UCLA men’s basketball forward Adem Bona has declared for the 2023 NBA Draft while maintaining his collegiate eligibility. The 6-foot-10, 235-pound freshman made 33 appearances and 32 starts with the Bruins this past season.
Bona averaged 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 22.9 minutes per game. Plus, the Nigeria native shot 67.5% from the floor and 57.3% at the foul line. The forward won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and was selected to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team and Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.
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UCLA big man Adem Bona has declared for the 2023 NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility, per source.
— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) April 19, 2023
“Dear UCLA, to start, I want to thank God for even allowing me to be in this position,” Adem Bona wrote to the basketball program. “Without him, none of this would have been possible. To my teammates… I can’t thank you guys enough for the support this season. We were locked in, and we’ll be brothers for life.
“Ever since I picked up a basketball, it has always been my dream to show that I can play at the highest level. With that being said, I have decided to declare for the 2023 NBA Draft.”
Moreover, Bona finished his freshman season ranking 18th in the Pac-12 in total rebounds (174), seventh in offensive rebounds (74), fourth in blocks (57), and 20th in 2-point field goals (104).
Not to mention, the UCLA forward finished second in defensive box plus/minus (5.0), 16th in win shares (3.7), third in defensive rating (89.8), and second in block percentage (9.1%).
UCLA basketball freshman Adem Bona declares for the 2023 NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility
During the 2023 Pac-12 Tournament, Bona injured his left shoulder in the semifinals against Oregon. The forward missed No. 2 UCLA’s 61-59 loss to No. 8 Arizona in the conference tournament championship. For the 2023 NCAA Tournament, Bona was cleared to return for the first round.
However, he was absent in the Bruins’ 86-53 win over No. 15 UNC Asheville. Bona returned in the following game against No. 7 Northwestern, but he reaggravated his shoulder late in the game. He’s expected to make a full recovery by October.
Additionally, while at Prolific Prep Academy in Napa, California, Bona played center as a five-star recruit. The Turkish-Nigerian basketball star ranked No. 17 in the Class of 2022, No. 4 at his position, and No. 2 overall in California.
UCLA’s Adem Bona will enter the NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he told ESPN. Bona had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum which will prevent him from conducting workouts or participating in summer league. He’s expected to make a full recovery by October pic.twitter.com/MiaRVTCMIK
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 19, 2023
Prior to committing to UCLA, Bona had received other offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Kansas, and Kentucky. Director of basketball scouting Jerry Meyer submitted his scouting report on Bona to 247Sports in November 2020.
“Has a top notch physique with strength and athleticism,” wrote Meyer. “Runs like a deer and is an explosive leaper. Has good hands. Finishes lobs with authority and is a high-level rebounder.
“Raw skill wise but shows promise as an attack the basket off a couple dribbles threat and as a respectable jump shooter. Defends and rebounds with passion. Can protect the rim.”
Meyer compared Bona to Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela. The 6-foot-10 standout is projected to go in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft. Since the UCLA forward is retaining his college eligibility, he won’t be hiring an agent.
Furthermore, Bona joins freshman Amari Bailey and seniors Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jaquez Jr., and Jaylen Clark in entering this year’s draft.