Top 5 2024 NBA draft prospects who didn't play in college ft. Alex Sarr

Joe Cox
NBA: Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs
On the heels of Victor Wembanyama's NBA stardom, who will be the next Draft star who didn't play college basketball?

Once upon a time, the NBA Draft was a collection of veteran college basketball talent. But that was before Dirk, Doncic, Wemby, or a wealth of other international stars. These days, many of the top NBA Draft picks will be players who didn't play college basketball. In fact, here are five top 2024 Draft prospects, mostly via the international route, who didn't play college basketball.

Top 5 2024 NBA Draft prospects who didn't play college basketball

Matas Buzelis (right) is one of the top NBA Draft prospects who did not play college basketball.
Matas Buzelis (right) is one of the top NBA Draft prospects who did not play college basketball.

#1 Alex Sarr

Sarr is a 7-foot Frechman who has played in a variety of leagues, but not college. He played for Real Madrid several years ago, spent a year with Overtime Elite in the US, and was last playing in the Australian Basketball League. Sarr's father played professionally in France and his older brother Oliver played at Wake Forest and Kentucky and has briefly played in the NBA.

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Sarr is a defensive standout whose offensive game is something of a work in progress. He's only 19 and height can't be coached. In other years, Sarr might go lower, but he figures to be one of the top picks in the 2024 NBA Draft.

#2 Zaccharie Risacher

Risacher is from France, although he was born in Spain, where his father was then playing professionally. Risacher is a 6-foot-9 forward. He's been active in the European League and has played internationally for France. His father won a silver medal with the French national team in 2000.

Risacher at 19 is a capable catch and shoot player. It is expected that his combination of size and speed will allow him to be versatile defensively at the next level. He's almost certainly going in the top five picks of the Draft.

#3 Matas Buzelis

Buzelis grew up around Chicago and attended high school in America. One of the top prospects in the 2023 college recruiting class, Buzelis instead opted for the NBA G League. He averaged 14.3 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game there.

Buzelis is another 6-foot-9 forward who could slide between positions from two through four depending on his development and matchups. His 3-point shooting (27 percent) has been spotty and will need to improve. He's still an almost definite lottery pick in the Draft.

#4 Nikola Topic

A tall Serbian point guard, Topic is an intriguing prospect. Just 18 years old, the 6-foot-6 Topic has played briefly in the Euro League and in a pair of Serbian leagues. His father won a silver medal in the 1996 Olympics. The down side for Topic is a recent partial ACL tear, which could hurt his stock.

Topic has leaned heavily on his height in Serbian play, but it's not entirely clear how his pick-and-roll heavy game will translate to the NBA. Still, 6-foot-6 point guards don't grow on trees. Topic could well be a lottery pick.

#5 Tidjane Salaun

A 6-foot-9 forward, Salaun is an 18 year old prospect who has been playing in France. His skills are developing, but he has shown solid perimeter shooting and impressive intensity and tenacity.

Salaun could go anywhere from middle of the lottery to later in the first round. But in a Draft lacking a ton of mega prospects, don't be surprised to see a team picking fairly early fall for him.

Which international stars are you looking forward to seeing in the NBA Draft? Let's hear your thoughts below in our comments section!

Edited by Debasish
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