Alex Karaban withdraws from NBA Draft, will return to chase three-peat with UConn men’s basketball team

Alex Karaban’s decision is in.

The two-time national champion forward announced his choice to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to UConn for a chance at a three-peat on social media Wednesday, hours before the 11:59 p.m. deadline.

Praised for his basketball IQ as a key piece in UConn’s complex system and called “Captain America” for his versatility by teammate Hassan Diarra, who is also returning for another season in Storrs, Karaban solidifies a roster built to contend again.

“While I’ve enjoyed the draft process, Storrs is home,” Karaban posted to X: “Let’s run it back.”

Karaban, 6 feet 8, started 38 games for the Huskies during the 2022-23 national championship season and averaged 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 40.2% from 3-point range. He saw an increased role in his sophomore season, averaging 13.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, shooting 37.9% from beyond the arc.

It was widely believed that the 21-year-old Southborough, Mass., native would’ve been selected in the second round and might’ve gotten around $2 million in guaranteed money. Evidently, the chance to go for a three-peat and enough opportunities to earn NIL money drew him back.

Karaban also noted after the championship parade in Hartford that he has taken enough classes to earn his degree after three years.

Referring to the decision as a “win-win” when speaking with reporters at the NBA Draft Combine, Karaban took his time and met with NBA teams right up to the deadline while recognizing the opportunity to improve his draft stock as he chased history in Storrs. No program has won more than two national championships in a row since John Wooden’s UCLA teams won seven consecutive from 1967-73, before the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams.

With the rest of UConn’s starting lineup, highlighted by projected lottery picks Donovan Clingan and Stephon Castle, set to depart, Dan Hurley and staff got to work right away adding guard Aidan Mahaney (Saint Mary’s) and center Tarris Reed Jr. (Michigan) out of the transfer portal.

The Huskies also added Liam McNeeley, ranked the No. 9 prospect in ESPN’s final 2024 rankings, to a talented freshman class that includes four-stars Ahmad Nowell and Isaiah Abraham, and will enter the 2024-25 season with high expectations again.