2023 NBA Draft: 10 college players who could replicate Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray and become lottery picks

Three of the top six players selected in Thursday night’s NBA draft played college basketball for two seasons, and 14 of the first 26 players selected in the first round spent multiple years at the NCAA level. So while the top three prospects were all done, there were many more who proved that staying in the college game for a long time is not a death sentence for players with NBA aspirations.

With collegiate players now able to capitalize on their name, image and likeness, staying in school for an extra year or two can be lucrative in the short term for certain players while also offering the potential for long-term development entail. Keegan Murray (No. 4 after Sacramento), Jaden Ivey (No. 5 after Detroit) and Bennedict Mathurin (No. 6 after Arizona) are perfect examples of the phenomenon as they upped their game and their sophomore value invaluable ways increased on last season’s NCAA tournament teams.

Now that the attention is on the Draft class of 2023, the earliest college players selected will likely again be one-and-done players like Arkansas’ Nick Smith, Duke’s Dariq Whitehead, and Baylor’s Keyonte George. However, there are a plethora of returning college players who seem able to fit an extra year of school into the lottery.

With the success of Murray, Ivey and Mathurin on Thursday night as a backdrop, here are 10 returning to college players who have the tools to play the lottery next season.

Kris Murray, Iowa

The twin brother of No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray flirted with staying in the 2022 NBA Draft before deciding to return to Iowa for his junior season. Like his brother, Kris made a huge leap from his freshman year to his sophomore year. Now, with Keegan in the NBA, he will have his chance to become a focal point of the Iowa offense. The obvious downside is that he will be 23 on opening night of the 2023-24 NBA season, which will put him in scouting years of age. But as a versatile and efficient 6ft 8 forward, he could certainly become a lottery player.

Jalen Wilson, Kansas

As the defending champion’s leading recurring scorer, Wilson is poised to be named Big 12 Player of the Year in the 2022-23 college basketball season. A versatile 6ft 8 forward, he has the tools to become a solid NBA player. If Wilson can improve his career by 29.8% 3-point shooting next season, expect him to be considered in the first round in 2023.

Emoni Bates, Memphis (in the transfer portal)

Bates was a flop as a freshman at Memphis compared to the sky-high expectations he had raised as a prospect in the years before he enrolled. But he’s still a dynamic 6ft 9 player with long-term potential to become a lottery pick. He didn’t even qualify for the 2022 NBA draft as he doesn’t turn 19 until January, giving Bates plenty of time to develop further.

Harrison Ingram, Stanford

Ingram is a 6ft 8 forward with good ball skills and the ability to score on multiple levels. If the reigning Pac-12 Rookie of the Year can follow EJ Liddell’s blueprint and become a national breakout player as a sophomore, then he will play his way into first-round talks. He’s built similarly to Liddell, meaning he doesn’t play over the edge but has a nice mix of skill and toughness.

Matthew Cleveland, State of Florida

The reigning ACC Sixth Man of the Year is poised to play a starring role for Florida State next season after averaging 11.5 points as a freshman. The former five-star contender brings good height as a skinny 6ft 6 winger. They know he’s tutored in defense by Leonard Hamilton at FSU, and if he can improve his outside shooting after making 6 of 34 attempts from 3-pointers last season, he may be a breakthrough contender.

Marcus Bagley, Arizona State

Bagley, a top-30 prospect from the Class of 2020, was limited to just 15 games in two seasons at Arizona State due to an injury. But as a 6-foot-8 forward with a promising outside shot, Bagley could make some noise if he’s able to stay grounded for an entire season and show some defensive versatility.

Julian Strawther, Gonzaga

Strawther entered Gonzaga’s starting lineup as a sophomore and thrived by scoring 11.8 points per game on 49.8% shooting. At 6-foot-7, the former four-star prospect should be able to guard multiple positions at the next level. We’ll see how well-rounded his offensive game really is next season as he’s likely to play an even bigger role for the Zags following the departures of Andrew Nembhard and Chet Holmgren.

Baylor Scheiermann, Creighton

Scheierman increased his 3-point streak to 46.9% as a junior at South Dakota State last season while doing everything for a Jackrabbits roster that finished 30-5. Now in Creighton, the 6-foot-6 wing has a chance to garner significant attention in the draft if his elite shooting and versatility translates to a higher level of college basketball.

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana

Jackson-Davis makes the list because if he ever adds an outside shot, he has all the tools to be a modern NBA center. The only problem is that in 94 college games he’s only attempted three 3-pointers and missed every one of them. Will Indiana’s coach, NBA veteran Mike Woodson, cultivate this part of his star player’s game next season? Don’t bet on it. But if it does, Jackson-Davis can be a first-round pick.

Isiah Mosley, Missouri

Mosley averaged 20.4 points for Missouri State last season while hitting 42.7% of his 3-pointers, 54.2% of his 2-pointers and 90.2% of his free throws. This is an incredibly efficient offensive play for a 6’5 player playing at high offensive volume. If he repeats anywhere near that efficiency next season in Missouri, look to Mosley to create some draft buzz.

Award

Tyrese Hunter, Texas
Daeshun Ruffin, Ole Miss
Caleb Love, North Carolina
Jeremy Roach, Duke
Terquavion Smith, State NC
Nolan Hickman, Gonzaga
Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA

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