UCLA men’s basketball’s Adem Bona declares for NBA Draft but retains eligibility
UCLA men’s basketball freshman forward Adem Bona plays defense. Bona declared for the 2023 NBA Draft on Wednesday while retaining his collegiate eligibility. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)
By Jon Christon
April 19, 2023 9:11 a.m.
This post was updated April 20 at 10:05 p.m.
The Bruins are on the verge of losing their entire starting five to the next level.
UCLA men’s basketball freshman forward Adem Bona is declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft, he announced in an Instagram post Wednesday morning. Bona told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony that he will go through the draft process while retaining his three years of collegiate eligibility.
“Ever since I picked up a basketball, it has always been my dream to show that I could play at the highest level,” Bona wrote in his post. “With that being said, I have decided to declare for the 2023 NBA Draft.”
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According to Givony, Bona recently had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He missed three of UCLA’s final four games – including the team’s Sweet 16 loss to Gonzaga – with the injury. Givony reported that Bona won’t be able to conduct NBA Draft workouts and will likely return to the court in October.
Bona won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in his first – and potentially only – season in Westwood, averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He was also named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team and the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.
“We will support Adem through this process with the NBA,” said coach Mick Cronin in a written statement. “Adem is one of the best young people who I’ve ever coached, and I’m excited for him.”
The forward is currently projected to be a second-round NBA Draft selection.
Bona was one of two freshman starters for UCLA, with him and freshman guard Amari Bailey both potentially ending their Bruin careers as one-and-dones. Bailey announced last week that he was entering the draft process while forgoing his collegiate eligibility.
Senior guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr., redshirt senior guard Tyger Campbell and junior guard Jaylen Clark all previously announced their intentions to enter the draft as well. Bona and Clark are the only two keeping their options open and could return to UCLA.
UCLA is also losing its sixth man, fifth-year guard David Singleton, who exhausted all of his collegiate eligibility this past season.
The Bruins are bringing in a four-man 2023 freshman class that could grow in the coming weeks. UCLA has also been active in the transfer portal, garnering the commitment of Utah guard Lazar Stefanovic earlier in the month.
“To Bruin Nation … Thank you for welcoming me from day one,” Bona wrote. “The memories that I’ve made in Westwood will stick with me for the rest of my life.”