Aleksej Pokusevski

Potential First-Rounder Aleksej Pokusevski Enters Draft

Serbian forward Aleksej Pokusevski has entered the draft, according to announcements from agent Alexander Raskovic of Wasserman and from Pokusevski himself (Twitter links).

The 27th overall prospect on ESPN’s big board for 2020, Pokusevski spent most of the season playing in the Greek 2nd Division with Olympiacos’ B team. He was called up by Olympiacos to play for the EuroLeague squad, but appeared in just a single game before the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pokusevski, who participated in the Jordan Brand Classic camp back in 2017, has also been part of Serbia’s junior national teams in recent years, playing in the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup and in the 2019 FIBA European Championship.

Pokusevski won’t turn 19 years old until December, so NBA teams may view him as a candidate to be drafted-and-stashed, rather than as a prospect who will immediately sign a rookie contract.

And-Ones: Summer Olympics, Liggins, Pokusevski

It appears inevitable that the Summer Olympics will be delayed, possibly until 2021, writes Paul Newberry of The Associated Press. Even though organizers in Tokyo have been insisting they will be ready on time, Newberry can’t envision how the world will be able to compete when so many regions are currently devoting their resources to the coronavirus pandemic.

The IOC, which admitted this week that the virus situation is “changing day by day,” has considered holding the events at empty venues or canceling the games altogether. Newberry doesn’t see either solution as fair to the athletes who have worked years to prepare or to the Japanese people who bought tickets well in advance.

The U.S. men’s basketball team continues to prepare as if the games are being held this summer, but there’s a strong level of uncertainty, assistant coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters, including Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“(Head coach Gregg Popovich) and I have spoken a couple of times over the last week or so,” Kerr said. “And everything’s just up in the air. There’s no sense of whether things are going to be delayed or anything. We’re all kind of sitting here wondering what’s going to happen, and so is the rest of the world. We’re just going to plan as if this is going to happen, and we’re going to try and put together a roster, and that’s all we can do.”

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • FIBA is examining alternatives if the qualifying tournaments to fill the four open Olympic spots can’t be played, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The World Cup final standings or the FIBA rankings may be used to select the four teams.
  • Former NBA swingman DeAndre Liggins is involved in a controversy with his Panionios team in Greece, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Flex Basketball Management, which represents Liggins, tweeted a statement today claiming that he has not been registered with the Greek Basketball Federation and isn’t eligible to play, even though he has been with the team since February 12 and is under contract for the rest of the season. “The club was very misleading and did not pay him or agents, and did not cover flight expenses as agreed upon,” the agency claims. “They didn’t help him in his return flight due to the virus pandemic and league suspension, and didn’t help other players as well while ignoring all communication.” (Twitter links)
  • Olympiacos coach Giorgos Bartzokas tells Aris Barkas of EuroHoops that 7-footer Aleksej Pokusevski will likely enter the NBA draft. He’s projected as the 25th pick in the latest ESPN mock draft.