UConn's Alex Karaban withdraws from 2024 NBA Draft to return for junior season

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - APRIL 08: Alex Karaban #11 of the Connecticut Huskies cuts down the net after beating the Purdue Boilermakers 75-60 to win the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament National Championship game at State Farm Stadium on April 08, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Alex Karaban has won two national championships in two seasons at UConn. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

UConn’s Alex Karaban is coming back for another national title run.

Karaban announced Wednesday that he was withdrawing from the 2024 NBA draft and would be back for his redshirt junior season. Karaban is set to be the only returning starter for the two-time defending national champion Huskies.

Karaban has started all but one game for the Huskies after he redshirted in 2021-22. He was the team’s third-leading scorer in 2023-24 as he averaged 13.3 points per game over 31 minutes a contest. For his career, Karaban is a 39% shooter from behind the 3-point line and has averaged nearly five rebounds a game.

Center Donovan Clingan and guard Stephon Castle could both be lottery picks in June. Castle averaged 11 points a game and shot 47% from the field while immediately becoming an impact defender in his only season at UConn. Clingan was a shot eraser at the rim for much of the NCAA tournament as he had 19 blocks during the Huskies’ run to a second consecutive national title.

Only Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer averaged more points for UConn in 2023-24 than Karaban and both were playing their fifth seasons of college basketball. Newton spent two seasons with the Huskies after transferring from East Carolina, and Spencer played one season at UConn after three seasons at Loyola (Maryland) and a season at Rutgers.

UConn is adding Michigan center Tarris Reed Jr. through the transfer portal for next season along with St. Mary’s point guard Aidan Mahaney. The Huskies also have the No. 10 recruiting class in the country for 2024, with a three-player group that includes five-star forward Liam McNeeley. The Florida native committed to the Huskies in April after recommitting from Indiana and is ranked as the No. 16 player in his class.