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NBA Draft Early Entries and Withdrawals: Who’s In, Who’s Out?

NBA Draft Early Entries and Withdrawals: Who’s In, Who’s Out? | Tipico
NBA Draft Early Entries and Withdrawals: Who’s In, Who’s Out? | Tipico
Published: 2023-06-06

We’re about two weeks away from the NBA draft and several significant stages of the process have already passed. Like other professional sports leagues around North America, players have participated in events such as the combine, pro days, and franchise visits to determine where they may stand in the eyes of teams heading into the draft.

One thing unique to the NBA, however, is that based on the results of those stops, players with remaining eligibility can then withdraw their name and return to school without penalty. The deadline set by the NCAA for players to do so came and passed on June 1, and 108 players chose to withdraw their names to maintain eligibility for the 2023-24 NCAA season.

With most major withdrawals complete, the field for the 2023 NBA draft is largely set. However, there is one more deadline coming up on June 13 — this deadline is set by the NBA itself, rather than the NCAA.

While players who remain in the pool have lost their NCAA eligibility, they can still withdraw their name prior to Tuesday and then play internationally, in the G-League, or in any other non-NBA league for the next season. Most of these players are already not enrolled in college, either entering the draft pool internationally or from the G-League.

With one deadline passed and another looming, let’s take a look at some of the biggest names that have already returned to school and some players that remain in the pool, along with their expected draft prospects.


The biggest name to return to the NCAA is Zach Edey, who will head back to Purdue for his senior season. The massive center led the Boilermakers to a 29-6 record and both Big Ten regular season and tournament titles while posting 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

Despite those eye-popping numbers, Edey is projected to be limited as a pro due to concerns about his size (7-4, 305 pounds) and inability to stick with quicker players defensively, as well as his lack of shooting range, which is basically a prerequisite for almost any NBA regular these days.

But Purdue — which saw last season end as just the second team to lose a first-round game as a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament — should be happy its big man is back in the fold.

Despite sharing the same position, the story is quite different for Adem Bona, who just completed his first year of eligibility at UCLA. While Bona’s impact was far more limited than Edey’s — Bona posted 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game — his skills should translate well to the NBA, mainly based on his quickness, which many prognosticators suggest will make him a dynamic player in transition and as a cutter off the ball, as well as on defense.

Barring a surprise dip in performance or catastrophic injury in his sophomore season, Bonalooks to be a lock as a first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

The Creighton Bluejays are big winners from the NCAA deadline, as both Trey Alexander and Ryan Kalkbrenner are set to return to school after being keys to the Bluejays’ run to the Elite Eight in March.

Kalkbrenner is another big man and a particularly touted defender, winning the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons. He reportedly showed an increased ability to shoot from deep — both coming off pick-and-rolls as well as in transition — during the draft process.

Kalkbrenner is slightly ticked up his three-point attempts in each of his three college seasons, so if he can continue to increase his range during his senior campaign, his NBA stock could be on the rise.

Meanwhile, Alexander is a more natural fit for the NBA as a 6-4 guard. He’s not the flashiest playmaker but is responsible with the ball and is an efficient scorer. Defense should also be his calling card in the NBA, potentially helping push him inside the top 40 of 2024 draft boards.

With both Alexander and Kalkbrenner back, in addition to fellow early draft withdrawal Arthur Kaluma, Creighton should have a shot at making the first Final Four in school history.

Given that 108 players withdrew their name from the NBA draft prior to the deadline, there are plenty of others that could be covered on this list. But some other names notable to college basketball fans include Northwestern guard Boo Buie, Pitt forward Blake Hinson, Kansas guard Kevin McCullar Jr., Miami guard Nijel Pack, and Duke guard Jeremy Roach, to name a few.


While many of the key “question marks” opted to stay in school, some of those on-the-fence players have remained in the draft process. One such name is Kobe Brown, who improved in each of his four seasons at the University of Missouri.

Brown profiles as a hybrid wing/guard in the NBA and has greatly improved his ability to shoot from three-point range. After attempting only 2.1 threes per game in 2021 – knocking down 20.6 percent of those attempts – Brown shot 45.5 percent from deep in his final season while hoisting up 3.3 attempts per game. He won’t go early, but Brown has a good chance of hearing his name called late on draft night.

Perhaps the biggest name in this category is Oscar Tshiebwe, thanks to his prominent role at the University of Kentucky. While not quite as big as Edey, his game profiles similarly, as he is limited offensively to a finisher around the rim — however, at this, he excels. He lacks the size (6-9, 260 pounds) of Edey without adding much extra athleticism or range.

Tshiebwe could be an energy big off the bench in the NBA thanks to his hustle and defensive ability, but his profile is largely out of vogue in the modern game. If he’s selected in the draft, it will likely be very late. He could also head to an international league in the hopes of landing a more lucrative contract.

Andre Jackson is coming off an NCAA title with UConn, and he has all the athleticism necessary to be a dynamic pro. However, he’s a raw prospect that will likely sit on the bench or even be sent to the G-League for at least a season before seeing significant time on the floor. He is expected to be a late second-round pick.

Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

NBA Draft Early Entries and Withdrawals: Who’s In, Who’s Out? | Tipico


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