A desire to enter the NBA as a more polished prospect drove Ivan Rabb to decide against entering this year’s draft in spite of his strong chances of becoming a lottery pick, as he told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. Rabb was widely considered the No. 1 player in this year’s class before suffering an injury in high school, Goodman writes, and the 6’10” power forward has heard the talk about the lack of stellar prospects in the draft, but in recent weeks he grew more attracted to the idea of returning for California for his sophomore year, as Goodman details.
“I know I need to get stronger,” Rabb said. “I want to come back better defensively, a better shooter, a better rebounder, more comfortable on the floor. I want to be the leader. I wanted to have a bigger role.”
Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranked him No. 11 among this year’s draft prospects and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress had him at No. 14 just before he announced he would stay in school. Multiple NBA executives told Goodman he was unlikely to fall out of the top 10 picks, and Cal coach Cuonzo Martin told Rabb that NBA personnel had said his draft range extended as high as No. 6. See more on the draft amid a look at news around the league:
- Center Kennedy Meeks will withdraw from this year’s draft and return to North Carolina for his senior season, the school announced. The 6’9″ 21-year-old entered the draft without an agent last month, thus preserving his college eligibility. He was outside the top 100 in both Ford’s and Givony’s rankings.
- Ex-Iona combo guard A.J. English will have predraft workouts with the Bucks, Cavaliers and Wizards, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link).
- Xavier small forward Trevon Bluiett will work out for the Timberwolves on Saturday and the Celtics on May 14th, Goodman tweets.
- Valparaiso power forward Alec Peters is working out with the Rockets today and the Celtics on Friday, according to Goodman (Twitter link).
- Former Heat, Mavericks and Pistons preseason signee Eric Griffin pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder charges stemming from a Friday arrest, reports Sam Gardner of Fox Sports. Griffin allegedly fired gunshots at an Orlando man in the early morning hours of April 27th. The 25-year-old swingman has been in NBA training camps the past three seasons but has yet to make a regular season roster.
- Keith Appling, who spent time with the Magic this season, faces a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon and misdemeanor charges of possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle and possession of marijuana, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. An arraignment is set for today in Dearborn, Michigan, where police arrested Appling outside a strip club on Sunday night, MLive’s Kyle Austin notes.