Why Bronny James stayed in the NBA draft, and now, what's next?

Bronny James will be among the more than 75 prospects who are hoping to hear their name called during the 2024 NBA draft in Brooklyn, New York, June 26-27. Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Bronny James entered the NBA draft combine this month in Chicago ranked 98th in ESPN's Top 100 draft prospects. After a strong few weeks of measurements, drills and scrimmages, James climbed 44 spots to No. 54 in the Top 100. He likely will rise more, as several players ranked ahead of him are expected to withdraw from the 2024 NBA draft at the NCAA (11:59 p.m. ET) and international (June 16) early-entry deadlines.

Thus, it might not come as much of a surprise to learn James has elected to keep his name in the June 26-27 draft in New York, his agent, Rich Paul, told ESPN.

James has helped his draft stock considerably since announcing he'd enter the draft, first by quickly getting cleared by the NBA's fitness-to-play panel for full activity, an important step that allowed him to be a full participant in on-court activities during the combine.

Enrolling in college as a McDonald's All American, the 19-year-old's freshman campaign as a guard on the USC team did not go as planned.

In a summer workout before his freshman year even began, James went into cardiac arrest and had a procedure to repair a congenital heart defect. He missed more than four months of on-court action.

After James was medically cleared late last November, he averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19 minutes per game on pedestrian efficiency numbers, leaving him on the outside looking in on draft projections.

But James has done well to remind NBA scouts of what made him such a highly regarded prospect entering college, making clear strides with his frame and conditioning and showing improvement as a perimeter shooter.