The Future Stars Shined Bright at the 2024 NBA Draft

Held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York the NBA showcased a new class of hoopers.

The 2024 NBA Draft took place on Wednesday (June 26) featuring the newest class of rookies who are anticipating joining the league. Held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the draft included players from international professional leagues, college programs, and the NBA G League.

Before the draft began, spoke with several of the NBA hopefuls about the journeys that brought them to this moment, their excitement about achieving their dreams, and the expectations for their rookie year.

Zaccharie Risacher, who is the second consecutive French-born player and center to be drafted number one, was selected by the Atlanta Hawks. The 6’9” forward spoke about how international players are impacting the league.

“I’m looking forward to being drafted and tonight is going to be amazing,” Risacher said. “I want to get started right away with the team I’m going to play for.”

“In France, we have a lot of basketball talent and good players,” Risacher added.We’re going to keep making an impact in the NBA. I’m really proud of our country.”

For the second pick, the Washington Wizards selected 7-foot center Alex Sarr, who also hails from France. He believes that his wide range of skills will allow him to make an immediate contribution.

“I think I bring versatility and just a hard competitor to whatever team that drafts me,” Sarr explained. “When I hear my name called by Commissioner Silver, it will be a big relief knowing that I accomplished something that was a big dream for me.”

The San Antonio Spurs chose 6’6” swingman Stephon Castle, the number four pick, and shared that he was experiencing an array of emotions on one of the biggest nights of his life.

“I know it's going be a lot of emotions. It's something I've been working hard for a long time and to finally achieve it, I know there will be a lot of thoughts inside my head,” Castle said. “I’m going up there to shake the Commissioner’s hand and start my journey.”

RELATED: Bronny James Declares For The NBA Draft

Castle also shared that his time at the University of Connecticut, where he won a National Championship last season, will help him make the transition to the NBA.

“Being at UConn, with the culture that we have, produces professional players. We’re super disciplined, we work super hard work and we’re super humble,” Castle said. “I feel like coming into the league, you need those attributes to be successful.”

Yves Missi, a 7 '1 center who was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans with the 21st pick, proudly shared his excitement about being from Cameroon and representing the African Diaspora in the draft.

“When my name is called, I will feel happiness because I’ll be thinking of my parents. They’ve lived in Cameroon, Belgium, and France. I've only seen them once in the last two years so I can’t wait to share this moment with them,” Missi said.

The Utah Jazz selected shooting guard Cody Williams, the 10th pick, he was intent on soaking up the moment.

“I just want to enjoy tonight because I've worked so hard to get to this point,” Williams said. “For me, I’m right back to business tomorrow.

Devin Carter was drafted by the Sacramento Kings for the 13th pick and he’s anticipating bringing a winning attitude to his new team.

“I’m someone who’s going to come in and compete from day one. I’m willing to do what the coach and GM ask me to do and I’m somebody who wants to win,” Carter said.

Chosen with the 14th pick by the Portland Trail Blazers, Carlton “Bub” Carrington says that his game is tailor-made for the NBA.

“I’m looking to bring versatility to a team. I’m able to cover a lot of space on both ends of the floor,” Carrington said. “Being able to be put in any situation at any time will be something important that I bring to a team.”

Jade McCain was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers, the 16th pick. He is set to use his shooting skills at the next level.

“Obviously, my most translatable skill is the shooting ability. But I also bring a positive vibe and I plan on being the hardest worker,” McCain said.

The Toronto Raptors picked Ja'Kobe Walter for the 19th pick and he can’t wait to show the world that he's prepared to compete in the league.

“I’m excited to know what my next destination is and can’t wait to start the journey,” Walter said. “I bring a very high IQ, I’m very versatile, a great team player, and a winner. Those things go hand in hand.”

Selected by the Utah Jazz, the 29th pick, Isaiah Collier believes his well-rounded game will make him a difference-maker in the NBA.

I’m an all-around PG [Point Guard] and ready to compete from day one,” Collier said. “I’m looking forward to coming in and making everybody better.”

Kyshawn George was acquired by the New York Knicks for the 24th pick and he wants to showcase his talent right away with his new team.

“I plan on bringing positivity and my shooting ability to my new team,” George said. “I want to be the new guy on the team that spaces the floor really well and is a great teammate.”

Many experts have argued that this draft is weaker than previous drafts when it comes to star power and a sure number-one pick.

Christine Williamson, a studio anchor and analyst on several programs and platforms on ESPN said this draft has numerous players who have the potential to develop into the league's newest stars. She believes this draft class could be an exceptional one when we look back at it in a few years.

“I’ve actually covered a lot of guys during the college basketball season. I talked and got to know a lot of them. I will say that even though I haven't covered the NBA Draft since Tre Young was drafted in 2017, I would compare this draft to the 2013 draft when Giannis Antetekombo was taken at number 15,” Williamson said. 

“I think we'll be shocked by a lot of these players because there are a lot of good diamonds in the rough in this draft,” Williamson continued. “I'm really excited to see not only what the players are wearing tonight but what these players will end up doing in the NBA.”

This year's draft also marked the first time that the event will be held over two days. The first round took place Wednesday night and the second round on Thursday, June 27, at 4PM on ESPN where viewers will see if Bronny James will be selected.

Below is the complete list of the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft:

1. Atlanta Hawks: Zaccharie Risacher, France

2. Washington Wizards: Alex Sarr, France

3. Houston Rockets (from Brooklyn): Reed Sheppard, Kentucky

4. San Antonio Spurs: Stephon Castle, UCONN

5. Detroit Pistons: Ron Holland, G League Ignite

6. Charlotte Hornets: Tidjane Salaun, France

7. Portland Trail Blazers: Donovan Clingan, UCONN

8. Minnesota Timberwolves (trade with San Antonio, from Toronto): Rob Dillingham, Kentucky

9. Memphis Grizzlies: Zach Edey, Purdue

10. Utah Jazz: Cody Williams, Colorado

11. Chicago Bulls: Matas Buzelis, G League Ignite

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Houston): Nikola Topic, Serbia

13. Sacramento Kings: Devin Carter, Providence

14. Washington Wizards: (trade with Portland, from Golden State via Boston and Memphis): Carlton “Bub” Carrington, Pittsburgh

15. Miami Heat: Kel’el Ware, Indiana

16. Philadelphia 76ers: Jared McCain, Duke

17. Los Angeles Lakers: Dalton Knecht, Tennessee

18. Orlando Magic: Tristan da Silva, Colorado

19. Toronto Raptors (from Indiana): Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor

20. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jaylon Tyson, California

21. New Orleans Pelicans (from Milwaukee): Yves Missi, Baylor

22. Denver Nuggets (trade with Phoenix): DaRon Holmes II, Dayton

23. Milwaukee Bucks (from New Orleans): AJ Johnson, United States (played in Australia)

24. Washington Wizards (trade with New York, from Dallas): Kyshawn George, Miami

25. New York Knicks: Pacome Dadiet, France

26. Oklahoma City Thunder (trade with New York, from Washington and LA Clippers via Dallas and Oklahoma City): Dillon Jones, Weber State

27. Minnesota Timberwolves: Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois

28. Phoenix Suns (trade with Denver): Ryan Dunn, Virginia

29. Utah Jazz (from Oklahoma City via Toronto and Indiana): Isaiah Collier, USC

30. Boston Celtics: Baylor Scheierman,Creighton

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