Karaban [1296x729]
Karaban [1296x729] (Credit: Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Alex Karaban announced Wednesday that he is withdrawing from the NBA draft and will return to UConn for his junior season, boosting the Huskies' chances for a third straight national championship.

Karaban made his announcement with a post on X: "While I've enjoyed the draft process, Storrs is home. Let's run it back."

A 6-foot-9 forward, Karaban becomes one of the highest-ranked prospects to withdraw his name and return to college. He averaged 13.3 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, shooting 37.9% from 3-point range while starting 39 of 40 games for the Huskies.

Karaban scored at least 20 points on eight occasions, including 23 points and five 3-pointers in a key early March win at Marquette. He also came up big in the Final Four, making a pair of 3-pointers and finishing with 14 points and eight boards against Alabama to help UConn advance to the title game.

It was a step forward from his freshman campaign, when he started 38 games and averaged 9.3 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Karaban is the lone returning starter for the Huskies, as projected lottery picks Stephon Castle and Donovan Clingan left early for the NBA draft and senior guards Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer used up their eligibility. All five players were invited to the NBA draft combine.

Coach Dan Hurley reloaded the UConn roster in the offseason, adding transfers Aidan Mahaney (Saint Mary's) and Tarris Reed (Michigan) as well as signing top-10 prospect Liam McNeeley last month. Rotation players Samson Johnson, Hassan Diarra, Solomon Ball and Jaylin Stewart are all back and expected to make strides next season.

Karaban was ranked No. 36 in ESPN's NBA draft rankings, and his return likely vaults UConn into the top five of ESPN's Way-Too-Early Top 25.