Bryce Hamilton

Draft Notes: Magic, Sochan, Hardy, Daniels

While such comments typically produce eye rolls, president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman insists the Magic haven’t decided who they’ll take with the top overall pick, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Weltman says “it’s still early in the process,” even though draft night is Thursday. “Dialogue is always ongoing,” Weltman said. “But, most importantly, we get to do what we want. That’s the real benefit of having the No. 1 pick.”

Orlando is expected to draft either Jabari Smith or Chet Holmgren.

We have more draft-related info:

  • Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan attended the Wizards’ pre-draft workout on Monday but didn’t participate due to an injury, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Sochan sat out with a mild hamstring strain. Washington owns the No. 1o pick. Sochan is ranked No. 15 on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy, ranked No. 22 by ESPN, worked out for the Sixers on Monday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. St. Joseph’s forward Jordan Hall, Delaware guard Kevin Anderson, Alabama guard Keon Ellis, Baylor wing Kendall Brown and UNLV shooting guard Bryce Hamilton joined him, Pompey adds in another tweet. Philadelphia owns the No. 23 pick.
  • G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels cancelled a visit with the Kings after receiving a green room invitation, Sean Cunningham of KTXL tweets. Daniels is ranked No. 6 by ESPN. Daniels is the second-ranked point guard behind Jaden Ivey, who revealed that he hasn’t had contact with the team holding the No. 4 pick.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Blazers, Wolves, Nuggets

Sources told Tony Jones of The Athletic that “there is a world where the Jazz keep most of their top-seven core with the hope that a new coach energizes them.” Jones explores the potential cost of a Rudy Gobert trade to Chicago with fellow Athletic writer Darnell Mayberry, but stresses that Gobert won’t be traded just for the sake of shaking up the roster, noting that the asking price for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year will be very high.

Utah is casting an extremely wide net as they seek a replacement for Quin Snyder. As our head coaching search tracker shows, Sam Cassell became the 15th candidate linked to the Jazz after it was reported that he’ll interview for the vacancy.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • The Trail Blazers are hosting a pre-draft workout with six prospects on Wednesday, including a couple of potential lottery picks, tweets Aaron J. Fentress of The Oregonian. Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 7 prospect on ESPN’s big board, headlines the group, followed by Jeremy Sochan (No. 15), Dalen Terry (No. 25), John Butler (No. 67), Jamaree Bouyea (No. 79) and Jordan Hall (No. 87). Portland holds the Nos. 7, 36 and 59 picks in the draft.
  • The Timberwolves are also hosting workout of draft-eligible players on Wednesday, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). The group features multiple potential second-round picks, including Hugo Besson (No. 41 on ESPN’s board), Michael Foster Jr. (No. 49), Jean Montero (No. 52) and Gabe Brown (No. 78). It also includes Nysier Brooks, who is unranked, and David Roddy (No. 30), as Wolfson previously reported. The Wolves hold the Nos. 19, 40, 48 and 50 picks, but aren’t expected to have four rookies on the roster next season.
  • Peyton Watson (No. 34) headlines a group of six prospects working out for the Nuggets on Thursday, as Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports relays (via Twitter). The other five players are Florida’s Anthony Duruji, UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton, Flagler’s Jaizec Lottie, Marquette’s Darryl Morsell and Buffalo’s Ronaldo Segu, all of whom project to go undrafted and are unranked on ESPN’s board. After reaching an agreement to trade JaMychal Green to the Thunder, Denver now controls the Nos. 21 and 30 picks in the 2022 draft.

Draft Notes: Hamilton, Mucius, Cole, McConnell, Mock

UNLV guard Bryce Hamilton and Wake Forest forward Isaiah Mucius have both declared for the 2022 NBA draft, reports Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter links). Hamilton will forgo his final year of college eligibility, but Mucius will maintain his for next year.

UConn guard R.J. Cole (via Twitter) and Rutgers guard Caleb McConnell (via Instagram) have also declared for the draft, the two players announced. McConnell plans to maintain his eligibility for next season, but Cole’s intentions are unclear, based on the wording of his statement.

All four players are seniors, but in 2021 players were granted an extra year of NCAA eligibility due to the pandemic, so four-year players have the option of staying for what essentially amounts to a second senior season.

Hamilton is a three-time All-Mountain West Conference member who averaged 21.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 2.2 APG this season. Mucius was mostly used as a spot-up shooter, averaging 36% on 5.8 attempts per game from deep in ’21/22.

Cole was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year in 2018/19 with Howard prior to transferring to UConn. He was an All-Big East member this season with the Huskies. McConnell was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year in ’21/22 for the Scarlet Knights while averaging 2.2 SPG.

In other draft-related news, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link) explore how the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds of the NCAA tournament have impacted their latest mock draft and prospect evaluations.

The first-round of the mock draft is quite similar to the one Givony released last week, but a couple of Duke players have risen: forward Paolo Banchero has jumped up to No. 2 from No. 3, swapping places with Auburn’s Jabari Smith, while center Mark Williams has gone up four spots to No. 17. Duke faces their long-time rival North Carolina in the Final Four.

Draft Notes: Maker, Hamilton, Riley, Green

Howard University freshman big man Makur Maker has declared for the draft but hasn’t hired an agent, leaving open the possibility of returning to college, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Maker, 20, played only two games for the Bison last season because of a groin injury, averaging 11.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 2.0 APG. The team played only five games before the university shut down the season due of COVID-19 issues. Maker is listed at No. 100 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft decisions and news:

  • UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton will remain in the draft process but plans to return to school, Jeff Goodman of Stadium tweets. The Rebels guard averaged 17.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.0 APG last season as a junior.
  • UCLA’s Cody Riley will also enter the draft while retaining his college eligibility, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. Riley, a junior forward, had 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists against Gonzaga in the Final Four. In 31 starts last season, he averaged 10 PPG and 5.4 RPG. “I’ve encouraged Cody to take advantage of this time and this evaluation process. I know that he wants to see where he fits at the next level and where he needs to improve,” coach Mick Cronin told the Associated Press.
  • Cade Cunningham sits atop Jonathan Wasserman’s big board but the Bleacher Report analyst has a mild surprise in the No. 2 slot, with Jalen Green ranking above Evan Mobley. Jalen Suggs is a close fourth in Wasserman’s rankings.

Draft Updates: Christopher, Liddell, Akinjo, More

Arizona State shooting guard Josh Christopher is entering the 2021 NBA draft, he announced late last night on Twitter.

The 6’5″ freshman played just 15 games for the Sun Devils, having missed 10 due to leg and back issues. When he played, he averaged 14.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.5 SPG on .432/.305/.800 shooting. Despite his limited résumé at the college level, Christopher looks like a good bet to be drafted, currently ranking 37th overall on ESPN’s big board.

Here are a few more updates on early entrants declaring for the 2021 draft:

  • On the heels of Ohio State’s early exit from the NCAA tournament, sophomore forward E.J. Liddell will enter the draft while leaving the door open to return to the Buckeyes, he announced on Twitter. Liddell enjoyed a breakout year in 2020/21, increasing his scoring average from 6.7 PPG as a freshman reserve to 16.2 PPG as a full-time starter.
  • Junior guard James Akinjo announced on Instagram that he’ll test the draft waters this spring. After spending his first two college seasons at Georgetown, Akinjo transferred to Arizona and averaged 15.6 PPG and 5.4 APG in 26 games (34.9 MPG) this year.
  • North Texas guard Javion Hamlet has opted to enter the draft pool, he announced on Twitter. In two college seasons, Hamlet averaged 15.1 PPG on .461/.396/.878 shooting in 59 games (31.7 MPG), earning Conference USA Player of the Year honors in 2019/20.
  • UNLV guard Bryce Hamilton is testing the draft waters, according to an announcement on Twitter. Hamilton averaged 17.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 3.0 APG in 24 games (32.6 MPG) as a junior this season.