DJ Burns Jr. is shedding some serious weight ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft.

The North Carolina State star has lost 45 pounds in the past six-and-a-half weeks, according to The Athletic. Burns told The Athletic he’s increased his cardio and hasn’t used Ozempic, a diabetes medicine injection that’s been increasingly used for weight loss. He added that he’s had cardio-centric workouts four days per week, beginning them at 5 a.m.

In his senior season with the Wolfpack, Burns was listed at 275 pounds while standing at 6-foot-9. He came to fame during North Carolina State’s run to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament earlier this spring, making highlight plays despite his size. He averaged a team-high 16.2 points per game to go with 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 rebounds per game.

As Burns became a household name during March Madness, a different league had its eyes on him. NFL scouts and evaluators showed a level of interest in working him out. As the forward mostly operated in the post on offense, multiple general managers and scouts believed he could play offensive tackle with his “A+ footwork,” FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager reported in April. There was also a belief that he could’ve held his own pro day to show NFL teams what he could do if he was interested in pursuing a football career, Schrager reported at the time.

However, Burns wants no part of playing in the NFL, telling reporters at the Final Four he has “zero” interest in playing football.

Now, Burns is trying to make it into the NBA.

“It’s definitely the main goal,” Burns said of playing in the NBA on the “Rich Eisen Show” in March. “But I try to stay focused on the whole [thing]. We’ve got to win these games first.” 

There are some hurdles Burns has to overcome in order to reach the NBA. He wasn’t invited to the NBA Combine earlier in May, which typically isn’t a good sign for his chances of getting drafted. He’ll also turn 24 before the next NBA season begins, making him one of the older rookies in the 2024 draft class.

Still, Burns is one of the more well-known players in the 2024 NBA Draft. He was the catalyst for one of the most surprising March Madness runs in recent memory, scoring 15.2 points per game in five games over five consecutive days in the ACC Tournament so the Wolfpack could even reach the NCAA Tournament. He also won Most Outstanding Player of the South Region in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 18.3 points per game in North Carolina State’s first four contests. 

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