Texas Basketball: 3 top 2024 NBA Draft Longhorns prospects

In six months, Texas basketball could have its first player selected in the NBA Draft in the last three years (since 2021).

Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball
Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /
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Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball
Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /

Dillon Mitchell, F

After making the decision to withdraw from the NBA Draft last offseason and return to school for his sophomore campaign, sophomore Texas forward Dillon Mitchell has shown improvement in his game on both ends of the floor.

The ultra-gifted 6-foot-8 and 210-pound forward Mitchell is a rare athlete who is ultra bouncy and is very fast and agile. Mitchell is an incredible rebounder, especially on the offensive glass, where he's made a living for the Longhorns as the team's best offensive rebounder in the last two seasons.

Mitchell is also an explosive finisher at the rim who can put the ball in the basket while playing up-tempo in transition or getting touches in the settled half court offense in the paint.

Where Mitchell has greatly improved this season is his mid-range jump shot. Mitchell has shown off a more natural-looking jump shot from two-point range this season, as he's hitting his looks from at least six feet from the basket at a clip just north of 35 percent.

While 35 percent from two-point range on attempts from the short and mid-range doesn't sound fantastic, it's a pretty big deal for Mitchell's development and his NBA Draft outlook.

The fact that Mitchell is taking more mid-range jumpers in the Big 12 this season, and hitting them at least at a respectable clip is major progress for him becoming a more well-rounded scorer.

Mitchell's improvement on the offensive end has translated in him becoming a more effective facilitator of the offense from inside the arc. He's quadrupled his assists per game average year-over-year, while keeping turnovers at a minimum in the majority of games he's played this season.

Another significant progression for Mitchell on the offensive end is his free-throw shooting. Mitchell was a bad free-throw shooter last season, hitting his looks from the line at a clip just north of 40 percent. He's shooting a much-improved 62.3 percent from the line on an average of around 3.5 attempts per game this season.

On the defensive end, Mitchell is still the same switchable and athletic force we knew him to be last season. The two areas he's improved the most on defense are his positioning and fundamentals around the glass and his timing as a rim protector.

Mitchell has become an effective shot-blocker this season by timing his jumps and getting in better position around the basket on defense.

Since he's getting in better position at the right time in the paint on defense, Mitchell has also become a more effective rebounder. He ranks second in the toughest conference in the country in the Big 12 this season in defensive rebounding percentage (23.9 percent).

In the latest mock drafts, Mitchell has often been projected as a mid-to-late second-round pick. NBA Draft Room projected him to be picked 80th overall in the second round of the 2024 draft in their latest mock.

But if he continues to show improvement on offense down the stretch this season, especially in March, his stock could soar for the draft this summer.

NBA Draft projection: Late first round to early-second round pick

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