Top NBA Draft prospects to watch, Final Four favorites and sleepers

Who will win the NCAA males’s basketball event this season? (Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photographs through Getty Photographs) (Jack Dempsey through Getty Photographs)

The 2023-24 faculty season is right here and there are many new faces to get acquainted with who shall be prompt impression gamers, in addition to acquainted gamers who shall be taking part in for various groups this yr (thanks, switch portal). Hunter Dickinson and Caleb Love each made strikes to different Energy 5 applications and are key switch gamers to look at this yr.

Defending champion UConn misplaced Jordan Hawkins and Andre Jackson Jr. to the 2023 NBA Draft however added freshman Stephon Fortress, a projected lottery choose within the upcoming draft subsequent June. Kentucky and Duke are bringing within the prime two freshman lessons and it’ll solely take a number of video games to see which transfers and prime freshmen would be the most impactful this faculty season.

Kansas is getting into the season at No. 1, based on the preseason Related Press ballot, however there are a number of groups dominating competitors throughout fall scrimmages that might be NCAA event favorites by the point March rolls round. Yahoo Sports activities breaks down the highest faculty gamers to look at and way-too-early Last 4 favorites and sleepers forward of the season.

Prime NBA Draft prospects to look at

Justin Edwards, Kentucky

Out of all the highest freshmen coming on this yr for Kentucky, Edwards matches the mould and appears the a part of a future NBA wing. He’s lengthy along with his 6-foot-8 body and has proven enchancment in his shot choice, significantly from 3-point vary. Edwards ought to see loads of early minutes at Kentucky and his function will improve due to what he can do on the defensive aspect of the ball. Edwards is without doubt one of the greatest gamers in defensive transition with the best way he reads passes and shoots the gaps. He’s already proven how efficient he could be in turning protection into offense in the course of the summer season and fall and if his 3-point shot begins to fall, he might be the triple menace Kentucky is on the lookout for this season and a participant NBA scouts are focusing on this yr on the prime of the draft.

Kentucky guard Justin Edwards (1) is expected to be a top pick in next year's NBA Draft. (Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports)

Kentucky guard Justin Edwards (1) is predicted to be a prime choose in subsequent yr’s NBA Draft. (Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports activities) (USA TODAY USPW / reuters)

Stephon Fortress, UConn

NBA scouts have been hitting the street for fall practices and preseason scrimmages and no freshman participant has obtained extra buzz than Fortress. He is an enormous guard at 6-6, 215 kilos and was the excessive scorer for the Huskies of their abroad tour in August, averaging 16.7 factors and including 2.3 steals per sport whereas capturing 60% from the sector and 43% from 3-point vary. There ought to be plenty of two-way play on offense between Fortress and 7-foot sophomore Donovan Clingan and if Fortress executes his reads persistently, he might solidify himself as a top-five draft choose.

Tyrese Proctor, Duke

Proctor elected to return for his sophomore season after being one of many youngest gamers in faculty basketball final season. Initially from Australia, Proctor reclassified up a grade and dedicated to Duke as a five-star prospect. He handled a number of accidents final season and labored by means of the rising pains of going through stronger gamers and coping with a quicker tempo. This yr, Proctor is excessive on scouts’ radars as he has one other yr to develop into his 6-5 body and get extra snug inside head coach Jon Scheyer’s offense. Duke is bringing in 4 five-star freshmen however returning three starters with Proctor, 7-0 middle Kyle Filipowski and level guard Jeremy Roach.

Isaiah Collier, USC

Collier was the No. 1 recruit popping out of the 2023 highschool class and dominated on the McDonald’s All American sport, main all gamers with 25 factors and including two steals and two assists. He’s the highest freshman guard to look at at USC with Bronny James’s standing unknown after his collapse in August and ensuing coronary heart surgical procedure. Collier and senior guard Boogie Ellis confirmed nice chemistry within the backcourt throughout USC’s abroad summer season journey to Greece and Croatia, main all gamers in factors or assists in three video games. Collier has nice measurement on the guard place at 6-5, 210 kilos and is without doubt one of the greatest gamers on the rim along with his physique management and contact across the basket.

Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor

Walter possesses plenty of traits a number of NBA groups covet. He has size at 6-6 with a 7-1 wingspan and shoots the ball extraordinarily effectively from behind the arc. At a follow forward of the season, Walter made 41 3-pointers in a row in an try to interrupt the Baylor document (64), a aim he has for the season. Walter could be seen in follow pulling up from NBA 3-point vary throughout drills and training taking gamers off the dribble to work on being greater than only a catch-and-shoot menace. At simply 19 years outdated, he displays plenty of traits NBA groups love in a younger perimeter participant and is somebody {that a} workforce might draft excessive to develop of their system.

Most impactful transfers

Hunter Dickinson, Kansas (transferred from Michigan)

Dickinson was probably the most high-profile participant within the switch portal in the course of the offseason. Throughout his junior yr at Michigan he averaged 18.5 factors and 9 rebounds, was named All-Large Ten first workforce and recorded 14 double-doubles. Dickinson joins standout freshman Elmarko Jackson this season because the duo seems to be to dominate the pick-and-roll possibility in head coach Invoice Self’s offense, one thing the Jayhawks mastered after they received the nationwide championship in 2022.

“I believe the factor that bought me about Kansas was it felt prefer it checked all of the packing containers by way of having among the finest coaches of all-time current, having the historical past and custom of Kansas basketball, but in addition him having that pedigree of creating bigs,” Dickinson informed Rock Chalk Unplugged in July. “My greatest factor was I needed to go someplace to win.”

Kansas center Hunter Dickinson is expected to be one of the most impactful transfers this season. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Kansas middle Hunter Dickinson is predicted to be one of the crucial impactful transfers this season. (AP Picture/Charles Rex Arbogast) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Caleb Love, Arizona (transferred from North Carolina)

Love first dedicated to Michigan after getting into the switch portal and was nixed by the varsity because of lecturers. He decommitted from Michigan on Might 17 and shortly signed with Arizona 13 days later. Throughout his junior yr at North Carolina, Love averaged 16.7 factors and a pair of.8 assists per sport. He joins sophomore guard Kylan Boswell and Alabama switch guard Jaden Bradley within the backcourt at Arizona this yr with the Wildcats hoping to bounce again within the Pac-12.

Kel’el Ware, Indiana (transferred from Oregon)

Heading into his freshman yr at Oregon, Ware was a projected first-round choose and coming off an amazing senior yr as a McDonald’s All American and successful a gold medal for Group USA within the 18-under FIBA Americas Championship. He struggled throughout his one yr at Oregon, averaging 6.6 factors and 4.1 rebounds in 16 minutes on the courtroom. Ware entered the switch portal shortly after the season and dedicated to Indiana on April 10. Ware, a flexible 7-1 middle, will add some much-needed rim safety for the Hoosiers after shedding Trayce Jackson-Davis to the NBA Draft.

Grant Nelson, Alabama (transferred from North Dakota State)

Nelson was one of many hottest names to hit the switch portal final yr after he dominated the Summit league for North Dakota State and was named to the 2023 All-Summit Group and All-Summit Defensive Participant of the 12 months. Nelson, a 6-10 middle, selected Alabama over Arkansas after averaging 17.9 factors, 9.3 rebounds and a pair of.1 assists per sport throughout his junior yr with the Bison. Nelson joins ahead Trevon Brazile in one of the crucial thrilling frontcourt duos to look at this season.

Max Abmas, Texas (transferred from Oral Roberts)

Abmas elected to enter the switch portal for his senior season and shortly dedicated to the Longhorns after visiting mid-April.

“It’ll be completely different than taking part in within the Summit League, for positive,” Abmas informed The Area of 68 podcast after his dedication. “It’s a gauntlet evening in, evening out. However that’s what I need: to problem myself on the highest stage, understanding that’s what I’ve to play at as a way to enhance my draft inventory, placing myself in the perfect place to play on the subsequent stage.”

Abmas averaged 21.9 factors and 4 assists final yr for Oral Roberts and joins returning guard Tyrese Hunter within the backcourt for the Longhorns.

Last 4 favorites


The Jayhawks are off to a rocky begin after shedding to Illinois in a charity exhibition sport on Oct. 29, however there have been some optimistic issues to construct on offensively. Kevin McCullar, a Texas Tech switch, and Dickinson mixed for 47 factors and shall be instrumental in Kansas’ success this yr. There’s a ton of depth and expertise on Invoice Self’s squad this yr. The Jayhawks are returning level guard Dajuan Harris Jr. and wing KJ Adams, and including projected lottery choose Jackson within the backcourt is the proper stability of younger expertise and expertise that makes up an elite event workforce.


Duke followers would possibly nonetheless be on cloud 9 after touchdown Cooper Flagg, the No. 1 highschool participant within the nation, however there’s lots to love about this yr’s workforce too. Head coach Jon Scheyer retained two key gamers in Proctor and 7-foot middle Kyle Filipowski. Jeremy Roach, the start line guard, returned for his senior season as effectively. Duke additionally has the No. 2 recruiting class coming in, led by five-stars Jared McCain, TJ Energy, Sean Stewart and Caleb Foster.

Coach Jon Scheyer, Kyle Filipowski and the Duke Blue Devils have the second-best odds to win the NCAA men's basketball tournament this season. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Coach Jon Scheyer, Kyle Filipowski and the Duke Blue Devils have the second-best odds to win the NCAA males’s basketball event this season. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Photographs) (Mike Ehrmann through Getty Photographs)


The Huskies wish to repeat this yr and have reloaded their roster on the guard place, including Fortress. Clingan confirmed glimpses of what he’ll be this yr with restricted minutes within the NCAA event final yr; he is a possible lottery choose on this yr’s NBA Draft. He’ll be the perfect rim protector within the Large East this season and averaged practically two blocks per sport in simply 13 minutes on the courtroom final yr. Returning within the backcourt this yr is graduate senior guard Tristen Newton, who averaged 10.1 factors and 4.7 assists per sport final season.

Florida Atlantic

The Owls had been seconds away from taking part in within the nationwide championship sport final yr however fell to San Diego State in a buzzer-beater. They made a Cinderella run final March however have an even bigger goal on their backs, getting into the season No. 9 within the AP preseason ballot. FAU is returning eight of its core 9 gamers from a 35-4 workforce, together with the beginning 5. The Owls are shifting to the American Athletic Convention (from a mid-major schedule in Convention USA) this season and are favored to win the convention and make one other deep run within the NCAA event.

Last 4 sleepers


Head coach Tommy Lloyd is returning the vast majority of his roster from final yr and added two key transfers in Love and Bradley. Boswell is without doubt one of the prime level guards within the Pac-12 after seeing restricted taking part in time as a freshman because of a shoulder damage. They’ve a sophisticated roster with skilled inside-out gamers, together with 7-0 bigs Oumar Ballo and Dylan Anderson, along with Boswell and key transfers within the backcourt.


Coach Eric Musselman is aware of find out how to get the perfect out of his gamers, significantly within the NCAA event the place the Razorbacks have made three straight runs to the Candy 16 and made it to the Elite Eight in 2021 and 2022. Arkansas solely has two freshmen on the roster (Baye Fall and Layden Blocker) and Brazile is returning this season after sitting out nearly all of final yr with a torn ACL.


Marquette completed first within the Large East final season and is returning a majority of its roster, together with its two highest-scoring gamers on the workforce, Kam Jones (15.1 factors per sport) and Tyler Kolek (12.9 factors per sport). Head coach Shaka Good runs a fast-paced offense that’s tough to defend. The Golden Eagles have plenty of the instruments wanted to make a deep run in postseason play. Previous to shedding to Michigan State within the second spherical of the NCAA event final season, Marquette went 15-1 to shut out the season.


Head coach Dennis Gates is just in his second season at Mizzou, however there’s a lot to love about this yr’s Tigers workforce. Junior guard Tamar Bates transferred from Indiana and John Tonje transferred from Colorado State, the place he was among the finest gamers within the Mountain West Convention. Sophomore wing Aidan Shaw can play a number of positions on the courtroom along with his 6-8 body and athleticism and will have a breakout season.

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