Both Gach

Draft Decisions: K. Williams, Lawson, Burk, Daly, Gach

With an August 3 withdrawal deadline looming, the NCAA early entrants in the 2020 NBA draft pool must make decisions soon on whether or not they’ll keep their names in and forgo their remaining college eligibility.

Here are updates on a few of the latest decisions:

  • Cincinnati guard Keith Williams is withdrawing from the draft and returning to school for his senior year, according to agent Trinity Best (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports). Williams declared for the draft this spring after averaging 12.6 PPG and 4.6 RPG in 30 games (28.8 MPG) for the Bearcats.
  • South Carolina guard A.J. Lawson is headed back to school, the program announced in a press release. “I want to thank all of the teams that gave me the opportunity to speak with them over the last couple of months, and I’m excited to be back in Columbia and ready to get to work for the season ahead,” said Lawson, who averaged 13.4 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 31 games (29.1 MPG) as a sophomore.
  • IUPUI guard Marcus Burk has pulled out of the draft after testing the waters, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium. Burk was the Jaguars’ leading scorer as a junior, with 21.3 PPG on .432/.386/.782 shooting.
  • Saint Joseph’s guard Ryan Daly has withdrawn from the draft and will return to school for his senior season, he tells Goodman (Twitter link). After transferring from Delaware, Daly racked up 20.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 4.3 APG in his first full season with the Hawks in 2019/20.
  • Having previously decided to transfer from Utah to Minnesota for his junior season, swingman Both Gach has now formally removed his name from the 2020 draft pool, writes Marcus Fuller of The Star Tribune. It remains to be seen whether Gach will have to sit for a year before officially playing for his new school.

Draft Notes: Edwards, Ball, Sleepers, Gach, Oturu, Scrubb

Rich Paul‘s Klutch Sports Group published a tweet on Sunday night welcoming former Georgia guard Anthony Edwards – a candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft – to the agency.

The news came about three months after a report indicated that Edwards had signed with Octagon Sports for his representation. However, Edwards’ move to Klutch is understandable — his agent at Octagon, Omar Wilkes, was recently hired as the new head of basketball at Klutch under Paul, the company’s CEO. Edwards is the second notable Wilkes client to follow him to his new firm — Trae Young is doing so as well.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • LaMelo Ball has moved to the top of a number of experts’ draft boards, but Ethan Strauss isn’t sold on the young guard as a No. 1 pick, explaining his thinking in a piece for The Athletic.
  • ESPN draft experts Jonathan Givony, Mike Schmitz, and Kevin Pelton (Insider link) identify nine potential sleepers in the 2020 draft class, including Kansas center Udoka Azubuike, Michigan State big man Xavier Tillman, and LSU guard Skylar Mays.
  • In a separate Insider-only story, ESPN’s Givony and Schmitz spoke to a handful of prospects about how they’re handling this year’s unusual pre-draft process. “It benefits the players who have a proven résumé,” said TCU’s Desmond Bane, who appeared in 141 college games over four seasons. “There may not be workouts or a combine so teams have to go off of film and interviews.”
  • Utah guard Both Gach will officially withdraw his name from the 2020 draft soon, while Minnesota big man Daniel Oturu plans to start interviewing with NBA teams this week, writes Marcus Fuller of The Star Tribune.
  • Jay Scrubb, who has opted to go pro this year instead of playing at Louisville, has had Zoom interviews with 22 NBA teams so far, including the Knicks and Nets, agent Corey Marcum tells Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.

Draft Notes: Bishop, Lottery Scenarios, Figueroa, Gach

Having had his waiver for another college season denied by the NCAA, Jermaine Bishop of Norfolk State will keep his name in the 2020 NBA draft and go pro, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

A 6’1″ guard, Bishop spent two years at Saint Louis before transferring to Norfolk State for his junior year. In 2019/20, he averaged 15.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.2 APG on .405/.395/.855 shooting in 31 games (33.4 MPG) for the Spartans.

Bishop isn’t a top-100 prospect on ESPN’s big board and seems likely to go undrafted in October, but his outside shooting ability should intrigue professional teams. His .395 3PT% this season came on 8.0 three-point attempts per game.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz break down the various lottery odds and options for the NBA’s bottom eight teams. Although ESPN’s draft gurus view LaMelo Ball as the best option for most of those clubs, they acknowledge that there may be a few tough decisions to make, with no clear No. 1 prospect in this year’s class.
  • After spending two seasons with St. John’s, guard LJ Figueroa is transferring to Oregon. Despite that commitment to the Ducks, Figueroa hasn’t ruled out going pro and his name is still in the draft pool, a source tells Zach Braziller of The New York Post. However, Figueroa is unlikely to remain in the draft.
  • Former Utah swingman Both Gach entered the transfer portal this spring and committed to the University of Minnesota. Gach was testing the draft waters during that process, but the expectation is that he’ll remove his name from draft consideration, a source tells Josh Newman of The Salt Lake Tribune.

UCLA’s Chris Smith, Others Declare For 2020 Draft

UCLA junior forward Chris Smith is among the latest early entrants to declare for the 2020 NBA draft, telling Jonathan Givony of ESPN that he’s “100% committed to the process.”

Smith, who was named the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player last month, averaged 13.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 31 games (28.3 MPG), with a shooting line of .458/.341/.840.

Givony, who has Smith coming in at No. 72 on ESPN’s big board for 2020, notes that the UCLA forward is the youngest junior in ESPN’s top 100, since he enrolled in college as a 17-year-old — he just turned 20 in December.

Givony adds that Smith’s age, improving shot, and defensive versatility will make him an intriguing target for NBA teams. However, Smith is the sort of prospect who may have benefited from in-person workouts and interviews, which likely won’t be possible during this year’s pre-draft process, as we detailed on Monday.

Here are a few more of the latest early entrants for the 2020 draft:

  • Stanford guard Tyrell Terry will test the 2020 draft waters, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Terry, who is ranked by ESPN as the 20th-best freshman prospect, is considered one of the country’s best young shooters, having knocked down 40.8% of his three-pointers and 89.1% of his free throws in 2019/20.
  • North Carolina State recruit Josh Hall will test the draft waters, he announced on Twitter. Hall, a former standout forward at Moravian Prep, previously re-classified from the 2019 recruiting class to 2020, so he has the option of going pro or joining the Wolfpack for next season.
  • Utah sophomore swingman Both Gach is declaring for the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Evan Daniels of 247Sports (Twitter link). Gach averaged 10.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 2.9 APG in 27 games (30.4 MPG) as a sophomore, but struggled with his shot, making just 39.7% of his field goals and 25.0% of his threes.