Adem Bona of UCLA is selected by Philadelphia in the 2024 NBA Draft

Despite a disappointing season from the 2023-2024 UCLA Bruins men's basketball team, the Bruins were able to send one of their players to the NBA. Center Adem Bona was selected with the 41st overall pick in the second round by the Philadelphia 76ers. The two-round draft was held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with the first round held on Wednesday Night and the second round held on Thursday afternoon.

Bona played his high school basketball at Prolific Prep high school in Napa, California, where he was a five-star recruit and a McDonald's All-American. Bona spent two seasons at UCLA, averaging 7.7 points per game as a freshman, along with 5.3 rebounds per game and 1.7 blocks per game.

Bona was selected to the Pac-12 All-Defensive team as a freshman and was picked as the Freshman of the Year in the Pac-12. As a sophomore, Bona averaged 12.4 points per game, 5.9 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. Bona made first-team All-Pac-12 in the 2023-2024 season and was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12.

At NBA combine, the 6-foot-9, 243-pound Bona had a vertical 40" vertical and a wingspan of 7-foot-4. He is considered a power forward/center prospect in the NBA. The athletic big man has the best motor of any player in the 2024 NBA draft, which sometimes gets him into foul trouble. UCLA head coach Mick Cronin is going to miss the high energy talent that Bona brought to the basketball court.

"We are all thrilled to see Adem selected, as he has worked very hard for this moment," Cronin said. "The 76ers are getting a talented, hard-working and driven young man who will be an asset to their organization. All of us at UCLA loved being around Adem every day. He is a humble and caring person, and I truly believe he has only scratched the surface in terms of his basketball potential and development. We look forward to watching him thrive in Philadelphia, and we will be cheering for him every step of the way."

Bona has only been playing basketball since age 13 and as Cronin indicated, is just scratching the surface. For example, Bona has improved at the free throw line. In the last 15 games of the 2023-2024 season, Bona made 76% of his free throw attempts, including a streak of 16 consecutive free throws.

Bona is the fourth starter from the 2022-2023 UCLA squad to be picked up in the NBA draft. Forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. was selected in the first round of the 2023 NBA draft by the Miami Heat, guard Amari Bailey was selected in the second round of the 2023 draft by the Charlotte Hornets, and guard Jaylen Clark was selected in the second round by the Minnesota Timberwolves of the 2023 draft.

 

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