NBA DRAFT

State Of Utah Center Stage For Basketball Draft Season

Jan 22, 2024, 1:01 PM

branden-carlson-slam-dunks-ball-at-huntsman-center-against-byu-2023...

Utah Utes center Branden Carlson (35) dunks the ball in the final minute of a men’s basketball game against the Brigham Young Cougars at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. (Photo Cred: Megan Nielson, Deseret News)

(Photo Cred: Megan Nielson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The state of Utah could take center stage as the draft season approaches for professional basketball.

With college hoops regaining its footing at universities across the state, Utah is set to play a starring role in both the NBA and WNBA drafts.

For the first time since the NBA Draft was shortened to two rounds, players from BYU, Utah, and Weber State might all hear their names selected in late June.

And, for only the second time, there may be a local player selected in the top 10 of the WNBA Draft.

Three Utah Players In Latest NBA Mock Draft

In NBADraft.net’s latest mock draft, three local players are projected to be selected in the top 60 picks.

BYU’s Jaxson Robinson has been the biggest riser in the state having worked his way into the first round of a handful of mock drafts throughout the year.

Standing at 6-foot-7, Robinson has the prototypical size for an NBA wing while knocking down 37 percent of his three-point shots this season for the top-25 ranked Cougars.

Weber State’s Dillon Jones likely would have been drafted last season but opted to return to Ogden in hopes of improving his stock.

The 6-foot-6 do-it-all forward is averaging 18.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists and is likely to be selected in the second round of this year’s draft.

Utah’s Branden Carlson was also featured in the draft site’s latest mock.

The Utes big man is projected to be taken with the penultimate selection in the second round, but has been on the NBA draft radar for several years.

Carlson is averaging 16.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting 33 percent from the three-point line on 4.8 attempts per game.

Pili Likely To Be Top 10 Draft Pick

After another dominant year at Utah, Alissa Pili is generating significant buzz to be selected in the top 10 of the WNBA draft.

Pili helped lead the Utes to a PAC-12 title last season and chose to return for her senior season at Utah.

The All-American forward is averaging 22.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists while shooting a staggering 63 percent from the floor and 46 percent from three.

Pili is projected as the eighth overall pick to the Minnesota Lynx in ESPN’s latest WNBA Mock Draft.

Utah’s Shona Thorburn is the only other local player to be selected in the top 10 of the WNBA Draft.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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