2020 NBA Draft

Arizona PF Zeke Nnaji Declaring For Draft

Freshman Arizona power forward Zeke Nnaji will declare for the 2020 NBA draft, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Nicola Lupo of Sportando notes that Nnaji is currently slotted as the No. 34 prospect in ESPN’s Top 100 ranking of available college basketball players.

The 6’11”, 240-pound Nnaji was named to the 2019/20 All-Pac-12 Team, as well as the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. The 19-year-old was also honored as the 2019/20 Pac-12 Rooke Of The Year.

Nnaji has averaged 16.1 PPG and 8.6 RPG across 32 games in his lone season for the Wildcats, while shooting 76% from the free throw line and 57% from the field.

Draft Notes: Russell, Williams, Vassell, Mays

Rhode Island guard Fatts Russell has declared for the draft but will maintain his college eligibility throughout the process, he wrote on an Instagram post. The junior averaged 18.8 PPG, 4.6 APG and 2.9 SPG this season. The 5’10” Russell averaged 14.2 PPG last season.

We have more draft news:

  • Cincinnati’s Keith Williams announced his intention to enter the draft and hire an agent on his Twitter feed. The 6’5” Williams averaged 12.6 PPG and shot 34.2% from long range as a junior this season. Williams has started two seasons for the Bearcats after being a rotation reserve as a freshman.
  • Oregon guard Payton Pritchard, Florida State guard Devin Vassell, Utah State guard Sam Merrill, Penn State forward Lamar Stevens and LSU guard Skylar Mays are five players who could make a surprising impact in the NBA, Jon Rothstein declares in a Yahoo Sports video post. Vassell, currently ranked No. 19 on ESPN’s Best Available list, is the only prospect among that group considered a likely first-rounder.
  • Potential lottery selection Killian Hayes has declared for the draft. Get the details here.

Mason Jones, Saben Lee, Others Declare For Draft

Arkansas junior shooting guard Mason Jones announced on Twitter today that he has decided to enter his name in the 2020 NBA draft. Although Jones can retain his college eligibility and withdraw his name from draft consideration at a later date, his announcement doesn’t make it sound as if that’s the plan. Jones said he’s “looking forward to the next chapter” in his life.

Jones was the Razorbacks’ top scorer in 2019/20, averaging 22.0 PPG on .453/.351/.826 shooting in 31 games (33.9 MPG). He also filled up the box score by adding 5.5 RPG, 3.4 APG, and 1.6 SPG. The 21-year-old currently ranks 80th overall on ESPN’s big board for 2020.

Here are more updates on the latest early entrants for the 2020 draft:

  • Vanderbilt junior point guard Saben Lee is declaring for the 2020 draft, he announced on Friday in an Instagram post. As Robbie Weinstein of 247Sports.com writes, a Vanderbilt spokesperson said Lee won’t forgo his eligibility and is testing the process for now. Lee, who averaged 18.6 PPG and 4.2 APG last season for the Commodores, comes in at No. 81 on ESPN’s rankings, one spot behind Jones.
  • Georgia’s Rayshaun Hammonds announced on Instagram that he’s testing the draft waters. The junior forward is the second Georgia underclassman to declare for the draft, joining possible No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards.
  • UT Martin sophomore guard Parker Stewart tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) that he’s declaring for the draft without forgoing his college eligibility. Stewart, who transferred after beginning his NCAA career at Pitt, posted 19.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 3.8 APG in 2019/20.

Killian Hayes Entering 2020 NBA Draft

French point guard Killian Hayes has officially made the decision to declare for the 2020 NBA draft, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

“I am officially declaring for the NBA draft,” Hayes wrote in an email to ESPN. “I have sent in paperwork to the league office and I’m very excited.”

Hayes, who had been playing in Germany this season before the coronavirus situation caused a stoppage, was averaging 12.0 PPG and 5.6 APG for Ratiopharm Ulm. He projects as a potential lottery pick in this year’s draft, currently ranking 10th overall on ESPN’s big board.

As ESPN’s Mike Schmitz notes in his scouting report, Hayes isn’t the most athletic player in this year’s draft pool and needs to get more comfortable with his right hand, but he’s an effective pick-and-roll player with a strong 6’5″ frame and could have an instant impact in the NBA, given his professional experience.

Draft Updates: Bey, Robinson-Earl, Fitts, Crutcher, More

Villanova head coach Jay Wright expects both Saddiq Bey and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to test the NBA draft process, he told reporters on Wednesday (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports). Bey currently ranks 21st overall on ESPN’s big board, while Robinson-Earl is at No. 66, so it makes sense that they’re considering going pro.

Because neither player has made that decision official and Wright only “expects” them to declare, we’re not yet adding their names to our running list of early entrants. However, that list continues to grow. Here are details on some other players we’re adding today:

  • Saint Mary’s forward Malik Fitts will forgo his final year of college eligibility and go pro, signing with agent Charles Briscoe for representation, per Evan Daniels of 247Sports. Fitts, who averaged 16.5 PPG and 7.1 RPG on .472/.408/.799 shooting as a junior, made his decision official in a Twitter post.
  • Dayton junior guard Jalen Crutcher will test the draft waters, he tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) and announced on his own Twitter account. He’s coming off a season in which he averaged 15.1 PPG and 4.9 APG with a .424 3PT%.
  • St. Joe’s junior guard Ryan Daly, who averaged 20.5 PPG in 30 games this season, will declare for the draft while retaining his college eligibility, he tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link).
  • North Carolina State’s D.J. Funderburk and Devon Daniels, who each have one year of NCAA eligibility remaining, will test the 2020 draft waters, head coach Kevin Keatts announced today, per R. Cory Smith of 247Sports. “They will learn a lot more about what the NBA folks think about them,” Keatts said of the Wolfpack duo. “They will take the feedback and make an informed decision.”
  • Butler sophomore forward Jordan Tucker announced today on Twitter that he’s entering the 2020 NBA draft pool. “Being able to play in the NBA has been my dream since I was kid and I am excited to take this next step toward reaching it,” Tucker wrote.

FSU’s Patrick Williams Declares For 2020 Draft

Florida State freshman forward Patrick Williams is entering his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool, he confirms to Evan Daniels of 247Sports.

Williams put up modest numbers in his first – and possibly only – college season, averaging 9.2 PPG and 4.0 RPG with a .459/.320/.838 shooting line in 29 games (22.5 MPG). However, he has impressed NBA scouts and appears likely to become a first-round pick if he remains in the draft.

Williams currently ranks 20th overall on ESPN’s big board and comes in at No. 25 on 247Sports’ list. One scout tells Daniels that the freshman’s long-term three-and-D potential is intriguing.

Two Florida State underclassmen have now declared for the 2020 draft, as Williams joins teammate Devin Vassell, another probable first-round pick. Our running list of early entrants can be found right here.

Aaron Nesmith Enters 2020 NBA Draft

Vanderbilt guard Aaron Nesmith, a potential lottery pick, tells Evan Daniels of 247Sports that he is entering the 2020 NBA draft and intends to go pro.

“I’ve decided to go through the process and intend to hire an agent,” Nesmith said. “I’m just getting ready for the next steps and just learn even more at the highest level because it’s always been a dream to play in the NBA so it’s going to be fun to go out there and go through it.”

After playing a part-time role as a freshman, Nesmith was in the midst of a breakout sophomore year in 2019/20 before a stress fracture in his right foot brought his season to an early end in January. In 14 games (35.7 MPG), he averaged 23.0 PPG and 4.9 RPG with an impressive .512/.522/.825 shooting line.

While NBA teams will want more medical info on his injured foot, Nesmith tells Daniels that he expects to get out of his walking boot within the next couple weeks and be cleared for live action in May. The standout sophomore, who ranks ninth overall on 247Sports’ big board and 17th on ESPN’s top 100, projects to be one of the best outside shooters in this year’s draft class.

“I think I can help whatever team that wants me or takes me I can help them immediately and be an immediate impact on the floor just by helping to spread the floor for the play-makers and creators and help give them more space,” Nesmith said. “I think that’s an immediate threat I can impose to opposing teams.”

Xavier’s Naji Marshall Declares For NBA Draft

Xavier’s Naji Marshall is entering his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, who reports (via Twitter) that the junior forward is testing the waters and keeping his options open.

Marshall, 22, averaged 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 31 games (35.7 MPG) for Marshall in 2019/20. He has struggled with his shooting efficiency, however, posting a .420 FG% and .281 3PT% over his last two seasons.

While he’s a candidate to be selected, Marshall isn’t a lock to come off the board in the 2020 draft. ESPN currently has him ranked 71st overall on its big board.

Marshall also tested the draft waters a year ago before opting not to go pro. If he doesn’t like the feedback he gets during this year’s pre-draft process, he could return to college for one final season before becoming draft-eligible in 2021.

USC’s Onyeka Okongwu Declares For NBA Draft

USC freshman big man Onyeka Okongwu has declared for the 2020 NBA draft and intends to forgo his remaining three years of college eligibility, he tells Evan Daniels of 247Sports.

A 6’9″ forward/center, Okongwu averaged 16.2 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and an impressive 2.7 BPG in 28 games (30.6 MPG) in his first and only season as a Trojan. He projects as a potential lottery pick, currently ranking sixth on ESPN’s big board, including second among centers, behind only James Wiseman.

“I honestly have a lot of confidence in myself and I think I established my name this freshman year and I’ve shown that I can play with anyone,” Okongwu said. “It gives me more confidence in this decision because I feel like I can develop my game on the next level and really be successful.”

According to ESPN’s Mike Schmitz, Okongwu is a strong offensive rebounder and a “versatile defender with outstanding shot-blocking instincts.” Schmitz also praised the big man’s mobility and footwork, though he cautioned that he’s somewhat undersized as a center and his offensive ceiling may be limited. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic recently referred to Okongwu as one of the best defensive prospects in the 2020 draft class.

Dayton’s Obi Toppin Enters 2020 NBA Draft

MARCH 25: Toppin has made it official, announcing in a Twitter video that he’s signing with an agent and forgoing his remaining college eligibility as he enters the 2020 draft.

MARCH 15: Dayton sophomore Obi Toppin plans to declare for the NBA draft, sources tell Adam Zagoria of Forbes Magazine.

Toppin averaged 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game this season while leading the Flyers to a 29-2 record and a third-place ranking in the final AP poll. He was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and is a finalist for both the Naismith and Wooden awards.

With the NCAA tournament canceled, players are free to make decisions about their future earlier than normal.

“He will turn pro,” a source told Zagoria. “I know many NBA scouts are high on him.”

Toppin is projected as the ninth pick in the latest mock draft compiled by Jonathan Givony for ESPN. However, one league executive who spoke with Zagoria expects him to be taken in the top five.

“A lot of times you see guys who are really dominant and they kind of lose their spirit to compete and play,” said George Washington coach Jamion Christian. “He has this superstar spirit that’s genuine that I think people are going to really love as they get to know him more. I think the best ones always have that, they have something that’s a little bit different that’s not about themselves. I don’t know if it’s like an inner arrogance, but he’s got that.”