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Draft Notes: Okafor, Upshaw, Vezenkov

Duke center Jahlil Okafor is more concerned about finding the right fit than what draft spot he is selected at, Ian Begley of relays. “I don’t know that I should go No. 1,” Okafor said to SI Now’s Maggie Gray. “I don’t care. I just want to go to the right environment for me and the right team. I think the hype about No. 1 is more for the fans.” With the recent report that Okafor prefers to go to the Lakers rather than the Wolves, Okafor’s statement could potentially be construed as the player angling to be bypassed by Minnesota in June’s draft in favor of Los Angeles, who holds the No. 2 overall pick, though that is merely my speculation.

Here’s the latest regarding the 2015 NBA Draft:

  • Big man Robert Upshaw has a wealth of potential, but him having been dismissed from two college teams due to substance abuse issues has put a damper on his draft stock, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes in his profile of the player. Upshaw is currently ranked as the No. 29 overall prospect by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and Chad Ford of (Insider subscription required) places him 38th.
  • Early second-round prospect Aleksandar Vezenkov, who is expected to withdraw from this year’s draft, is garnering interest from a number of European teams, Vezenkov’s agent Nick Lotsos told (translation by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). “So far some teams showed interest in Vezenkov but there are no concrete proposals yet. We are not in a hurry to decide the future. We’ll consider carefully what is the best for him to develop as a player. Barcelona? It is one of the teams interested and Aleksandar is interested as well, but as I’ve said it is too early,” Lotsos relayed.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely of looked at a number of players, including Jerian Grant, Kristaps Porzingis, and Willie Cauley-Stein, who have improved their draft stock over the past year.
  • Draft prospect George Lucas, who is also known as George de Paula, said the hardest part of the draft combine was the interviews since he is still learning English, Kennedy writes in his profile of the player. “The language is the most hard,” Lucas said. “I’m trying to learn English the best that I can, so it’s a long process for me and I’m trying to communicate with other people. I’ve always had an English class since high school, but I haven’t had a lot of conversations with other people.”

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