Adama Bal

6–7 | 190 | Guard | Santa Clara | Junior

After playing sparingly in his first two seasons for Arizona, this versatile guard, hailing from France, transferred to Santa Clara and now has exploded onto the scene, playing more than 30 minutes per game. He’s posting excellent all around numbers, with per-game averages of 16 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal on 50% FG / 40% 3P / 90% FT shooting. He was a bit inconsistent early in the season, but has now put together a long string of excellent production. His team has not always been competitive in its games this season, with multiple blowout losses, including to unranked teams. Most recently, Bal (pictured) came up big, hitting six straight free throws in the final minute against Washington State in a 69–61 win at the Jerry Colangelo Classic in Phoenix. With a frame and skill set eerily similar to former Bronco and current OKC Thunder, Jalen Williams, Bal possesses a 7-fott wingspan and is starting to make a lot of believers with his versatile playmaking running the point at 6-6. Following in the footsteps of aforementioned Jalen Williams and Brandin Podziemski, Bal could make it three years in a row that a player from Santa Clara has broken out as a star on the national scene and become a first round draft pick.

Jaxson Robinson

6–7 | 190 | Wing | BYU | Senior

This senior had bounced around quite a bit, transferring from Texas A&M to Arkansas before finally finding his footing at BYU. This has been by far his most productive collegiate season, now averaging 17 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game with excellent efficiency (49% FG / 43% 3P / 92% FT). He had a 28 point explosion last week against Denver, hitting 8 of 16 three point attempts. It’s worth noting that Robinson is not (yet) starting for BYU — a sign of how early we are in potentially witnessing Jaxson blossom into a potential future NBA stud. The raw tools from this lanky wing reminds of something between Mikal Bridges and Trey Murphy (with plenty of development remaining before reaching the incredible heights of those two players’ levels of success). If he continues with this level of play through the season, we could easily see him move to the middle of the first round in 2024.

Matas Buzelis

6–11 | 190 | Stretch Four | G League Ignite | Age 19

Buzelis is being used as the feature player for the G League Ignite squad. Through six games with the Ignite, Matas Buzelis is filling up the stat sheet with per-game averages of 15 points, 5 rebounds, nearly 2 blocks and 1.5 steals. Buzelis had arguably his best game of the season last week, scoring 25 points (though, worth noting, failed to record an assist). And just two days prior to that, he hit the game winner, a 12-foot fade-a-way shot with just four seconds left. He finished that game with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.

Not that, so far, Buzelis is converting on less than 30% of his 3-point attempts this year, and dishes out only 1.3 assists per 1.8 turnovers. We’d like to see him put on some muscle mass and / or develop his outside shooting as a much more reliable part of his game. But his overall feel, skill level, and length / raw tools have scouts very high on this intriguing prospect, on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Buzelis is a potential top-5 pick in the 2024 draft.

Jaylen Forbes

6–5 | 190 | Wing | Tulane | Senior

This rangy high-scoring wing struggled early this season (and, candidly, through much of his collegiate career) with efficiency. But lately has given us reason to be quite optimistic. Despite his age (as a fifth year senior) Forbes has a wealth of promise due to what appears to be a 7’+ wingspan from the guard position and strong outside shooting prowess. He plays nearly the whole game for Tulane, speaking to a high motor. And while so far this season, he’s converting on a fairly pedestrian 35% from behind the arc, his form looks good. And even more importantly, he looks confident putting them up. About 2/3 of his shot attempts come from deep. Over the previous two seasons, Forbes was about 39% from behind the arc — not elite, but decent. Will he continue to improve here? Forbes also gets to the charity stripe at a decent rate, about 5 free throw attempts per game, where he converts on better than 80%. He’s tougher than your average “shooter.” Forbes could be worth a 2nd round flier for a team looking for a wing with three-and-D potential.

Terrence Shannon Jr.

6–6 | 225 | Wing | Illinois | Senior

The fifth year senior and Texas Tech transfer is enjoying similar success to what we saw from him last season, with one key difference — vastly improved outside shooting. Shannon Jr. improved his three point knockdown rate from 32% to 42% this season, enough to take him from “mediocre” to “strong.” He’s versatile and strong, and has been good all season. But has had a particularly impressive past couple of weeks, including a 33 point outburst against the 11th ranked Florida Atlantic. Over his past three games, he’s attempted a remarkable 28 free throws, and converted on an equally remarkable 26 of them. He also had five blocks in his most recent game, a testament to his versatility. He boasts per game averages this season of 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2.5 assists. Looks like a mid-to-late first rounder.

Judah Mintz

6–4 | 185 | Wing | Syracuse | Soph

This sophomore is averaging 20 points, 3.5 assists, 3 rebounds, and nearly 2 steals per game on excellent outside shooting efficiency (52% 3P). He’s a bit streaky — over his previous two games, he shot 0–4 from deep. But the game prior, he hit 5 of 7 three point attempts. He also gets to the free throw line a lot. He’s had a few games where he’s only attempted two from the charity stripe. But for the most part, he’s attempting ten or more free throws per game. Mintz is not as lightning-quick as you might expect of someone his size and ability. But he has sneaky power and plays with a lot of flair. Over his past three games he’s averaging 24 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.

Ajay Mitchell

6–5 | 190 | Guard | UC Santa Barbara | Junior

This exciting, explosive guard is filling up the stat sheet this season, posting per-game averages of 22 points, 5rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal on amazing 53% FG / 44% 3P / 90% FT shooting. He also boasts an impressive 2:1 assist:turnover ratio. It also must be noted that Mitchell has bumped his outside shooting prowess significantly — last season he shot 27% from deep compared to 43% this season. We’d like to see him sustain this shooting efficicency over a bigger sample size (over the full season). But Mitchell may be shooting his way into the 2024 NBA Draft first round (previously thought of as a 2025 second rounder)! This Belgian was a former 3-star recruit but is really making a name for himself this season.


Trentyn Flowers

6–9 | 180 | Wing | Adelaide 36ers (Australian NBL) | Age 18

After de-committing from Lousiville and taking a somewhat less common path of playing professionally in Australia, and a failed initial experiment at point guard, Flowers has struggled to show the consistency to maintain his spot in the mid-first round area of the mock 2024 Draft. The fluid athlete likes to run the floor and score at all levels. But his team is really struggling, currently sitting at last place in its division with a 4–11 record. And so far he’s played quite sparingly as well. On the plus side, Flowers does stand to see more court time as he learns the Australian pro system and team schemes as the season goes on.

Stephon Castle

6–5 | 215| Guard | UConn | Freshman

Castle, who once looked like a surefire lottery pick, now sees his draft stock in serious question after an underwhelming first part of the 2023–24 collegiate season. He started well enough early in the season against unranked teams. But he’s really struggled against the better competition that UCONN has faced lately. It is likely that at least some, if not most, of Castle’s recent struggles are due to a knee injury that forced him to miss most of November. That would be difficult on any player, let alone a first-year guy.

Castle scored just 3 points in 10 minutes two weeks ago against UNC (but he did grab 4 rebounds). And he scored just 6 points in 19 minutes against Gonzaga last week (but he did dish out 3 assists). The story isn’t all bad here — his team is winning (UCONN is currently undefeated in the games in which Castle plays). But in order to remain a lottery pick, Castle’s individual contribution and therefore confidence and showcasing of what he can do for a team at the next level will likely need to become more clear. Castle has only played in 5 of UConn’s 11 games, and since returning from his knee injury has struggled to find his rhythm.


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