 North Carolina—

Head Coach: Roy Williams
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (1): junior F Justin Jackson (#15)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (1): freshman C Tony Bradley (#28)
NBA Players/Games (4/627+): Jackson+ (288), Bradley (188), junior F Theo Pinson (130), senior F Isaiah Hicks (21)

—2016 Villanova—

Head Coach: Jay Wright
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (1): junior G Josh Hart (#30)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (2): freshman F Mikal Bridges (#10), freshman G Donte DiVincenzo (#17)
NBA Players/Games (6/2,134+): Bridges+ (513), Hart+ (477), freshman PG Jalen Brunson+ (471), DiVincenzo+ (393), senior PG Ryan Arcidiacono+ (257), senior C Daniel Ochefu (23)

—2015 Duke—

Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (3): freshman C Jahlil Okafor (#3), freshman F Justise Winslow (#10), freshman PG Tyus Jones (#24)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (1): freshman G Grayson Allen (#21)
NBA Players (7/1,890+): Jones+ (628), Allen+ (365), Winslow+ (363), Okafor (247), senior PG Quinn Cook (228), junior F Amile Jefferson (30), junior C Marshall Plumlee (29)

—2014 Connecticut—

Head Coach: Kevin Ollie
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (1): senior PG Shabazz Napier (#24)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (0): none
NBA Players/Games (2/359): Napier (354), freshman C Amida Brimah (5)

—2013 Louisville—

Head Coach: Rick Pitino
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (1): junior C Gorgui Dieng (#21)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (0): none
NBA Players/Games (4/1,235): Dieng (635), freshman F Montrezl Harrell (547), junior G Russ Smith (29), senior PG Peyton Siva (24)

—2012 Kentucky—

Head Coach: John Calipari
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (4): freshman C Anthony Davis (#1), freshman F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (#2), sophomore F Terrence Jones (#18), freshman PG Marquis Teague (#29)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (0): none
NBA Players/Games (7/2,005+): Davis+ (796), Kidd-Gilchrist (456), senior F Darius Miller (280), Jones (259), sophomore G Doron Lamb (100), Teague (99), freshman F Kyle Wiltjer (15)

—2011 Connecticut—

Head Coach: Jim Calhoun
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (2): junior PG Kemba Walker (#9), freshman G Jeremy Lamb (#12)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (1): freshman PG Shabazz Napier (#24)
NBA Players/Games (3/1,722): Walker (781), Lamb (587), Napier (354)

—2010 Duke—

Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
Starters Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (2): junior G Nolan Smith (#21), sophomore F Miles Plumlee (#26)
Backups Who Became Top-30 NBA Picks (1): freshman F Mason Plumlee (#22)
NBA Players/Games (7/2,220+): Mason Plumlee+ (857), senior F Lance Thomas (402), junior F Kyle Singler (363), Miles Plumlee (347), freshman F Ryan Kelly (163), Smith (84), freshman G Andre Dawkins (4)

+-active NBA player during 2023-24 season (team/individual game totals will rise)
?-not an NBA player during 2023-24 season but could reach NBA in 2024-25 or beyond