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The 2024 NBA Draft is less than three months away, so it’s time to get familiarized with some of the upcoming prospects playing in the Sweet 16 this week. A handful of players projected to go in the first round are in action this week while their respective teams look to take one step closer to cutting down the nets in Phoenix on April 8.

In CBS Sports’ latest NBA mock draft by Kyle Boone, Kentucky stars Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham, Baylor’s Ja’Kobe Walter, and Colorado’s Cody Williams are all projected to go in the top 10. All four of those players saw their college career come to a close with a loss in the NCAA Tournament last week.

UConn freshman wing Stephon Castle is the top-ranked college player still playing on Boone’s big board. The former blue-chip prospect has been a key piece on the reigning national champions and projects to go No. 11 in Boone’s mock draft. Castle’s teammate, Donovan Clingan, comes in at No. 12 in the latest mock.

Tennessee star Dalton Knecht also could go early in the draft. The SEC Player of the Year could become the first college upperclassman drafted this summer due to his breakout season. Knecht checks in at No. 14 on Boone’s Big Board.

Here are 10 draft prospects to keep an eye on this week

1. Stephon Castle, SG, UConn

Big Board ranking: 10

The skinny: The 6-foot-6 guard should be coveted come draft time. Castle ranked as the No. 9 overall recruit in the 2023 recruiting cycle by 247Sports. Castle has lived up to his five-star billing despite missing a handful of games this season due to injury. Castle is averaging 10.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists in 26.7 minutes per game. A knock on Castle’s game is his 3-point shooting, as he’s averaging 27.9% on 2.0 attempts per game.

2. Donovan Clingan, C, UConn

Big Board ranking: 11

The skinny: Clingan was a key reserve on last season’s NCAA title team. His role increased drastically in his second year with the program. Clingan is averaging 12.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in only 22.1 minutes. Clingan suffered a foot strain in the leadup to fall practice and missed five games because of another foot injury at the start of the calendar year. Clingan is coming off one of his best performances of the season in a second-round win over Northwestern – posting 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks.

3. Dalton Knecht, G/F, Tennessee 

Big Board ranking: 14

The skinny: Knecht is one of the biggest risers of any draft prospect dating back to the start of the season. Knecht transferred from mid-major Northern Colorado to Tennessee where he became the SEC Player of the Year and firmly has his team in the mix of reaching the Final Four. Knecht is a bruising force that projects at the next level as a guard/forward. Knecht is averaging 21.1 points — good enough for 14th in the country. Tennessee will go as far as Knecht will take them.

Big Board ranking: 15

The skinny: Filipowski bypassed the 2023 NBA Draft to return to school for another season, and his draft stock has stayed in the same range of lottery/mid-first-round selection. Filipowski is posting a career-high in points (16.6), assists (2.9) and blocks (1.6) and is shooting a career-high 34.6% from distance. Filipowski’s free-throw percentage has decreased from 76.5% as a freshman to 66.7% this season. Filipowski has the upside to be a top-10 pick, and how he finishes the season/performs in workouts will be telling.

Big Board ranking: 17 

The skinny: There aren’t many players in his class that have improved their draft stock more than McCain. The Duke sharpshooter could be Duke’s highest-drafted prospect when it’s all said and done if he elects to enter the NBA Draft. McCain is coming off a 30-point outing in the second round against James Madison that featured him knocking down an NCAA Tournament school record eight 3-pointers. McCain is shooting 41.5% from distance on 5.7 attempts. If he stays above both thresholds, he will become the third Duke freshman in the last 25 years to accomplish the feat.

Big Board ranking: 20

The skinny: Shannon averages 23.3 points — the third-highest in the country behind Purdue’s Zach Edey and Denver’s Tommy Bruner. Shannon has scored at least 25 points in his last six games — en route to Illinois reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005. 

Big Board ranking: 24

The skinny: Alexander is one of three Creighton players averaging at least 17 points. The 6-4 guard is knocking down 33.5% of his 3-pointers — a decline from last season after he connected on 4.4 attempts per night at a 41% clip. Alexander is one of the best pure scorers in the country and will be heavily relied on down the stretch.

8. Zach Edey, C, Purdue

Big Board ranking: 33

The skinny: Edey is the heavy favorite to win national player of the year for the second consecutive season, and his return to Purdue this season has the Boilermakers four games away from immortality. Edey’s draft stock is a mixed bag. If you ask 10 people about their draft opinion of him, you will get different responses across the board. Edey projects as a potential first-round pick, but he could fall in the draft. Edey scored 54 points, grabbed 35 rebounds, and blocked six shots in two blowout wins for No. 1 seed Purdue. He is the most dominant college player in the country.

Big Board ranking: 35

The skinny: After missing the end of the regular season and the Big East Tournament due to an oblique injury, Kolek is back and has Marquette in the Sweet 16. Kolek became the first player since Cal’s Jason Kidd (1993) with at least 10 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds in consecutive NCAA Tournament games. His 7.9 assists per game ranks No. 1 in the country.

Big Board ranking: 39

The skinny: When you think of defense at the college level, Shead comes to mind. He is the anchor on the top-ranked defense in the country. Shead averages 6.4 assists and 2.2 steals per night. He is a tenacious guard who should find a role at the next level because of his defense. If Houston cuts down the nets next month, it will be in large part because of Shead.



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