5 NBA Draft Prospects to Keep an Eye on During the 2024 NCAA Tournament

With March Madness upon us, basketball fans aren’t just rooting for their brackets; they’re also scouting potential NBA talent. Here are five standout college players poised to make waves in the tournament and elevate their draft stock.

March Madness is here, and aside from college basketball fans eagerly anticipating their brackets’ outcomes and hoping for classic upsets, the NBA’s future players will grace the hardwood, aiming to elevate their draft stock.

The top prospects in this year’s draft will showcase their skills in the NCAA Tournament, where NBA teams will closely monitor their performances in the win-or-go-home contests.

Here’s a glimpse of standout college players who could see their draft positions rise this June.

PG Rob Dillingham

Kentucky Projected as a top-five pick and touted by some as the premier prospect in college basketball presently, Rob Dillingham possesses a competitive spirit tailor-made for March, coupled with undeniable skills.

Dillingham’s playing style exudes the grittiness honed on the pickup basketball court, a trait crucial for advancing deep into the tournament. During his freshman season, he averaged 15.4 points on 48.2% shooting from the field, along with 3.9 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game.

Despite Kentucky’s early exit in the SEC Tournament, Dillingham now has the opportunity to shine as the No. 3 seeded Wildcats face No. 14 Oakland on Thursday.

PG/SG Reed Sheppard

Kentucky Dillingham’s teammate, the sharp-shooting Reed Sheppard, provides a scoring boost off the bench, a role appreciated by head coach John Calipari. Strong bench depth is vital for teams eyeing the national title.

Sheppard boasts an impressive 52.5% shooting accuracy from three-point range, averaging 12.8 points per game. Additionally, he contributes 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Likewise, Sheppard is a projected top-10 pick in this year’s draft if he decides to declare after his freshman year.

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F Cody Williams

Colorado With an older brother, Jalen Williams, currently playing as a forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cody Williams has valuable insights into the transition from college to the NBA.

Standing at 6 feet, 8 inches tall, Williams demonstrates versatility across the floor, particularly impressing NBA scouts with his defensive prowess. Offensively, he averages 12.6 points per game, accompanied by 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

Given his two-way style of play, evaluators predict Williams as a top-10 pick.

C Kyle Filipowski

Duke A pivotal figure in this year’s Blue Devils team, Kyle Filipowski commands Duke’s offense. Despite his towering 7-foot frame, Filipowski’s game extends beyond the paint.

Notable improvements from his freshman year include an increased scoring average of 17.1 points per game, up from 15.1 last season, and a better three-point shooting percentage at 35%.

As Duke faces stiff competition in the tournament, including Kentucky, No. 1 Houston, and No. 2 Marquette, Filipowski’s performance will be pivotal. He’s expected to be drafted in the mid-first round.

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SG Ja’Kobe Walter

Baylor Ja’Kobe Walter’s draft projection ranges from fifth overall to No. 15 overall, reflecting varying team perspectives on his potential at the next level. However, scoring prowess is a consistent expectation.

The Bears’ standout freshman averages 14.2 points per game, alongside 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists over 33 games. Despite shooting 34% from three this season, some regard him as the top three-point shooter in this year’s draft class.

With a strong showing in the NCAA Tournament, Walter can silence doubters and enhance his draft stock, potentially guiding his team back to the national championship, which they clinched in 2021.

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