Forgotten Duke basketball rookie gets 1st-round NBA Draft grade after productive camp

The Blue Devils could have a freshman star on its hands that not many people are talking about
Duke basketball guard Kon Knueppel dribbled during a high school game
Duke basketball guard Kon Knueppel dribbled during a high school game / Jovanny Hernandez / Milwaukee Journal

The NBA world is captivated by Duke basketball freshman Cooper Flagg, and deservedly so.

To an extent, many are intrigued by 7-foot-2 rookie center Khaman Maluach, who is forecasted as a Top-3 draft pick in ESPN's Way-Too-Early 2025 mock draft.

However, freshman wing Kon Knueppel could be the player on the roster that surprises the most people this season and emerges on draft boards, which is already happening.

Knueppel attended the Jayson Tatum Elite Camp last week and shined in front of a handful of NBA scouts, showcasing his elite shooting abilities and surprising defensive prowess.

Jon Chepkevich, the Director of Scouting for DraftExpress, said that fast rising guard "had a very productive all-around showing."

"Rained down threes, finished through contact, made smart cuts, kept the ball moving, and was rock solid defensively. Projected mid-1st round pick in the 2025 NBA Draft."

It's one of the first times that Kon Knueppel has been associated with the upcoming draft despite not naturally showing the same size, strength, and physical measurables that other prospects have displayed.

The Athletic, in its early mock draft published on Wednesday, has Knueppel being the No. 16 overall selection in June.

He was ranked as a 5-star recruit and No. 18 in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Kon Knueppel swept the Player of the Year Awards in the state of Wisconsin during his senior season, averaging 25.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game on 59.4-percent shooting from the field and 39.5-percent from 3-point range.

He shot 47.5-percent from 3-point range on the Nike EYBL circuit last summer and already shown his shooting ability in Durham this summer in offseason workouts.

Duke listed Knueppel at 6-foot-7, 217 pounds despite his last high school measurements coming in at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds.

While most of the nation is focused on the trio of Cooper Flagg, Tyrese Proctor, and Caleb Foster, Kon Knueppel is ready to burst onto the scene when the Blue Devils begin its season on November 4 against Maine.