Duke's Cooper Flagg, Khaman Maluach, UNC's Ian Jackson among NBA Draft 2025 prospects (2024)

Duke basketball has seen a record five of its players lead the way as the top overall pick in the NBA draft.

Cooper Flagg, who will try to help the Blue Devils win a sixth national championship, could be No. 6 as the No. 1 pick in the 2025 NBA Draft.

Flagg is projected to be the top pick in next year’s draft. If he goes No. 1, Flagg will join a list that includes Paolo Banchero (2022), Zion Williamson (2019), Kyrie Irving, Elton Brand (1999) and Art Heyman (1963).

Five Blue Devils were selected in the 2022 NBA Draft, setting a new standard for the program. Duke could match or exceed that number in 2025, according to several watch lists.

Here’s a look at six Blue Devils and quartet of North Carolina Tar Heels to keep an eye on for next year’s draft.

NBA mock draft 2025

Here’s a breakdown of the chatter surrounding 10 NBA draft prospects at Duke and UNC entering the 2024-25 college basketball season.

Cooper Flagg, Duke

Flagg, 17, brings a level of hype that hasn’t been seen in college basketball since Zion Williamson’s one-and-done season at Duke. Like Williamson, Flagg has the tools to be a franchise-changing selection. A menace defensively with relentless energy, the 6-foot-9 wing can be a college superstar without being a high-volume scorer. Flagg’s versatility will keep him in the conversation to be the top pick in 2025.

Khaman Maluach, Duke

The 7-foot-2 center has a 9-foot-6 standing reach and will be playing with South Sudan in the Paris Olympics. Maluach’s mobility and athleticism, along with his development alongside Flagg at Duke, could make him a top five pick in 2025. Maluach, 17, had the experience of playing at NBA Academy Africa and his long-term upside will put him near the top of every team’s big board.

Caleb Foster, Duke

A 6-foot-5, 202-pound guard entering his sophom*ore season for the Blue Devils, Foster has a chance to enter the conversation as a first-round pick if he continues to develop as a playmaker and defender. Foster, who made 40% of his 3-pointers as a freshman, missed the final stretch of last season with an ankle injury. With Jared McCain in the NBA, Foster will have an opportunity to step into an enhanced role as a leader and facilitator.

Isaiah Evans, Duke

Often referred to as “Baby Ingram” because of his Brandon Ingram-like frame, Evans arrives in Durham as a 6-foot-6, 175-pound wing with a bucket-getting reputation. He oozed confidence as an elite scorer at the high school level and finished his prep career as the top player in North Carolina. Evans has the potential to be one of the top scorers available in the 2025 draft.

Tyrese Proctor, Duke

It’s easy to forget Proctor arrived at Duke a year earlier than expected. The 20-year-old guard enters his junior season hoping to find consistency as a playmaker, shotmaker and defender. The 6-foot-6, 185-pound guard led Duke in assists last season, but injuries prevented him from reaching his full offensive potential as a sophom*ore. Still, Proctor has the tools to be a first-round pick in 2025.

Ian Jackson, UNC

A 6-foot-5, 185-pound guard from New York, Jackson headlines the Tar Heels’ 2024 recruiting class. An athletic two-way player, Jackson has elite quickness and should thrive in UNC’s uptempo offense as one of the team’s top scorers. If he lives up to his potential at the college level, Jackson will likely be a first-round pick in 2025.

Drake Powell, UNC

Powell has the measurables to gauge interest from NBA teams. The 6-foot-6 wing went from relatively unknown to a McDonald’s All-American. Known for his defense and top-notch athleticism, Powell’s ability to show those skills off at UNC could vault him into discussion as a possible first-round pick next year.

Kon Knueppel, Duke

With Duke’s starpower across its current roster, it’s easy to overlook players not named Flagg or Maluach. But Knueppel joins the Blue Devils as a bonafide scorer with a 6-foot-7, 217-pound frame. The top high school player in Wisconsin, Knueppel can shoot it at a high level, create for teammates with his passing and rack up rebounds. If he carries that versatility to Duke, Knueppel can be a first-round pick capable of helping a franchise in a variety of ways.

Elliot Cadeau, UNC

Cadeau reclassified to join the Tar Heels a year earlier than expected, living up to the hype as one of the top passers in the country. As a 6-foot-1 guard, Cadeau would be undersized in the NBA, but he consistently showed off his shiftiness and change-of-pace dribbling skills as a freshman. If Cadeau wants to boost his NBA profile, he must improve his 3-point shooting as a sophom*ore.

RJ Davis, UNC

Like Cadeau, Davis is an undersized guard who could potentially have a tough time against the length and athleticism of NBA players. But as a New York guard, Davis has consistently met the moment with his toughness as an elite scorer capable of creating space and knocking down shots at all three levels. If he puts up similar numbers as his senior season, Davis will get a chance with an NBA team.

Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached atrbaxley@fayobserver.com or @RoddBaxley on X/Twitter.

Duke's Cooper Flagg, Khaman Maluach, UNC's Ian Jackson among NBA Draft 2025 prospects (2024)
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