Cassius Stanley

Simons, Stanley, Toppin To Compete In Dunk Contest

Anfernee Simons of the Trail Blazers, Cassius Stanley of the Pacers, and Obi Toppin of the Knicks will compete for the annual Slam Dunk title at halftime of the All-Star game on Sunday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, the NBA announced in a press release.

Simons, a 6’3” guard, is averaging 8.2 PPG in his third NBA season. Stanley is a 6’5″ rookie guard on a two-way contract after being selected in the second round last fall. He recorded a maximum vertical leap of 44 inches in the 2020 draft combine. Toppin, a 6’9″ rookie forward and lottery pick, is averaging 4.6 PPG in 25 games off the bench.

The 3-Point Contest, which will be held prior to the game, has a lot more star power. Suns guard Devin Booker and Warriors guard Stephen Curry, former winners of the long-ball contest, head the list of participants. The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the Bulls’ Zach LaVine and the Jazz‘s Donovan Mitchell round out the six-man field.

The Skills Challenge, which will also be held prior to the game, also has plenty of All-Star firepower. Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and Suns guard Chris Paul head that six-man listKnicks forward Julius Randle, Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis, Magic center Nikola Vucevic and Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington round out the field.

Anfernee Simons, Cassius Stanley Expected To Join Dunk Contest

Blazers guard Anfernee Simons and Pacers two-way guard Cassius Stanley are expected to join Knicks forward Obi Toppin in the All-Star slam dunk contest on March 7, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

All three players would be first-time participants in the contest, which is set to take place at halftime of the All-Star Game next Sunday.

Simons, 21, has averaged 8.5 points, 1.2 assists and 17.5 minutes for Portland this season. Stanley would become the first player on a two-way contract to ever compete in a dunk contest — the 21-year-old has only appeared in eight games for the Pacers this year.

Along with the dunk contest, the three-point contest and skills competition will also be held on March 7 in Atlanta. The league’s traditional method of spreading the events over a weekend has been voided this season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Central Notes: Prince, Cavaliers, Pacers, Bulls

Cavaliers forward Taurean Prince is proving to be more than a simple throw-in player in the multi-team trade featuring Jarrett Allen, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes.

Prince, 26, was acquired by Cleveland alongside Allen earlier this month. The five-year veteran has been effective in his five games with the team, averaging 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 41% from downtown.

“He fits the mold of what we’re looking for,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We’re looking for guys who can play multiple positions, guys who have the ability to knock down shots, who have athleticism, who can run the floor. And then on the defensive end, guys who take 1-on-1 challenges and compete.

“It’s how he’s willing to work, the toughness that he plays with, the scrap that he has. We’ve seen that from him in the past. But I’ve been even more pleased having him every single day with how he makes his teammates better, how unselfish he is. We’re definitely glad to have him.”

There’s more from the Central Division today:

Pacers Sign Guards Cassius Stanley, Naz Mitrou-Long

The Pacers have finalized agreements with two guards, signing rookie Cassius Stanley to a two-way contract and Naz Mitrou-Long to an Exhibit 10 deal, according to a press release on the team’s official site.
Indiana selected Stanley with the No. 54 pick in the 2020 draft out of Duke. The 6’6″ guard started all of his 29 games during his lone season with Duke in 2019/20, averaging 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG, while converting on 36% of his 3.0 long-range attempts a night. After two seasons with the Jazz, Mitrou-Long appeared in five games for the Pacers last season, averaging 9.4 MPG.
The announcement also confirmed several other previously-reported signings. Forward JaKarr Sampson will return for his second season with Indiana on a fully-guaranteed veteran’s minimum deal. Wing Kelan Martin, formerly with the Timberwolves, will join the Pacers on a two-year deal, though the speculation is that it will not be fully-guaranteed.
Forward Brian Bowen II, who suited up for six games with the Pacers last season, will occupy the club’s second two-way player contract slot alongside Stanley.
Mitrou-Long joins center Amida Brimah and forward Rayshaun Hammonds as the Pacers with Exhibit 10 contracts. All three will join the team for training camp, with an opportunity to make the club’s opening night roster. These are one-year, minimum salary deals that can carry an optional player bonus ranging from $5K to $50K.

LaMelo Ball Headlines List Of Draft Combine Participants

Potential No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball will be among the prospects participating in the revamped virtual draft combine this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ball is scheduled to take part in team interviews and a media session this week, but may not participate in any other portion, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cautions (via Twitter).

While Ball’s participation might be limited, many of this year’s other top prospects aren’t taking part in the event at all. As Woo points out (via Twitter), Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Cole Anthony, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, and Saddiq Bey are among the players who don’t appear on the list of participants sent out by the NBA.

The list of top prospects besides Ball who will be participating in the event includes Precious Achiuwa, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon, and Isaac Okoro, among others.

Here’s the full list of combine participants, via Charania:

  1. Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
  2. Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
  3. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
  4. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
  5. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
  6. Desmond Bane, G, TCU
  7. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
  8. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
  9. Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
  10. Mamadi Diakite, F, Virginia
  11. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
  12. Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro (Italy)
  13. CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
  14. Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
  15. Trent Forrest, G, Florida State
  16. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona
  17. Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky
  18. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
  19. Josh Hall, F, Moravian Prep
  20. RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
  21. Jalen Harris, G, Nevada
  22. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
  23. Markus Howard, G, Marquette
  24. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse
  25. Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
  26. Mason Jones, G, Arkansas
  27. Tre Jones, G, Duke
  28. Nathan Knight, F/C, William & Mary
  29. Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
  30. Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)
  31. Karim Mane, G, Vanier College (Canada)
  32. Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
  33. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier
  34. Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
  35. Skylar Mays, G, LSU
  36. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
  37. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
  38. Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
  39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
  40. Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
  41. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
  42. Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
  43. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall
  44. Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
  45. Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
  46. Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
  47. Paul Reed, F, DePaul
  48. Nick Richards, F/C, Kentucky
  49. Grant Riller, G, Charleston
  50. Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College
  51. Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
  52. Cassius Stanley, G, Duke
  53. Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
  54. Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
  55. Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
  56. Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State
  57. Kaleb Wesson, F/C, Ohio State
  58. Kahlil Whitney, F, Kentucky
  59. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
  60. Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is unable to hold its typical in-person draft combine this year, but the league has put together an alternative combine that will feature interviews through videoconferencing as well as the making of “pro day” videos, which will include strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, and shooting drills. Participants will also undergo medical testing and exams.

For more details on this year’s combine, be sure to check out our full story on the changes.

Draft Rumors: Draft Date, Hawks, Suns, Toppin, Wolves

Most people around the NBA think this year’s draft will eventually be moved back from October 16 to sometime in the middle of November, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. We heard last month that there was momentum toward delaying the draft and the start of free agency.

As Bontemps explains, the idea would be to give the NBA and the players’ union some time after the season ends to get a handle on the league’s finances after what has been a very unusual 2019/20 season — and ahead of what figures to be another unusual year in 2020/21. Delaying the draft and free agency would give both sides plenty of time to establish a salary cap for next season and new projections going forward. It would also give teams time to reconsider their plans based on the new cap.

As we wait for official word from the NBA on a possible delay, here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • Among the league insiders polled by Bontemps, two teams – the Hawks at No. 6 and the Suns at No. 10 – were mentioned most frequently as candidates to be active in trade talks on (or leading up to) draft day. As Bontemps observes, both teams have cap flexibility and will face some pressure from ownership to make the playoffs in 2020/21.
  • Asked by Bontemps about this year’s most overrated prospects, executives and scouts most frequently pointed to Dayton forward Obi Toppin. “I think he’s a good player and I like him and he had an unbelievable year, but this consensus top-five status he’s obtained is weird to me,” one Eastern Conference scout said of Toppin. Cassius Stanley (Duke), Desmond Bane (TCU), and Jaden McDaniels (Washington) were among the players who received votes as 2020’s most underrated prospect.
  • Most league insiders expect the Timberwolves to draft Anthony Edwards first overall, according to Bontemps. However, in Sam Vecenie’s latest mock draft for The Athletic, he has changed the Wolves’ pick from Edwards to LaMelo Ball, operating under the belief that Gersson Rosas would favor Ball’s potential star power. Both Bontemps and Vecenie note that Minnesota seems like a good bet to gauge the value of the pick on the trade market. Vecenie points out that the Wolves could also draft a player and consider moving him down the road if he doesn’t fit in well with Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.

Draft Updates: Petrusev, Livers, Verge, Stanley

Gonzaga big man Filip Petrusev won’t return to the Zags for his junior season. As first reported by Nova.rs – and later confirmed by Jeff Goodman of Stadium, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, and Jonathan Givony of ESPN (all Twitter links) – the native of Serbia is returning to his home country, having agreed to a multiyear deal with Mega Bemax.

Petrusev, who averaged 17.5 PPG and 7.9 RPG during a breakout sophomore season at Gonzaga, entered the 2020 NBA draft pool in the spring. For now, his plan is to keep his name in this year’s draft, according to Givony, who had the 20-year-old ranked 70th overall on ESPN’s big board.

Now that his NCAA eligibility is no longer a concern, Petrusev won’t have to finalize that decision by the NCAA’s early entrant withdrawal deadline of August 3. He can instead take until October 6 (the NBA’s withdrawal deadline) to make up his mind.

Here’s more on the 2020 draft:

  • After testing the draft waters, forward Isaiah Livers will head back to Michigan for his senior year, the school announced in a press release. “While it was a limited process due to COVID-19, I want to thank all the NBA teams who took the time to talk to me,” Livers said in a statement. “The information I gathered is going to be invaluable moving forward. But now, we have unfinished business in Ann Arbor.” Livers averaged 12.9 PPG and shot 40.2% from beyond the arc in 21 games (31.5 MPG) as a junior.
  • Arizona State guard Alonzo Verge Jr. is returning to school for his senior season, according to an announcement from the program (video link). Verge, who transferred to the Sun Devils after starting his college career at Moberly Area Community College in Missouri, averaged 14.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.3 APG in 28 games (26.8 MPG) in 2019/20.
  • Veteran player agent Jerome Stanley is joining Independent Sports & Entertainment, where he’ll co-represent his son, Duke prospect Cassius Stanley, per a SportsBusiness Journal report.
  • Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji, a Minneapolis native, is interviewing with his hometown Timberwolves this week, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.

Draft Notes: Jones, Stanley, Oturu, Reed, Nnaji, Combine

A pair of early entrants out of Duke have signed with agents who aren’t NCAA-certified, officially signaling that they’ll go pro and remain in the 2020 NBA draft. Tre Jones has signed with BDA Sports, according to the agency’s Instagram account, while Cassius Stanley has joined ISE Basketball (Twitter link).

Both Blue Devils prospects had been expected to keep their names in the draft, so their moves to secure representation don’t come as a surprise. Both players are ranked in the top 50 on ESPN’s big board for 2020, with Jones coming in at No. 33 and Stanley at No. 50.

Here’s more on the 2020 draft:

  • A couple more players on this year’s early entrants list have signed with agents and will remain in the draft. Minnesota big man Daniel Oturu has joined BDA Sports, per the agency (Instagram link). Meanwhile, DePaul’s Paul Reed has opted for Ron Shade of Octagon, tweets Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com. Oturu and Reed place 36th and 51st respectively on ESPN’s list of 2020’s top prospects.
  • Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji has had virtual meetings with the Pelicans, Wizards, and Hornets so far, and has one lined up with the Jazz later this week, says Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). A possible first-round pick, Nnaji is ranked 34th overall on ESPN’s big board.
  • The NBA has sent teams ballots to vote on prospects they’d like to see participate in the 2020 draft combine, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The combine, originally scheduled to take place next week, has been postponed indefinitely, but the league still hopes to hold it in some revamped form, either in-person or virtually.

Duke’s Cassius Stanley Declares For 2020 Draft

Duke freshman guard Cassius Stanley has entered his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool, the Blue Devils announced today in a press release. Stanley is the second Duke underclassman to declare this spring, joining teammate Tre Jones.

“As much as I feel a burning desire to make another run at the Final Four, I feel compelled to make the best decision for my professional success, and therefore, I have decided to enter the 2020 NBA draft,” Stanley said in a statement, adding that he believes the Blue Devils would have reached the Final Four and contended for a championship if the season hadn’t been interrupted.

Stanley, a 6’6″ shooting guard, averaged 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 29 games (27.4 MPG) in 2019/20. He knocked down 47.4% of his field goal attempts, including 36.0% of his threes.

The 20-year-old, who ranks 50th overall on ESPN’s big board, will be represented by his father Jerome Stanley, a certified agent, as Adam Zagoria writes at ZagsBlog.com. It sounds as if the younger Stanley intends to forgo his remaining college eligibility and go pro this year.