BUFFS

Three CU Buffs now mocked to be selected high in 2024 NBA Draft

May 21, 2024, 3:16 PM | Updated: 4:35 pm

Tristan da Silva #23 of the Colorado Buffaloes celebrates with KJ Simpson...

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Colorado Buffaloes have only had three players selected in the NBA Draft twice, and that was in 1981 and in 1955 when the event was 10 or more rounds long. Now with the Draft much shorter and in a more modern form, the Buffs leaving campus could make history.

Bleacher Report updated their mock for this year’s draft on Tuesday, after last week’s NBA Combine. In it, they have three CU Buffs going in the first 31 picks of the Draft. Cody Williams was long expected to be a lottery pick but with the strong seasons and solid showings in the process thus far from KJ Simpson and Tristan da Silva, both may end up in the first round as well.

Simpson was the real star of the team, finished his junior season by earning a first-team All-Pac-12 nod and playing CU into the dance for the first time since 2021. The 6-foot-2 guard led the team in points (19.7), assists (4.9) and steals (1.3) per game while racking up the third-most rebounds (5.8). Simpson was the only power conference player in the nation this winter to average at least 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. Plus he hit one of the biggest shots in college basketball this spring, a buzzer-beater for a tournament win. Bleacher Report now has him going No. 31, just outside the first round, to the Raptors. They compare his strong shooting splits at 47.5%/43.4%/83.4% and 40.5 inches vertical to Magic guard Cole Anthony.

The only one of the three not moving up boards at the combine was da Silva, but he’s still expected to go in the mid or late first round, mocked by BR to go No. 20 to the Cavaliers. The 6-foot-8 23-year-old averaged 16 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 34 minutes a night over his 34 games this winter.

Again bouncing into the top 10 is Cody Williams, who at one point was trending toward being the top pick. The 6-foot-7 one-and-done played in 24 college games, starting 18 while he averaged 11.9 points, 3 rebounds and 1.6 assists on 55% shooting and 59% from three. The younger brother of Thunder breakout guard/forward Jalen Williams is a higher-rated prospect and is being eyed for a possible defensive weapon. The two-way player who flashed a strong three still will have to wow teams in workouts given his college season was shortened by injury.

The Buffs have only had four first-round picks since the turn of the millennia—David Harrison, Alec Burks, Andre Roberson and the last being Derrick White in 2017. Spencer Dinwiddie, George King, Tyler Bey and Jabari Walker are the only other players selected from the Tad Boyle era of hoops in Boulder. So it looks like the trio of Buffs leaving Boyle’s roster are about to make history for a single draft class at CU and will leave the NBA littered with Buffs—as many as seven active players by next season’s start.

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