‘Early-Entry’ NBA Draft tracker: Which underclassmen are going pro?
As the college basketball season winds down, underclassmen announcing their intentions to enter the 2023 NBA Draft process is starting to ramp up.
The process moves swiftly, with April 23 representing the deadline for athletes to apply for early entry, and June 1 serving as the last day to withdraw from the draft and uphold their college eligibility.
The NBA Draft Combine will be held May 15-21 in Chicago, followed by the draft on June 22 in Brooklyn, New York.
After 135 players declared for the draft last season, how many will there be in 2023?
Here’s a look at the most notable names to announce their early entry into the NBA Draft process.
Duke guard Jeremy Roach
Roach announced his decision to enter the NBA Draft on April 10, but he will be maintaining his college eligibility through the process. The former consensus five-star recruit will be one of three Duke players to enter into the 2023 draft.
The 6-foot-2 guard was a key member of Duke’s 2022 Final Four and recorded a career-high 13.3 points and 3.1 assists per game in 2023.
UConn guard Jordan Hawkins
Hawkins announced his entry into the NBA Draft during an ESPN appearance on April 7, just five days after the star UConn guard helped propel the Huskies to a dominant NCAA Tournament run that resulted in the team’s fifth national championship.
Hawkins’ biggest shot of his college career was one of his last, draining a three-pointer late in the second half of the title game after San Diego State had cut UConn’s lead down to five. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 16.2 points per game last season and shot 38.8% from three-point range. He made first team All-Big East in 2022-23 and is considered a knock-down shooter who will likely be selected in the first round of the draft in June.
Iowa forward Kris Murray
Murray announced his decision to enter the draft on April 7. As a junior, Murray helped the Hawkeyes claim a No. 8 seed in the tournament. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 20.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting 47.6/33.5/72.9.
Murray earned All-Big Ten and consensus Third-team All American honors this season.
UCLA forward Jaime Jaquez Jr.
Jaquez announced his decision April 6 after a four-year college career that saw him help elevate the Bruins back to national prominence, including an NCAA Tournament run to the Final Four in 2021 and two more appearances in the Sweet 16 in 2022 and 2023. Jaquez averaged a career-high 17.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season.
Kansas forward Jalen Wilson
Wilson announced his decision to enter the draft on April 5. As a senior, Wilson helped Kansas claim a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 20.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting 43.0/33.7/79.9.
Wilson was named the Big 12 Player of the Year and earned All-Big 12 honors twice in his college career.
Penn State guard Jalen Pickett
Pickett announced his decision to enter the draft on April 4. As a fifth-year senior, Pickett helped Penn State claim a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advance to the second round. He averaged 17.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game while shooting 50.8/38.1/76.3.
Pickett spent his last two seasons at Penn State after three seasons at Siena. He earned All-Big Ten honors this season.
Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis
Jackson-Davis announced his decision to enter the draft on April 4. As a senior, Jackson-Davis helped Indiana claim a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game while shooting 58.1/00.0/69.5.
Jackson-Davis made the John R. Wooden Award All-American Team this season while earning All-Big Ten honors in each of his four seasons with the Hoosiers.
Duke center Dereck Lively
After a single season at Duke, Lively announced his intentions to enter the NBA Draft. The 7-foot-1 freshman center notched 5.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 34 games for the Blue Devils.
Entering college, Lively was the No. 2 recruit according to 247sports and helped lead Duke to the Atlantic Coast Conference title.
Kentucky guard Cason Wallace
Kentucky freshman Cason Wallace, a projected lottery pick, will forgo his remaining college eligibility and enter the NBA Draft. The 6-foot-4 point guard averaged 11.7 points, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals in 32 minutes per game this season for the Wildcats.
Wallace was named to the SEC All-Freshman team while helping lead Kentucky to a 22-12 record and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas forward Gradey Dick
Kansas’ freshman forward will enter the upcoming draft and forgo his remaining college eligibility, he announced on March 31. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game this season, shooting 40% for 3.
Xavier guard Colby Jones
Jones announced that he will forgo his remaining college eligibility and enter the NBA Draft. A 6-foot-6 wing from Birmingham, Alabama, Jones averaged 15 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game this past season while helping lead the Musketeers to a 27-10 record and a spot in the Sweet 16, where they eventually fell to No. 2 seed Texas. Jones is projected to be a late first-round pick in the draft.
Alabama forward Brandon Miller
Miller announced his decision to enter the draft on March 30. As a freshman, Miller helped the Crimson Tide claim a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 43.0/38.4/85.9.
Miller was named the SEC Player of the Year and was a first-team AP All-American.
Arkansas guard Nick Smith Jr.
Smith announced his decision to enter the draft on March 30. As a freshman, Smith helped the Razorbacks reach the Sweet 16 and beat No. 1 seed Kansas in the process. Smith averaged 12.5 points per game while shooting 37.6/33.8/74.0.
UCLA guard Jaylen Clark
Clark announced his decision to enter the draft on March 29. The 6-foot-5 guard cracked the Bruins’ starting rotation in his junior season, averaging 13.0 points, six rebounds and 2.6 steals per game while shooting 48.1/32.9/69.8.
He was named the Pac-12 and NABC Defensive Player of the Year. Clark suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in early-March that kept him out of the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournament.
TCU guard Mike Miles
Miles announced his decision to enter the draft on March 29. A three-year starter, Miles helped the Horned Frogs claim a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament this season.
He averaged 17.9 points per game while shooting 49.7/36.2/74.9. Miles was named second-team All-Big 12 this season.
Baylor guard Keyonte George
Baylor’s standout guard and the Big 12 Freshman of the Year announced on March 28 that he’d be declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft. George, the No. 9 prospect from the Class of 2022, made it clear why he entered the Bears’ program as a five-star recruit, after averaging 15.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists during his first season.
George was projected to be the No. 9 pick entering his first year.
Michigan guard Jett Howard
Howard announced that he will forgo his remaining college eligibility and declare for the draft on March 23.
During his one-year career with the Wolverines, the 6-foot-8 guard, who was ranked 42nd in the 2022 class, averaged 14.2 points per game while shooting 41.4/36.8/80.0.
South Carolina forward GG Jackson
The Gamecock’s leading scorer made his announcement after averaging 15.4 points this season.
Jackson was originally the No. 1 prospect for the 2023 class but reclassified to play for his hometown team in Lamont Harris’ first season as head coach.
NC State guard Terquavion Smith
A high-volume scoring guard, Smith put up buckets in bunches through two seasons with Kevin Keattes’ Wolfpack. He followed 16.3 points per game his freshman season with 17.9 in his second college stint, including three performances of 30-plus points, highlighted by 32 in his team’s first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Creighton.
Smith is a 6-foot-4 springy athlete, but at 165 pounds, is more slender than the average guard at his height.
Houston forward Jarace Walker
At 6-foot-8, Walker possesses the ideal size NBA scouts covet when evaluating potential prospects. The No. 10 ranked recruit in the ESPN 100, and a consensus five-star recruit out of IMG, was a huge reason for Houston’s No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. And he showed the bright lights weren’t too much when moments mattered most.
Walker shot a solid percentage from the floor (46.5), and averaged 11.2 PPG while collecting 6.8 boards per contest.
Duke forward Dariq Whitehead
Whitehead’s commitment to Duke was perhaps the best thing head coach Jon Scheyer could’ve hoped for to kick off a new era in Durham. The five-star prospect and No. 2 player in ESPN 100’s Class of 2022 rankings flashed every tool in his skill set during his freshman season.
He nabbed four steals in an ACC matchup against Virginia, while tallying four games with at least four 3-balls. Whitehead also scored in double-figures in 10 games, including a stretch in which he did so in six of eight contests.
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