March Madness

Former N.C. State star DJ Burns goes undrafted, joins Cavaliers for Summer League after losing 45 pounds

Former N.C. State star DJ Burns goes undrafted, joins Cavaliers for Summer League after losing 45 pounds

DJ Burns will get a chance to make the Cavaliers. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

DJ Burns has gone from NCAA tournament hero to the Cleveland Cavaliers' Summer League team.

The N.C. State big man went unselected in the 2024 NBA Draft, which concluded with the second round Thursday. Not long after, he was reported by cleveland.com's Chris Fedor to be joining the Cavaliers.

Burns was seen as a late-second-round prospect at best, though he'll have his share of fans in his quest to make an NBA team. The South Carolina native became a viral star as he displayed impressive touch and footwork while the Wolfpack improbably reached the Final Four, where they lost to Purdue.

Part of the reason Burns became so popular was a frame listed at a conservative 6-foot-9, 275 pounds, but he opted to make a change for the draft. As he explained to CBS Sports' Matt Norlander, he shed 45 pounds in the span of two months.

It sounded like quite a journey:

"It's been the most interesting experience of my entire life," Burns said. "I don't think I've ever had to work this hard and be this disciplined. And I think that everything that I've learned is something that I can take with me to the league or wherever I end up playing basketball, specifically preparing for the draft. I'm just ready. I don't think that I've ever had the understanding of what I need to do more so than I do now."

Burns averaged 12.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 54.4% from the field in two seasons at N.C. State, where he transferred after three seasons at Winthrop.

It'll be a challenge for him to break into the NBA, where he will be undersized as a center and vulnerable to faster wings as a power forward. He also attempted few 3-pointers in college, meaning he'll have a lot to overcome if he wants to see minutes.

But for now, he can give fans a little more of what they enjoyed in March while in Summer League.

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