NUGGETS

KJ Simpson is the third Buffs player taken in 2024 NBA Draft

Jun 27, 2024, 3:14 PM | Updated: 3:18 pm

KJ Simpson #2 of the Colorado Buffaloes...

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

KJ Simpson completes the trio of history-making Colorado Buffaloes drafted into the NBA this week, selected No. 42 by the Charlotte Hornets.

Cody Williams went in the first round on Wednesday followed by Tristan da Silva. Now it’s Simpson’s turn, who had the best college career of the three.

Simpson 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 compares his strong shooting splits at 47.5%/43.4%/83.4% and 40.5 inches vertical to Magic guard Cole Anthony.

Simpson, along with the other two NBA-bound Buffs, led CU to a program-record 26 wins and two tournament wins.

Joining the Hornets, Simpson will be behind star LaMelo Ball and veteran Serbian guard Vasilije Micic, Tre Mann and Cody Martin make up the young backcourt of a rebuilding team working around last year’s top pick wing Brandon Miller. Simpson will likely get a shot to play for the long-struggling Hornets, and he likely already played against Ball in high school as the two are both Los Angeles kids. The only reason Simpson fell so far is because of how undersized he is at just 6-foot-1.

“To be here in this moment, everyone who supported me,” Simpson told ESPN through tears. “I can’t wait to keep proving people wrong.”

The three Buffs players that were selected in the 2024 NBA Draft make it 10 Colorado players drafted under Tad Boyle. The Buffs have only had four first-round picks coming into this year’s event since the turn of the millennia—Harrison, Alec Burks, Andre Roberson and the last being Derrick White in 2017. Spencer Dinwiddie, George King, Tyler Bey and Jabari Walker all went in the second round. It’s the third time overall that Colorado has had three kids drafted to the NBA with three prospects leaving school in 1955 and 1981 for the league but only one of those combined six ever played in the league and the event was 10 rounds long. At the start of the season, the NBA should be littered with Buffs—with as many as seven active players.

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