UCLA Basketball: Bruins Star Center Heads to Rebuilding Team In Fresh Mock Draft

Where will this Blue and Gold star wind up?
Feb 24, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA;  UCLA Bruins forward Adem Bona (3) blocks a shot by USC Trojans forward Arrinten Page (22) in the second half at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; UCLA Bruins forward Adem Bona (3) blocks a shot by USC Trojans forward Arrinten Page (22) in the second half at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Following an impressive run at last month's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, former sophomore UCLA Bruins center/power forward Adem Bona looks likely to be selected late in the first round or early in the second round of this month's impending 2024 NBA Draft.

In a fresh mock draft from Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Bona is projected to be selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with their fourth pick this year, at No. 40 (they also have Nos. 7, 14 and 34). Scotto notes that, in earlier mock draft exercises, Bona has ranged from Nos. 38-48.

"UCLA’s Adem Bona has an NBA niche as a high-motor rim-rolling big man who protects the paint as an effective shot blocker and rebounder, which helped him win the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award [in 2024]," Scotto writes.

The Nigerian-born Bona, 21, was also an All-Pac-12 First-Teamer and a two-time Pac-12 All-Defensive Teamer. In 2022-23, he was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year as a starter for a 31-6 club that marched all the way to the Sweet Sixteen.

In 2023-24, the 6-foot-10 big man averaged averaged 12.4 points on 58.8 percent shooting from the field and 69.6 percent shooting from the foul line, 5.9 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 1.2 assists, and 1.1 steals a night.

The Trail Blazers finished 21-61 last season, and it would behoove them to bring aboard as many intriguing, high-upside young players as they can over the next few years. Someone like Bona, who has a finite but defined skillset (a rim-rolling defensive big man), could help contribute as a role player for a Rip City club that desperately could use the assistance.

More UCLA: Adem Bona Lands With East Powerhouse in New Mock Draft


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Alex Kirschenbaum

ALEX KIRSCHENBAUM

Alex likes slam dunks, take him to the hoop. His favorite play is the alley-oop.