With the second night of Sweet 16 games kicking off shortly, let’s consolidate all news on soon-to-be NBA prospects here:
- It appears that Kyle Anderson plans to return to UCLA for his sophomore year next season, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY. Anderson’s father sent out a text message to several media outlets to confirm that his soon will stay in school, quelling the fears of Bruins fans that were worried Anderson would bolt in the wake of Ben Howland’s firing. Before news broke today, Jonathan Givony of Draft Express tweeted that he heard Anderson was “100% planning on declaring for the draft.”
- In an Insider-only story, Kevin Pelton of ESPN gauges the draft stock of Anderson’s teammate and fellow freshman at UCLA, Shabazz Muhammad. Pelton maintains a draft-related database that indicates a prospect’s age is nearly as important a predictor of NBA success as anything else, which doesn’t bode well for Muhammad. While he was only a freshman this year, the Los Angeles Times discovered last week that Muhammad is actually 20 years old, not 19 as was previously thought. Muhammad currently ranks seventh on the Draft Express Top 100 list. Pelton suggests that the news on Muhammad’s age should bump him down from that spot, though it remains to be seen if that actually happens.
- Neither Cody Zeller nor Victor Oladipo said much last night regarding their future after their Hoosiers fell to Syracuse in the Sweet 16. Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star writes that most scouts think Oladipo’s stock can’t get much higher, and it is likely that the uber-athletic junior will declare for the draft because of it. Zeller is a different story, however. After entering the season projected as a top-3 pick, Zeller’s lack of toughness and inability to dominate have scouts questioning his potential, Wells says. It seems like another year at Indiana might be the best bet for the 7-foot sophomore. Our Chuck Myron profiled Oladipo yesterday in our Prospect Profile series.
- After they held out Goran Dragic on Wednesday against the Jazz, it was only natural for questions about tanking to come up inside the Suns locker room. Paul Coro, reporting for USA Today, writes that Suns players have continued to play hard in part because many of them believe that this year’s draft is lacking on impact players.
- According to an Eastern Conference talent evaluator, this year’s draft class should not be classified as “weak”, writes Michael Lee of the Washington Post. While there may be no sure-fire studs, this draft will likely turn out as many NBA starters or even NBA All-Stars as most. Lee says that many recent drafts have also received the “weak” label, only to produce a respectable crop of players. “And I think this draft is going to be no different,” the talent evaluator said.