Brian Bowen

Draft Updates: Gabriel, Bowen, Mokoka, Marinkovic

Kentucky forward Wenyen Gabriel has decided to declare for the 2018 NBA draft, but won’t hire an agent for now in order to retain his NCAA eligibility, he announced today on Twitter.

“After talking with Coach Cal (John Calipari) and the staff, they believe it’s in my best interest to see where I stand in the eyes of the NBA,” Gabriel said in his statement. “I’m confident I can play at the next level, but I want to be absolutely certain that this is the right decision for me at this time.”

In his sophomore year for the Wildcats, Gabriel averaged a modest 6.8 PPG and 5.4 RPG, but showed the ability to protect the rim (1.1 BPG) and hit outside shots (.396 3PT%). He’s the fifth Kentucky underclassmen to declare for this year’s draft, joining teammates Hamidou Diallo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox, and PJ Washington.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • South Carolina forward Brian Bowen, who enrolled at the school in January, is hoping to be granted eligibility for the 2018/19 season. However, he tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN (Twitter link) that he plans to declare for the NBA draft just in case he’s not reinstated by the NCAA.
  • A pair of international prospects, French shooting guard Adam Mokoka and Serbian shooting guard Vanja Marinkovic, have declared for the 2018 NBA draft, according to their agency BeoBasket (Twitter links via agents Pedja Materic and Misko Raznatovic). Mokoka, who was born in 1998, currently plays for Gravelines in France, while 1997-born Marinkovic is a member of Partizan Belgrade.
  • Spanish wing Xabier Lopez-Arostegui has declared for the draft, sources tell Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Lopez-Arostegui has spent the season with Joventut in Spain’s ACB, averaging 5.7 PPG and shooting 37% on three-pointers.

And-Ones: BIG3, G League, Quarterman, J. Brown

Two more former NBA players have signed on with the BIG3, including one that just formally announced his retirement from the NBA this past summer. Veteran big man Jason Maxiell was one of those players joining the BIG3 player pool this week, according to the league (Twitter link). After playing more than 600 NBA regular season games and another 35 postseason contests, Maxiell signed a one-day contract in August and retired as a Piston. Now, he’ll have a chance to compete against – or team up with – former teammate Chauncey Billups in the BIG3.

Veteran forward Jamario Moon, who played in 286 total games for the Raptors, Heat, Cavaliers, Clippers, and Hornets from 2007 to 2012, also signed a BIG3 contract this week, according to an announcement from the league (Twitter link).

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Multiple 2018 NBA draft prospects who aren’t currently playing NCAA ball have been informed that they’re ineligible to play in the G League this season, a league source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN. As Givony explains, players who were enrolled in college during an academic calendar year are ineligible to sign a G League contract in the same season unless they’ve been ruled permanently NCAA-ineligible. Mitchell Robinson, De’Anthony Melton, and Brian Bowen are among the potential 2018 first-rounders currently in limbo.
  • Former Trail Blazers guard Tim Quarterman had been set to join the Jiangsu Dragons in China, but passport complications prevented him from finalizing his deal, per international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link). According to Pick, the Chinese club signed ex-Lakers guard Jabari Brown instead.
  • Former first-round pick Archie Goodwin is back in the Suns‘ system, having been traded to Phoenix’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, earlier this week. Northern Arizona sent out a first-round pick and a second-round pick for the 2018 G League draft in the three-team deal.
  • The NBA’s next wave of international stars appears to have arrived, Michael Lee writes in an interesting feature for Yahoo Sports.