Brian Bowen

Draft Decisions: Antetokounmpo, Bowen, Kurucs, Bonga

Kostas Antetokounmpo opted to remain in the draft prior to Monday afternoon’s early-entry deadline, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweets. The 6’10” forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s brother, cancelled all of his remaining scheduled private workouts, Givony adds. That suggests that he might have a guarantee from some team to draft him.

The Dayton freshman averaged a mere 5.2 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 15.1 MPG during his lone college season. Givony has the younger Antetokounmpo ranked No. 57 in his latest Top 100 rankings.

We have other early-entrant decisions to pass along:

  • Swingman Brian Bowen has withdrawn his name from the draft, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com reports. Bowen, who was swept up in the Louisville scandal and then transferred to South Carolina, would have had to sit out next college season. He is now free to pursue opportunities in the NBA G League or overseas and then potentially re-enter the draft next year, Zagoria adds.
  • Rodions Kurucs will remain in the draft, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. The 6’10” Latvian forward, who withdrew from the draft last year, is ranked No. 42 by Givony. Isaac Bonga has also remained in the June draft, Charania adds in another tweet. The 6’9”, 18-year-old German forward is ranked No. 54 by Givony.
  • Matur Maker, brother of the Bucks’ Thon Maker, has withdrawn from the draft, Zagoria tweets.
  • Karim Jallow, a small forward from Greece, has decided to pass on this year’s draft, according to Givony (Twitter link). He was ranked No. 67. Georgios Kalaitzakis and Vasilis Charalampopoulos, another pair of Greek prospects, have withdrawn their names, Givony tweets. The same goes for two French prospects, Adam Mokoka and Amine Noua, Givony adds in another tweet.
  • We relayed several other prospects’ decisions earlier today, including that of Luka Doncic.

Lakers Rumors: Lopez, Clarkson, Draft Workouts

Brook Lopez‘s ability to space the floor would make him a good match with the Bucks, according to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype. Lopez’s 3-point shooting would open up the floor for Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, the Bucks are already over the projected salary-cap limit and would thus only be able to offer the unrestricted free agent their non-taxpayer mid-level exception. Other potential landing spots for Lopez if he doesn’t re-sign with the Lakers include the Trail Blazers, who could lose restricted free agent Jusuf Nurkic, and the Nets, his former team.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Jordan Clarkson‘s struggles in the playoffs make it clear that the Lakers got the best of their trade deadline deal with the Cavaliers, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report opines. Clarkson was benched in Game 3 after making only 23.1% percent of his shots attempts in the first two games and he shot just 30.9% in prior playoff games, Pincus notes. Clarkson also hasn’t been a playmaker, doling out just one assist over the last eight games, Pincus continues. The Lakers also gave up forward Larry Nance Jr. while getting back Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a first-round pick. The draft pick, plus Thomas’ expiring contract, sets up the Lakers for a potentially momentous summer, Pincus adds.
  • The Lakers will work out mainly second-round prospects on Saturday, according to a team release. Brian Bowen II, Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Wenyen Gabriel (Kentucky), Tra Holder (Arizona State), Nick King (Middle Tennessee) and Theo Pinson (North Carolina) will pay a visit. Evans is the top-rated prospect in the group, currently ranked No. 29 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
  • What are the team’s biggest offseason questions? Hoops Rumors’ Luke Adams takes a closer look.

Brian Bowen Elects To Stay In Draft

Brian Bowen, a Louisville recruit who transferred to South Carolina but never played a game for either school, has decided to remain in the NBA draft, reports GamecocksOnline.

The NCAA probably influenced Bowen’s decision by informing South Carolina officials that Bowen would be ineligible for at least another season because of benefits allegedly provided to his family by Louisville and the requirement to sit out a transfer year.

“I am completely devastated by the NCAA’s ruling,” Bowen said. “All I ever wanted to do was continue my education and play college basketball, however, after learning of the ruling, and discussing it with my family and attorney, I’ve decided to pursue my professional career. I’m grateful to the University of South Carolina and Frank Martin for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be a Gamecock.”

Bowen remains a long shot to be drafted, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who places him at No. 87 on his list of the top 100 prospects. He was a McDonald’s All-American last year as a high school senior and was considered a five-star recruit.

Bowen has been active through the pre-draft process, with workouts reported for the Hawks, Jazz, Spurs, Celtics, Nets, Bulls, Lakers and Knicks. He also held draft combine interviews with the Pistons, Trail Blazers, Kings, Raptors and Timberwolves.

Draft Workouts: Jazz, Warriors, Knicks, Suns

The Jazz worked out Shake Milton (SMU), Angel Delgado (Seton Hall), Theo Pinson (North Carolina), Omari Spellman (Villanova), Thomas Wilder (Western Michigan) and Elijah Stewart (USC) on Monday, according to team’s Twitter feed. Milton, a borderline first-round guard prospect ranked No. 34 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, headlined that group.

The Jazz will host six more prospects on Tuesday — Kameron Chatman (Detroit), Sedrick Barefield (Utah), Kenneth Ogbe (Utah Valley), Dayon Goodman (Westminster), Tyler Rawson (Utah) and Ryan Richardson (Weber State) (Twitter links).

We have more draft workout news:

  • Wichita State’s Landry Shamet worked out for the Warriors on Sunday, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com tweets. The point guard is ranked No. 42 by Givony.
  • Syracuse swingman Tyus Battle, rated No. 32 by Givony, worked out for the Knicks on Friday, Zagoria reports in another tweet. Small forward Brian Bowen, who was ineligible to play college ball last season, worked out for New York the same day and the Lakers on Sunday.
  • The Suns brought in UCLA’s Aaron Holiday and Anfernee Simons, who spent a post-grad year at IMG Academy, and four other prospects on Monday, the team tweets. Holiday is rated No. 17 by Givony while Simons is ranked No. 21. Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky), Tony Carr (Penn State), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Kansas) and Bruce Brown (Miami, Fla.) joined them.

East Draft Notes: Wizards, Raptors, Bulls, Magic, Nets

UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday heads the list of six players the Wizards will work out on Wednesday, according to the team’s website. Holiday is ranked No. 17 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. He will be joined by two Kansas guards, Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, along with forwards Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga), Moritz Wagner (Michigan) and Zach Thomas (Bucknell).

In other draft news regarding Eastern Conference teams:

Draft Notes: Bowen, Vital, Shabazz, Ona Embo

After being linked to a scandal at Louisville, 6’7″ wing Brian Bowen II transferred to South Carolina, but has still not been cleared by the NCAA or played in a single college game. As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes, it has been a frustrating journey for Bowen, who calls it “the biggest thing I’ve ever been through in my life.”

The NCAA’s deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the NBA draft and retain their college eligibility is May 30, meaning Bowen only has about another week to make up his mind. As of now, the NCAA has offered little clarity on whether or not he can expect to be cleared for the 2018/19 season, complicating his decision. Still, as Reynolds details, Bowen is trying to stay positive.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Bowen said. “Somebody’s situation is always going to be worse than mine. Other people in my family have worse situations than I have. I just have to learn, use it as a learning experience, use it as motivation and have a chip on my shoulder.”

Here’s more on the 2018 NBA draft:

  • UConn guard Christian Vital has officially withdrawn his name from the 2018 draft pool, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Vital, who averaged 14.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG in his sophomore year with the Huskies, had announced his decision with a tweet that suggested he has “unfinished business” at UConn.
  • Appalachian State junior guard Ronshad Shabazz confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link) that he’ll be removing his name from the 2018 NBA draft. Shabazz, who wasn’t considered likely to be drafted, was facing a May 30 deadline for his decision to withdraw.
  • Tulane guard Ray Ona Embo, who had been testing the draft waters without an agent, is expected to head back to school for his junior season, tweets Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. Embo averaged 10.1 PPG, 3.3 APG, and 3.2 RPG with a .432/.365/.719 shooting line in 2017/18.
  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post rounds up several of his observations from last week’s draft combine, writing that Kevin Huerter (Maryland), Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova), and Grayson Allen (Duke) were among the big winners in Chicago.

Trail Blazers Notes: Combine, Trent, Hutchison, Walker

The Trail Blazers took an unorthodox approach to the NBA Draft Combine by giving a prominent role to their sports psychologist, writes Jason Quick of NBA Sports Northwest. Dana Sinclair has been working with the team for the past seven years and her role has evolved to coordinating pre-draft intelligence.

Players who met with Sinclair received a checklist with character traits and were asked to pick the ones that described them. Once they completed the list, they were given several follow-up questions.

“It was questions like, ‘What would people describe you as?’’’ said Louisville recruit Brian Bowen, who sat out the season. “And ‘What would you describe yourself as?’ It was interesting. It was her getting to know me personally. I liked it.’’

There’s more to pass on from Portland:

  • Among the players the team interviewed at the combine was Duke’s Gary Trent Jr., Quick adds in the same story. Trent, who averaged 14.5 points and 4.2 rebounds as a freshman with the Blue Devils, would be a second-generation Blazer if he gets drafted by Portland. His  father spent three full seasons with the organization at the start of his career. “He always he told me stories of those teams, and the name they had, the Jail Blazers,’’ Trent said. “But he told me funny stories, stories of him, JR [Rider], Rasheed [Wallace].’’
  • Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison was a late withdrawal from the combine, sparking rumors that he had a promise from a team with a pick in the 20s, but that promise didn’t come from Portland, Quick tweets. Hutchison would be a nice fit with the Blazers, who need to add wing depth, writes Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype.
  • Shooting guard Lonnie Walker of Miami was among the players who interviewed with Sinclair, but he isn’t planning a workout in Portland, according to Quick (Twitter link). The Trail Blazers hold the 24th pick, and Walker’s agent, Happy Walters, said that falls below the range where he expects Walker to be chosen. Walker was extremely impressive at the combine media session and reminded many observers of Donovan Mitchell‘s performance last year (Twitter link).
  • Oregon’s Troy Brown expects to work out for the Blazers in the coming weeks, Quick adds (Twitter link).

Combine Notes: Young, Carter, Knox, Walker, Bowen

Trae Young claims the Sixers are interested in him, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Oklahoma freshman point guard was interviewed by Philadelphia at the NBA draft combine. “They are looking for a playmaker all-around,” Young said. “I know they are interested in me. But you never know how things will fall.”

Given the composition of the Sixers’ roster, it’s hard to see how Young would fit in. They have budding superstar Ben Simmons and last year’s No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz along with valuable backup T.J. McConnell to share the ballhandling duties. The Sixers hold the No. 10 and No. 26 picks in the first round and Young is currently ranked No. 6 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, so Philadelphia would likely have to move up to draft him if the interest is genuine.

In other combine developments:

  • Duke center Wendell Carter Jr. and Kentucky forward Kevin Knox met with the Knicks on Friday, Al Iannazzone of Newsday reports. The Knicks own the No. 9 pick. Carter is ranked No. 7 by Givony while Knox is listed at No. 15.
  • Carter also interviewed with the Bulls, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets, and the Sixers, according to Pompey. The Bulls have the No. 7 pick.
  • Miami shooting guard Lonnie Walker met with the Magic, Bulls, Sixers and Knicks, all teams with Top 10 selections, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype tweets. The Clippers, who hold picks 12 and 13, are also interested in Walker, Kalbrosky adds. Walker is ranked No. 14 by Givony but those meetings could indicate that he’ll go higher in draft day.
  • The Trail Blazers interviewed forward Brian Bowen, who sat out last season after his controversial recruitment by Louisville, Jason Quick of NBCSNorthwest tweets. Bowen is still mulling whether to attend South Carolina or remain in the draft, Quick adds. Bowen barely cracks Givony’s Top 100 at No. 96.
  • Top point guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Collin Sexton and Young were interviewed by the Suns, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic relays. Phoenix has the No. 1 and No. 16 selections. Texas center Mohamed Bamba, Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and Carter are some of the other prominent players who met with the Suns.

Combine Notes: Bridges, Sixers, DiVincenzo, Sexton

Michigan State wing Miles Bridges, a probable lottery pick, interviewed with the Bulls, Pacers, Kings, Cavaliers, Spurs, Nuggets, and Clippers earlier this week, and was set to meet with the Sixers, Hornets, and Knicks on Friday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Bridges is one of several intriguing prospects the Sixers are meeting with in Chicago this week, according to Pompey, who adds Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., Michigan State power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., and IMG Academy guard Anfernee Simons to that list. Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo was also scheduled to interview with Philadelphia on Friday, Pompey tweets.

Finally, Pompey has details on Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo, who has been impressing NBA evaluators at this week’s combine and says he’s received plenty of “positive feedback.” According to Pompey, DiVincenzo has had meetings with the Lakers, Magic, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Cavaliers, Spurs, Hawks, and Grizzlies in Chicago.

Here’s more on meetings taking place at the combine:

Draft Rumors: Pistons, Suns, Doncic, Z. Smith

The Pistons‘ meetings at this week’s draft combine have included an interesting twist, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, who writes that the prospects interviewed by Detroit talked about being outfitted with a virtual reality headset.

“They didn’t really ask any tricky questions,” Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham said of his meeting with the Pistons. “They did a virtual reality where I was like in the headphones and goggles and I was making plays – see if you made the right reads and stuff like that. It was cool.”

Penn State’s Tony Carr had a similar account of his interview with the Pistons: “They definitely did some interesting virtual-reality testing things just to kind of figure out your decision making and things like that (with) the 3-D glasses. It was pretty cool. I actually watched my little brother play with them but I’ve never used them myself.”

According to Langlois, the list of prospects who have met – or will meet – with the Pistons at the combine also included Tyus Battle (Syracuse), Shake Milton (SMU), Rawle Alkins (Arizona), Brian Bowen (South Carolina), Jevon Carter (West Virginia), and Trevon Duval (Duke). In a tweet, Langlois adds Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo to that list as well.

Here are a few more draft notes and rumors:

  • Sources familiar with the Suns‘ thinking tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that new head coach Igor Kokoskov likely won’t be too involved with the team’s decision on the No. 1 pick. Kokoskov may have some input, but the Suns don’t want to put him in a tough position by creating the impression that he lobbied for or against Luka Doncic, who has played for Kokoskov on the Serbian national team.
  • Speaking of Doncic, agent Bill Duffy tells Deveney that “Luka has stated no particular thought on any NBA teams.” The comment is certainly intended a response to those who interpreted Doncic’s lack of commitment to the NBA as a signal that he doesn’t want to play for the Kings or another team that might use a high pick on him.
  • Deveney has another draft-related tidbit for us, writing in a separate article that no player has been drawing more interest this week from “late-lottery” executives than Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith. In Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft at ESPN.com, Smith comes off the board at No. 16, but he could end up sneaking into the back end of the lottery, as Deveney details.
  • According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link), the Pelicans, Hawks, Cavaliers, Kings, Thunder, Grizzlies, Jazz, Spurs, Sixers, Nets, and Timberwolves have reached out to express interest in IMG Academy prospect Anfernee Simons.