The 2024 NBA Draft is old news. Preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics basketball tournament is at full throttle with the qualifiers all settled. The NBA's next 82-game slate will not begin until late October, giving fans and front offices plenty of time to get adjusted to new rosters. At the same time, the 2025 NBA Draft class is already moving to campus to start training for the upcoming 2024-25 NCAA season. Here are the top 25 NCAA basketball prospects to watch as you start thinking about the 2025 NBA Draft.

Tanking for a Top-5 Talent

McDonald's All American East forward Cooper Flagg (32) controls the ball as McDonald's All American West guard Valdez Edgecombe Jr (7) defends during the first half at Toyota Center.
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Cooper Flagg (Duke) apparently ‘stole the show' and with a ‘no fear approach' against Team USA in Las Vegas. Plenty of teams will gamble on a tank job next spring to land Flagg in the 2025 NBA Draft. There will be gigabytes of articles filed over the next few months. Other talents deserve some attention but the alliteration-based mantra for next year is already making the rounds. Let the Falling for Flagg frenzy begin!

Airious ‘Ace' Bailey (Rutgers) is the kind of talent that can get a high-major to visit a mid-major just due to proximity to home. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are traveling to Kennesaw State, which is a dozen miles from Bailey's high school gym. Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell explained why this spare-no-expense approach to Bailey's basketball development is appropriate this summer.

VJ Edgecombe (Baylor) and Dylan Harper (Rutgers) are game-changing wings in the same athletic more than muscular 6-foot-6 molds. Edgecombe knows all about being in an NBA-caliber locker room. He helped Buddy Hield, Deandre Ayton, and Eric Gordon lead Team Bahamas to within one game of qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Harper, not Bailey, is being heralded as the highest-ranked recruit in program history.

Nolan Traore (Saint-Quentin) is the lone international being mentioned as a top-five talent in next year's draft. The 6-foot-3 point guard is nowhere near as tall as countryman Victor Wembanyama but Traore did average a double-double last season as a teenager going against grown men. It's hard to bet against the French having at least one top-five 2025 NBA Draft talent after the last few years.

Looking for NBA Draft Lottery steals

Dink Pate (Mexico City Capitanes) is already becoming a G-League journeyman. The Dallas native was with the NBA's G-League Ignite last season, but that operation has now folded. Dink averaged 8.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 23.6 minutes over 31 games for the Ignite. The playmaker is now in a far better competitive situation to have a first-overall-pick-worthy statement season. A fall completely out of the 2025 NBA Draft first round will not be surprising either though, if he shoots 22% from three-point range again.

Jalil Bethea (Miami) looks like Ja Morant when flying through the air toward yet another rim-rocking highlight. Bethea has the cockiness, nay confidence, to cock the ball behind his ear before slamming down another earthquake dunk. The 2024 McDonald's All-American was popping off for 40-point games against the toughest prep competition. Bethea will look to bring the swag back to The U's basketball program.

KJ Lewis (Arizona) got an invite to the G-League Elite Camp but was not offered a spot at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. That was all the feedback needed on the 6-foot-4 firecracker guard. The soon-to-be 21-year-old sophomore should get the keys to the Arizona offense next season. Lewis averaged 6.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game in a secondary role. NBA teams will want to see no lapses in defensive energy (38 steals) regardless of any extra offensive workload.

Kwame Evans (Oregon) was a five-star recruit seemingly on the fast track to one-and-done status. He then averaged 7.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game for a squad that failed to get past the Round of 32. The 6-foot-9 forward made just one of his last 12 three-point attempts. Evans withdrew from the 2024 NBA Draft to return to the Ducks hoping to dial up a better season in a bigger role. Consistency will be the key if the soon-to-be 21-year-old wants to get a Round 1 call next summer.

Donnie Freeman (Syracuse) is a 6-foot-10 pogo stick with a nasty streak. He also showed off a bit of range with IMG Academy before joining up with Team Bahamas for Olympic Qualifying. Freeman has been rising up draft boards for the past year following a dominant showing on the EYBL circuit. Freeman's great guard situation with JJ Starling at Syracuse should help him continue that surge.

One-and-done NCAA wonders

Liam McNeeley (UConn) will face immense pressure in Storrs, Connecticut. Dan Hurley's UConn Huskies are chasing a third straight NCAA national title. McNeeley might be the only hyped freshman whose one college season will be deemed a failure without a Final Four appearance. The size, strength, and hoops IQ are undeniable. If McNeeley's three-point shooting (45%) is unwavering amid the pressure, he will not be waiting long for a call on draft night.

The State of Texas is known for Big Proclamations and the talents of Tre Johnson (Texas) are no exception. He might have also been the only practical example when The Daily Texan ran with the headline ‘The Tre Johnson Era is Coming” to a campus that housed Kevin Durant. Johnson might just have to carry the show for the Longhorns, who lost five key contributors to a 9-9 Big 12 team.

Khaman Maluach (Duke) and Drake Powell (North Carolina) will be pivotal players in the next editions of the talent-rich, history-steeped Blue Devils versus Tar Heels rivalry. Boogie Fland (Arkansas) will get the honor of being Coach John Calipari's first floor general with the Razorbacks. All three could earn themselves a couple million more dollars with even a half-decent season.

Interesting International Talents

2024 ANGT Finals MVP Hugo Gonzalez (Real Madrid) is a 6-foot-6 wing with plenty of upside. He Gonzalez averaged 17.5 points and 3.8 assists in EuroLeague action, a good indicator he could move into an NBA role sooner rather than later. Fans will hear Luka Doncic comparisons leading up to next year's draft. Gonzalez has the talent to put together that kind of tape over the next 12 months. Staying close to home instead of taking an adjustment year at an American college is a choice front offices will ask about.

Teams in the late lottery looking for a big man will make time to watch Michael Ruzic (Joventut). The 18-year-old averaged 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds last season. The 6-foot-9 wing gets up effortless shots despite toothpick skinny arms. Ruzic will have to hit the weight room to hold up on defense but the framework for another Brandon Ingram type of talent is hard to miss.

Noa Essengue (Ratiopharm Ulm) is a 6-foot-10 wing who will be Day One ready on the defensive end. Essengue's ability to switch two through five is far too valuable to fall out of the first round. Egor Demin (BYU) is coming over from the Russian Basketball Academy by way of Real Madrid to get a full taste of American life. The 6-foot-8 wing will not be in Provo long before venturing into the NBA Draft waters.

The two-cent summary on Rocco Zikarsky (Brisbane) is that he is Australia's version of Zach Edey. Being over 7-foot-3 just brings out those comparisons like a new pair of Jordans before the first day of school. It's not an elementary scouting report either. Zikarsky will need a few years to develop despite being in a professional environment since turning 16 years old. His 50% free throw rate is just the start of the critiques but size always attracts scouts with a Sherlock Holmes level of curiosity.

Fliers on familiar NCAA faces

There are plenty of familiar faces on campus soaking in the NIL dollars before taking a chance on being second-round selections. Justin Abson (Georgia) showed real promise at Appalachian State, winning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year honors before portalling over to the SEC. Alex Karaban (UConn) has been on the championship stage before.

Hunter Sallis (Wake Forest) has rediscovered a love for the game since leaving Gonzaga. Johni Broome (Auburn) has stuck it out through thick and thin on the Plains. Fifth-year senior Jaxson Robinson (Kentucky) followed Mark Pope to the Bluegrass State looking for a boost into the first round. Even if these upperclassmen get passed over for younger prospects, there should be at least one NBA franchise willing to take a second-round flier on proven talent.