2017 NBA Draft

Lonzo Ball Will Not Attend Combine

The possible top pick in this year’s draft won’t be attending the combine, says Shams Charania of The Vertical. Lonzo Ball formally told the league he would not participate and several other top prospects are expected to do the same.

As The Vertical’s Bobby Marks explains in a tweet, more and more top picks are refusing to partake in the event, a growing trend over the course of the past five season. Just last season, Ben Simmons refused to participate with no impact on his draft position.

Previously, Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins all refused to attend the combine.

Without standardized combine results, teams are on their own to gather medical information about the prospects. Last year, Derek Bodner of USA Today explained what exactly the event consists of.

Draft Updates: Rabb, Boatwright, Ball, Diallo

While our friends at Pro Football Rumors cover this week’s NFL draft, we’ve still got nearly two months until NBA draft day. However, that doesn’t mean there are no draft-related stories worth following in the NBA at the moment.

For instance, as Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com tweets, each NBA team has now voted for its top 70 candidates for 2017’s draft combine, and the league figures to announce this year’s invitees next week. That list will be crucial for many prospects, especially for early entrants who are testing the draft waters — they don’t have to decide whether or not to withdraw until 10 days after the combine, so getting a chance to talk to and work out for NBA teams in Chicago could significantly impact those decisions.

Here are a few more 2017 NBA draft notes:

  • As expected, former Cal forward Ivan Rabb is staying in the draft. Rabb, who is viewed as a possible lottery pick, has agreed to hire Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Management for representation, per Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • USC’s Bennie Boatwright, who had been testing the draft waters, announced (via a Twitter video) that he’ll head back to school for his junior year, removing his name from the draft pool.
  • Speaking to Shams Charania of The Vertical, top prospect Lonzo Ball said that – while he’d love to be drafted by the Lakers – he’s ready to play for any NBA club and is prepared for “the challenge of helping turn around any team in the league.”
  • A handful of NBA teams are doing their homework on Kentucky prospect Hamidou Diallo, who is testing the draft waters without an agent. As Adam Zagoria details at FanRagSports.com, Diallo’s former coach Andy Borman has fielded calls from the Spurs, Hawks, and Thunder, among other teams.
  • Sam Vecenie of Vice.com decries the practice of “concern trolling” when it comes to the high number of early entrants declaring for the draft. According to Vecenie, those early entrants are well aware that only 60 players are drafted each year, but many of them have their own personal reasons for exploring the possibility of going pro.

Draft Notes: Ferguson, Blakeney, Berry

Terrance Ferguson has hired Rich Paul of the Klutch Sports Group to be his agent, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). The shooting guard opted to play in Australia over attending a university this season and Jonathan Givony of Draft Express pegs him as the 15th best prospect in the draft.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • Antonio Blakeney is staying in the draft and he has hired Aaron Turner of the Verus Management Team, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com tweets. The shooting guard is the 97th best prospect in the draft, according to Givony.
  • Joel Berry is withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to North Carolina, according to the university’s website“I know I can continue to improve my game and be better prepared for the NBA after another year playing against the best college competition in the country. There’s no reason to rush leaving school,” Berry said.
  • B.J. Johnson is will return to La Salle for his senior season, according to the school’s website. Johnson had previously declared for the draft but didn’t hire an agent.
  • Elijah Stewart will head back to USC, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reports (Twitter link). Stewart initially intended to declare for the draft without hiring representation, but that didn’t happen because he never submitted the proper paperwork.

NBA Confirms 182 Early Entrants For 2017 Draft

With the deadline for early entrants to enter the 2017 NBA draft now behind us, the league has officially released the list of this year’s early entry candidates, and it’s a long one. According to the NBA’s announcement, 182 players have declared early for the draft — 137 college players and 45 international prospects. That’s a new record.

As was the case a year ago, NCAA rules changes allow underclassmen to “test the waters” before officially committing to the 2017 NBA draft. NCAA early entrants can withdraw their names any time up until May 24 while maintaining their NCAA eligibility, as long as they haven’t hired agents. That means that prospects testing the waters can take part in the NBA draft combine from May 9-14 – if invited – and they can work out for individual teams in the coming weeks.

International early entrants can also withdraw their names from the draft pool within the next several weeks. The final draft list will be set after the early entrant withdrawal deadline for international and other non-NCAA players passes on June 12.

A year ago, a whopping 162 NCAA and international players declared their intent to enter the draft early, but 91 of those players eventually withdrew. This year should follow a similar pattern, so the group of eligible draftees for 2017 figures to be reduced significantly by June 12.

Listed below are the current early entrants, according to the NBA. Players whose intent to declare wasn’t previously reported on Hoops Rumors are listed in italics.

Read more

Bam Adebayo, Jaylen Johnson Staying In Draft

A pair of college underclassmen who were previously said to be testing the draft waters have decided to forgo their remaining NCAA eligibility by hiring representation, per various reports.

One of those players is Kentucky freshman big man Bam Adebayo, who will sign with an agent and won’t return to the Wildcats, sources tell Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. Adebayo is considered likely to be drafted in the first round, so it makes sense that he’ll keep his name in the draft, joining former UK teammates De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and Isaac Humphries among this year’s early entrants going pro.

Also going pro is Louisville junior forward Jaylen Johnson, who announced that he won’t return for his senior season. “I will miss my teammates and coaches, but it is really important that I help out my mom and family,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’m going to work incredibly hard to give it my best shot. I’ll be rooting for the Ville next year.”

Here are several more early entrants who are declaring for the draft in advance of this year’s deadline:

Frank Ntilikina Enters 2017 NBA Draft

French point guard Frank Ntilikina has formally filed his paperwork to enter the 2017 NBA draft, his agency CAA Sports confirms to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com (Twitter link). The move had long been expected, and now it’s official.

Ntilikina, who has been playing for Strasbourg in France, is considered a probable lottery pick by most draft experts, who generally rank him in the tier of point guards below top options like Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. Both Givony and Chad Ford of ESPN.com currently have the 18-year-old at No. 10 on their respective big boards.

According to Ford, who praises the Frenchman’s speed, passing ability, toughness, and shooting ability, Ntilikina has the upside to be a top-five pick in a draft class less stacked with top point guards. In this year’s draft, Ntilikina will likely come off the board at some point after Fultz, Ball, Dennis Smith Jr., and De’Aaron Fox are selected.

UNC’s Joel Berry, Theo Pinson Testing Draft Waters

Three University of North Carolina prospects will test the draft waters, the school announced today in a press release. According to UNC, juniors Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson are entering the draft without representation. The Tar Heels also confirmed that freshman center Tony Bradley is testing the draft waters, as had been previously reported.

[RELATED: UNC’s Tony Bradley to enter draft without hiring agent]

“We fully support our players taking this step of being evaluated by NBA teams to see where they stand in relation to the Draft,” UNC head coach Roy Williams said in a statement. “All three players have options to do what is best for their careers and going through the evaluation process helps them make the best decision available to each of them.”

Of the three players, Bradley is viewed as the one with the highest upside, but Berry and Pinson are also both solid prospects who played major roles in this year’s championship run. Berry is ranked 86th on DraftExpress’ big board, and comes in even higher on Chad Ford’s board at ESPN, placing 64th. The junior point guard, who turned 22 this month, isn’t considered an elite prospect, but is a solid pure point guard who sees the floor very well, says Ford.

As for Pinson, he comes in at No. 66 on Ford’s big board, though he doesn’t earn a spot in DraftExpress’ top 100. The 6’6″ small forward averaged a modest 6.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 3.7 APG during his junior year, and struggled with his shot, making just 38.1% of his field goal attempts, including 23.7% from three-point range.

In addition to Berry, Pinson, and Bradley, UNC’s Justin Jackson has also declared for the draft — he intends to keep his name in the draft pool and won’t be back with North Carolina next season.

Draft Updates: Hartenstein, Flaccadori, Diallo

German power forward Isaiah Hartenstein has entered the 2017 NBA draft, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Hartenstein, who is ranked as the 19th-best prospect on DraftExpress’ big board, will be represented by agent B.J. Armstrong. At just 18 years old, Hartenstein is “clearly not ready for the NBA” yet, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford. However, assuming the big man remains in the draft, he could make an intriguing draft-and-stash project for an NBA team.

Here’s more news on early entrants for this year’s draft:

  • Lithuanian forward Arnoldas Kulboka is testing the draft waters, per international basketball reporter David Pick (via Twitter). Pick suggests that NBA general managers will head to Bamberg to scout the 6’9″ Kulboka, who has some long-term upside and currently ranks 50th on DraftExpress’ big board.
  • Italian shooting guard Diego Flaccadori has declared for the 2017 NBA draft, according to sports management and marketing firm Sigma Sports (Twitter link). Like other international early entrants, Flaccadori will have until June 12 to withdraw his name from this year’s draft pool.
  • 18-year-old shooting guard Hamidou Diallo, a top recruit who enrolled early at the University of Kentucky, will test the NBA draft waters before playing his first game for the Wildcats, he announced in a statement (Twitter link).
  • Today is the deadline for early entrants to formally enter this year’s draft pool. Our early entrant list, which currently features 123 names, can be found right here.

And-Ones: Bargnani, Akognon, Early Entrants

With his first official campaign out of the NBA now in the books, Andrea Bargnani is discussing a buyout with Saski Baskonia in the ACB League, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets.

Bargnani has been injured since February and hasn’t suited up for the Spanish EuroLeague club since. He did average 11.5 points in the 14 games he played while healthy.

Last July, the 31-year-old former first overall NBA Draft choice signed a two-year deal with the organization.

There’s more from around the NBA.

  • International hoops journeyman Josh Akognon, who last saw NBA action with the Mavs in 2012/13, recently signed a contract with the Henan of the Chinese NBL. Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia relayed a tweet by David Pick, who reported the news.
  • Greek point guard prospect Antonios Koniaris will enter the 2017 NBA Draft, Jonathan Givony of Draft Express tweets. The athletic playmaker already has an agent.
  • Redshirted Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams will test the waters for the NBA Draft, the Bulldogs announced on their official website. The junior has not hired an agent.
  • Junior guard Victor Sanders has declared for the NBA Draft, Idaho head coach Don Verlin told Ryan Horlen of the Idaho Statesman. He has not hired an agent.
  • Count Texas Tech’s Zach Smith among those looking to test their draft stock. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets that the junior big man has declared but not hired an agent.

Cameron Oliver To Enter 2017 Draft, Hire Agent

APRIL 20: Oliver tells News 4-Fox 11 in Nevada that he intends to hire an agent for the 2017 draft, forgoing his remaining two years of college eligibility.

MARCH 23: Nevada power forward Cameron Oliver has decided to enter the NBA draft, but won’t hire an agent right away, reports Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. Oliver will have until May 24 to decide whether to withdraw his name from the 2017 draft pool and return to school.

Oliver, a 20-year-old sophomore, played well in Nevada’s loss to Iowa State in the NCAA tournament, scoring a team-high 22 points to go along with seven rebounds, four blocks, and four three-pointers. It capped a productive sophomore season for Oliver, in which he averaged 16.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and an impressive 2.6 BPG.

Still, the 6’8″ forward is probably not more than a bubble first-rounder at this point, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford, who has him at No. 43 overall on his big board. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com is a little less bullish on Oliver, placing him at No. 59 in his top 100.

Oliver joins an ever-growing list of NCAA underclassmen who intend to at least test the draft waters for 2017.

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