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2024 NBA Draft: Colorado’s Cody Williams turns pro, could join brother Jalen Williams as a lottery pick

Colorado forward Cody Williams is entering the NBA Draft after earning Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honors, he announced on Monday. The younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder star wing Jalen Williams projects as a certain lottery selection because of his versatility as a two-way player.

At 6-foot-8, Williams is the prototypical modern NBA wing. He started in 18 games for the Buffaloes this season and lived up to his five-star billing coming out of high school. Williams received buzz earlier this cycle as a potential candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s draft. 

Williams missed seven games earlier this calendar year because of a wrist injury. Williams was sidelined for the final four games of the regular season due to an ankle injury suffered on Feb. 24 against Utah. Williams returned for the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments and came off the bench. Colorado finished the season 26-11 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 2 seed Marquette.

Cody Williams’s NBA Draft projection

Williams will likely be a top-10 pick when it’s all said and done. He may go higher in the draft because of the uncertainty around the top prospects. Williams is a high-ceiling prospect that NBA teams will covet come draft time because of his size and versatility. It also helps that his older brother, Jalen, went through the draft process and went from a late-lottery pick to one of the top-rising stars in the NBA.

“His upside is undeniable,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle told CBS Sports before the Pac-12 Tournament. “That fact that he’s the younger brother of Jalen, who has had a tremendous impact early in his NBA career. They come from the same family, have the same body type and they’re wonderful people with humility and work ethic. You know that he’s going to keep getting better and better.”

In the 2024 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings from CBS Sports, Williams checked in at No. 6 as the third-highest-ranked college prospect behind Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard. Williams landed at No. 9 in a recent mock draft from Kyle Boone and landed at No. 5 in Gary Parrish’s most recent mock draft.

“The younger brother of rising OKC Thunder star Jalen Williams, Cody caught the eye of NBA teams this season with his size and skill as a playmaking wing,” Boone wrote. “He’s shooting above 40% from 3-point range on modest volume this season as a freshman and flashed in a number of roles with the Buffaloes this season.”

Impact on Colorado

Losing Williams was expected for Colorado, but it’s still a loss. Williams was the highest-ranked player to sign with the Colorado program, and he helped elevate his team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2021. Boyle will have holes to fill ahead of the Buffaloes joining the Big 12 this summer. 

Colorado guard J’Vonne Hadley and big man Eddie Lampkin entered the transfer portal, and guard KJ Simpson is undecided on his future. Colorado star Tristan da Silva projects as a first-round pick this summer and is likely to depart. Four-star combo guard Andrew Crawford headlines Colorado’s incoming recruiting class. Crawford could take on a key role early if Boyle can’t fill the holes on the roster via the transfer portal.

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