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Nique Clifford withdraws from NBA Draft, will return to CSU

Collegian | Damon Cook
Colorado State University forward Nique Clifford (10) finishes over three University of Texas defenders March 21. CSU lost to Texas 56-44 in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina.

After a breakout season in which Nique Clifford helped lead Colorado State men’s basketball back to the NCAA tournament, Clifford announced his decision to withdraw from the 2024 NBA Draft and return to CSU on May 30 via X.


The high-flying wing averaged 12.2 points and 7.6 boards last season and was one of the Rams’ best defenders. With Isaiah Stevens no longer having eligibility, Clifford is the projected No. 1 option for the Rams once their season starts.

While Clifford wasn’t named in the NBA experts’ mock drafts, the 2024 NBA draft was widely considered to lack a lot of the high-end talent, something that could have benefitted Clifford with a team looking to take a chance on a 3-and-D wing, a highly coveted position in the pros.

Clifford’s return is a massive boost to the Rams’ hopes of getting to the NCAA tournament for a third time in four years under newly extended coach Niko Medved.

Clifford’s experience, paired with an expected jump from second-year players like Kyan Evans and Rashaan Mbemba plus the incoming transfers, could have CSU right back as contenders to win the Mountain West.

The Rams added size through the transfer portal, something they didn’t have a lot of last season. Clifford’s 6-foot-6-inch frame will be complemented nicely by those additions.

While the schedule has yet to be announced, the 2024-25 NCAA men’s basketball season will commence in November.

Reach Damon Cook at or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

Interested in more sports content? Sign up for Ram Report here for weekly CSU sports updates!

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About the Contributor
Damon Cook
Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.

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