When taking a look at the NBA All-Rookie First Team, you may notice a trend. Aside from Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic, the other four names on the prestigious list attended college for more than two years.
Keegan Murray, the No. 4 pick from the 2022 NBA Draft, spent two years at Iowa after a postgrad year in Florida. Bennedict Mathurin played two seasons at Arizona before breaking out as a sophomore. Walker Kessler spent one year at North Carolina before transferring to Auburn for a breakout season. Jalen Williams spent three seasons at Santa Clara before becoming a lottery selection and emerging as one of the top rookies in the NBA.
One-and-done players account for a majority of the lottery selections over the past decade, but there are still numerous examples of older players coming into the league and making an impact right away. Christian Braun spent three years at Kansas and made an immediate impact as a rookie during the Denver Nuggets’ championship run. Braun and Murray led all rookies in every playoff statistic this postseason.
Jalen Brunson and Draymond Green are two other examples of notable upperclassmen who spent more time in college before making the jump. Brunson just led the New York Knicks to the conference semifinals, and Green was an instrumental part of four championships with the Warriors.
There are no projected upperclassmen lottery selections in Thursday’s 2023 NBA Draft, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a career like the players mentioned above. Here are eight upperclassmen on the CBS Sports Big Board that could make an impact for years to come.
Kris Murray, F, Iowa
Age: 22 | CBS Sports big board ranking: 20
Kris isn’t quite the athlete his twin brother is, but they both play a similar style. Kris will make an immediate impact as a combo forward, and his shooting should translate directly to the league. Keegan broke the rookie record last season for most three-pointers made in a single season, and Kris should get a healthy amount of shot attempts from distance in his first season and beyond. Kris shot 33.5% from distance last season and ranked in the 91st percentile in post-up scoring, per Synergy data. His wingspan will give him the tools to be a plus defender at the next level, and his age/experience should give him an edge to be ready to play right away for whatever team drafts him.
Jaime Jaquez Jr., G, UCLA
Age: 22 | CBS Sports big board ranking: 25
Jaquez is one of the oldest first-round projections in this draft. He can jump into a rotation right away and make an impact because of what he brings to the table. Jaquez is not a great athlete overall but is extremely crafty and can score anywhere on the floor in a variety of ways. He showed flashes of being an elite post-scorer during his college career that may or may not translate over to the modern NBA game. He is a plus defender with a high motor, and those are the qualities that can make him a role player in the NBA for years to come. Jaquez may not have the ceiling of his UCLA teammate, Amari Bailey, but his floor makes him a viable option for a contending team in need of a depth piece.
Andre Jackson Jr., G, UConn
Age: 21 | CBS Sports big board ranking: 26
Jackson is one of the best defenders in this draft class. That alone will help him stick around in the league no matter where he is selected on draft night. He has great size and length for the position, and his basketball IQ is described as one of his greatest strengths as a player. The biggest concern about Jackson is his shooting, which is extremely unreliable. If his shooting was better heading into the draft, there is no doubt he would be a surefire lottery pick. His athleticism and defensive upside alone is what is going to make him a likely first-round pick. If he can go to the right situation and improve his jumper, the sky is the limit.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana
Age: 23 | CBS Sports big board ranking: 29
Jackson-Davis is one of the best rim protectors in this class, and because of the lack of big man talent in this draft it’s possible he’s drafted higher than where he ranks on the big board. He is an elite athlete for his size and can play the four or be a small-ball center at the next level. He’s shown the ability to guard smaller wings on the perimeter during switches because of the athleticism he possesses. The biggest concern for him going forward is his inability to stretch the floor and be a modern stretch-four. Despite his deficiencies as a shooter, he has all the other qualities to thrive as a big that can finish around the rim and defend at a high level.
Olivier Maxence-Prosper, F, Marquette
Age: 21 | CBS Sports big board ranking: 30
Maxence-Propsper’s stock has been steadily rising since the NBA Combine last month thanks to his size and athleticism. He was a second-round projection and even a candidate to return to school for another season and test his luck during the 2024 NBA Draft. He’s shown he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to make an impact on the game, however, and he can use his defense and pure athleticism to make his presence known on the floor. He is another player that would benefit tremendously from improved shooting. He got better during every season he was in college, but he will need to prove he can knock down shots from beyond the arc at a consistent rate to take the next step.
Colby Jones, G, Xavier
Age: 21 | CBS Sports big board ranking: 33
Jones went from shooting 29.2% from 3-point land on 2.1 attempts per game as a sophomore to a respectable 37.8% as a junior on a higher volume of 3.4 attempts per game. Jones shot 33.3% from distance as a freshman at Xavier and will have to continue to show last season wasn’t a one-hit-wonder. Jones has great size for the position with an NBA-ready frame. He possesses upside as a defender and showed an ability to crash the glass hard for a guard. Those are all qualities that can make him stick on an NBA roster.
Julian Strawther, G, Gonzaga
Age: 21 | CBS Sports big board ranking: 34
Once an elite recruit, Strawther could’ve been a one-and-done candidate coming out of high school. That ended up not being the case. Strawther stayed for three seasons with the Zags and showed improvement every season. He has a quick and mechanically sound shooting motion, which helped him become a high-quality volume shooter last season. He doesn’t have the quickest first step and his lateral quickness can be a concern on the defensive end, but Strawther has the chance to carve out a role in the NBA as a shooter.
Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas
Age: 22 | CBS Sports big board ranking: 45
Wilson has a chance to be just like Braun, his former teammate at Kansas. Wilson isn’t an exceptional athlete like Braun, but he does have a high motor and is an awkward matchup for opposing teams because of his size. He’s too quick for bigs who guard him and too strong for smaller guards who take on the challenge of defending him. Rebounding is one of his greatest strengths with an average of 8.3 boards last season with the Jayhawks. Wilson comes from championship DNA with Kansas and will establish himself in the league if he improves his shooting from distance.