Santa Clara wing Jalen Williams was perhaps the standout of last week’s draft combine in Chicago, while Houston guard Marcus Sasser looked like the best player at the G League Elite Camp, John Hollinger and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic write as part of their analysis of the combine.
Hollinger and Vecenie suggest that Williams’ stock has “exploded into the stratosphere” as a result of his performance in Chicago and that he looks like a safe bet to be a first-round pick. As for Sasser, he got “nearly unanimous praise” from scouts, who believe he has a chance to start his rookie season on a standard NBA contract, rather than a two-way deal.
The Athletic’s duo shares several more combine-related tidbits in their full story, including identifying Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia as a prospect who is drawing legitimate interest from contending teams in the last 10 picks of the first round.
Hollinger and Vecenie also say that chatter about Michigan forward Caleb Houstan having received a promise continues to circulate among league insiders. Those insiders have speculated that Oklahoma City at No. 30 could be the team eyeing Houstan, given the Thunder‘s history of shutting down their targets well ahead of draft night.
Here are a few more draft-related notes:
- Josh Minott, the No. 48 player on ESPN’s 2022 big board, will be keeping his name in the NBA draft, according to his uncle (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports). The freshman forward played fewer than 500 total minutes in his first and only college season at Memphis in 2021/22.
- Wyoming guard Hunter Maldonado tells Rothstein (Twitter link) that he’ll withdraw from the draft and use his final year of NCAA eligibility. Maldonado had a big senior year in 2021/22, averaging 18.5 PPG, 6.3 APG, and 5.7 RPG and making the All-Mountain West Conference first team.
- George Washington junior guard James Bishop will withdraw from the draft and return to school for at least one more year, tweets Rothstein. Bishop has been the Colonials’ go-to scorer since transferring for his sophomore season, averaging 17.6 PPG in 47 games over the last two years.
- Senior guard Emmanuel Bandoumel will also withdraw from the draft as he transfers from SMU to Nebraska, tweets Rothstein.
- Former Louisiana senior center Theo Akwuba has withdrawn from the draft and Oklahoma State junior guard Avery Anderson III and Tennessee junior guard Santiago Vescovi are expected to do the same, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (all Twitter links). Goodman notes that Akwuba will be transferring to Ole Miss for his final college season.
2 thoughts on “Draft Notes: J. Williams, Sasser, LaRavia, Houstan, Minott, More”
Caleb Houstan to OKC would be a really nice move for them & for him too. I’m sure he’s already pretty tight with their best player (SGA). They’re both from the GTA & seem to have a similar temperament. Thunder are pretty thin as far as big athletic wings. It’s a good situation for Caleb bc it’s low pressure & he only has to beat out guys like Poku & Aaron Wiggins for pt which should be doable even as a 19yo rookie
To say Houstan can beat out Poku or even Wiggins, is quite a leap. Houstan has very nice potential and is one of the younger players in the draft, don’t get me wrong, but he was so far away from being a productive college player is freshman season. He should stay another season at Michigan, but you can’t fault him if he has a promise in the first round!
He will be a G League player for a season as OKC let’s him develop.