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Top-7 College Basketball Free Agents After 2024 NBA Withdrawal Deadline and Where Their Recruitment Stands

With the deadline to withdraw from the 2024 NBA draft (May 29) past, it is known who will and won’t be returning to college basketball. Here is a look at the top six players in the NCAA transfer portal. All six players went through the draft process and are sure to generate a lot of buzz in the coming weeks.

7 Top College Basketball Free Agents After 2024 NBA Withdrawal Deadline, Where Their Recruitment Stands?

Arthur Kaluma, Kansas State

Arthur Kaluma is one of several players who took his decision to withdraw from the 2024 NBA draft down to the wire. Kaluma is coming off a career year in his only season at Kansas State. He will have two years of eligibility left.

Kaluma averaged 14.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while compiling a slash line of .427/.345/.747 last season. The 6-7 forward, a consensus top 50 recruit in 2021, produced five double-doubles and scored in double-figures 28 times, including six contests of 20-plus points.

Kaluma is expected to draw plenty of attention to the open market. According to Andrew Graham of On3, Arkansas is the prohibitive favorite for Kaluma. However, he could return to K-State.

“If he gets drafted that is a great thing for our program,” coach Jerome Tang said during a Catbacker event in Manhattan. “If he comes back to school and we have a chance to get him that is something we are going to try and do.”

Coleman Hawkins, Illinois

While Coleman Hawkins will likely have plenty of options, the 6-10 forward won’t be back at Illinois, per Cody Nafel of 247Sports. Hawkins is seeking around $2 million in NIL money, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

“I will never play in the Big Ten again, I wouldn’t play in the Big East. I would go somewhere where I can enjoy a football game. Hawkins said when asked what he was looking for in a school. “But yeah, some schools have reached out, but some schools, I’ve just been honest with them and I haven’t wasted their time. I flat out told ’em, that’s just not somewhere I would even consider going.”

Hawkins turned in his best season last season. The 6-10 forward averaged 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds (1.4 offensive), and 2.7 assists in 33.1 minutes over 35 appearances. He also recorded 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks while shooting .451/.369/.792.

Jamir Watkins, Florida State

Jamir Watkins came into his own offensively this past season at Florida State. Now, the 6-7 wing is considered one of the best players still in the transfer portal. He spent two seasons at VCU before transferring to Tallahassee this past year.

Known as a defensive ace, Watkins compiled 15.6 points while shooting .457/.344/.795. Watkins added 6.0 boards, 2.8 assists, and 1.9 steals. He scored in double figures in 28 of 33 contests, topping the 20-point mark five times, including a career-high 33 points in the ACC Tournament against Virginia Tech.

“I expect St. John’s and Michigan to be the two biggest contenders to bring Watkins in on a visit, though others could emerge, said Austin Veazy of Sports Illustrated. “There is a possibility Watkins could return to Florida State next season, but that is something I’d consider to be unlikely at this point. He’ll want a better chance to win and may not be convinced FSU is the best situation for that, given their roster overhaul and current state.”

Trevon Brazile, Arkansas

Trevon Brazile entered this past season with lots of promise despite having his sophomore campaign cut short due to an ACL injury. He was named to the 2023-24 Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch.

However, the athletic 6-9 forward struggled, averaging 8.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 25.7 minutes. His shooting slash line was .488/.353/.695 in 26 contests, as he missed a month of action due to injury.

Brazile, who totaled four double-doubles, started his college season at Missouri before playing the last two years at Arkansas. He will have at least one year of eligibility left.

Jeff Goodman of TheFieldof68 said Brazile’s recruitment is wide open.

Memphis, Nebraska, and St. John’s are among the schools involved in Brazile’s recruitment.

Ugonna Onenyso, Kentucky

Though very limited offensively, Ugonna Onenyso is the best center remaining in the transfer portal. The 6-11 Nigerian totaled 3.6 points, 4.8 boards, and 2.8 blocks in 18.8 minutes over 24 games. He made 55% of his field goals and 58.8% of his free throws while compiling one double-double.

On3’s Jamie Shaw reported after the NBA Draft Combine that Onenyso’s recruitment will come down to Louisville, Alabama, Kansas State, and UNC. Shaw added that K-State and UNC are seen as the favorites to land his commitment. Onenyso, who has two years of eligibility remaining, will visit Kansas State on Monday, per Joe Tipton of On3.

Wooga Poplar, Miami

Wooga Poplar has played the past three seasons at Miami. The 6-5 guard, known for his defense, is coming off a career year. He has one year of eligibility left.

Poplar averaged 13.1 points, 4.8 boards, and 2.1 assists in 31.1 minutes over 29 appearances. He knocked down 2.1 treys a game while shooting .426/.385/.864.

The Philadelphia native has visited Villanova. He will also visit Kentucky, Arkansas, Oregon, and potentially Kansas. CBS Sports John Rothstein reported that Poplar’s father told him that Wooga will visit Oregon next week.

Garwey Dual, Providence

Garwey Dual, a consensus top-40 recruit in 2023, struggled mightily as a freshman with Providence. The 6-5 wing averaged 3.3 points with a .333/.250/.557 slash line. He scored a career-high 14 points against Milwaukee on November 11.

There is no update on his recruitment. According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog, Dual was contacted by Dayton, DePaul, Mississippi State, Texas, Georgia, Rice, and SMU before entering the NBA draft.

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