Damien Jefferson

Draft Notes: Mann, Taylor, Cunningham, Hornets

NBA draft prospect Tre Mann expressed confidence that he’s the best guard in this year’s class, as relayed by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Mann, 20, spent the past two seasons at Florida. He held per-game averages of 16 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists during the 2020/21 campaign, shooting 46% from the floor and 40% from deep.

“I think I’m the best guard in the draft, top-five for sure,” Mann said.

When asked about his strengths and weaknesses ahead of Thursday’s event, he gave a fair outlook.

“My strengths are my ability to create for myself and my teammates, my craftiness, and my ability to shoot off the dribble on the three-point line or a couple of steps behind the line,” Mann said. “The weaknesses that I think I need to work on are the simpler plays, like making the simple reads out of the ball screens and trying to make the game as easy as possible.”

Here are some other draft-related notes to pass along:

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Blazers, Hernangomez, Nuggets

While it doesn’t look at this point like the Trail Blazers will seriously explore Damian Lillard trades this offseason, that doesn’t mean they’re not getting calls about their All-NBA point guard. Front office sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer that the Heat, Kings, Knicks, Rockets, and Sixers have been the most aggressive suitors for Lillard as of late.

With no Lillard trade request imminent, the Blazers are more likely to pursue upgrades around the star guard, though O’Connor notes that the team’s trade assets are somewhat limited. Portland doesn’t have any draft picks this year and rival teams aren’t particularly high on young players like Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little, according to O’Connor. The club’s best bet for a deal that reshapes the roster and increases its ceiling might involve CJ McCollum and Ben Simmons, O’Connor adds.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

NBA Announces Initial Early Entrant List For 2021 Draft

The NBA has officially released the initial list of early entrants for the 2021 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 353 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 296 are from colleges, while 57 are international early entrants.

That number obliterates the previous record of 236 early entrants, established in 2018. That had been expected, however, since the NCAA gave players an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in seniors having to decide between staying at college for one more season or declaring for the draft as an “early” entrant.

Since well over half of the college early entrants are seniors, there are actually fewer college underclassmen than usual in this initial group of early entrants.

This year’s total of 353 early entrants figures to shrink significantly by July 7 and again by July 19, the two deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like the pool will remain extremely crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants certain to exceed 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our tracker of early entrants for the 2021 draft now includes seniors and is fully up to date. It can be found right here. It doesn’t include players who are automatically draft-eligible this year. As Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets, that list of auto-eligible players includes the prospects who played for the G League Ignite, such as Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.

Here are the changes we made to our tracker today:


Newly-added players:

College players:

These players hadn’t previously been included on our unofficial list of underclassmen early entrants and weren’t on the list of senior early entrants that the NBA sent to teams last week.

International players:

These players weren’t previously mentioned on our list of international early entrants. The country listed here indicates where they last played, not necessarily where they were born.


Players removed:

Despite reports or announcements that the players below would declare for the draft, they didn’t show up on the NBA’s official list.

That could mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.

In any case, we’ve removed the following names from our early entrant list for the time being.

Draft Notes: Robinson-Earl, Moody, Ayayi, Wiggins, Ayala, Jefferson

Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is signing with an agent and will enter the draft, he announced on his Twitter feed. Robinson-Earl is ranked No. 46 overall and No. 9 among power forward on ESPN’s Best Available list. The 6’9” sophomore averaged 15.7 PPG and 8.5 RPG for the Wildcats this season.

We have more draft decisions:

  • Arkansas swingman Moses Moody is headed for the draft, according to an ESPN story. Moody, who made his announcement on ESPN’s The Jump, is a potential first-rounder — he’s currently ranked No. 21 overall on the Best Available list. The one-and-done prospect averaged 16.8 PPG and 5.8 RPG for the Razorbacks.
  • Gonzaga swingman Joel Ayayi has signed with an agent and will enter the draft, CBS’ Jon Rothstein tweets. The 6’4” Ayayi averaged 12.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 2.7 APG for the national championship runners-up. He’s ranked No. 62 by ESPN.
  • Maryland’s Aaron Wiggins will test the waters but maintain his college eligibility, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Ranked No. 86 by ESPN, the Terrapins junior shooting guard averaged 14.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 2.5 APG. Maryland’s top scorer, junior guard Eric Ayala (15.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.2 APG), will follow in Wiggins’ footsteps, Rothstein tweets.
  • Creighton’s Damien Jefferson will forgo his additional year of eligibility and enter the draft, Rothstein tweets. The 6’5” Jefferson averaged 11.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG this season.

Draft Notes: Cockburn, Dosunmu, Ayayi, Carr, More

Illinois will have two important players back on campus next season as center Kofi Cockburn and guard Ayo Dosunmu have both withdrawn from the NBA draft, writes Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Cockburn made an impact in his first collegiate season, averaging 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 31 games. He announced his decision today on Twitter.

“He’s coming back to improve on all aspects of his game,’’ said Karriem Memminger, who serves as a mentor to the 7-footer. “He feels like there’s so much more he wants to show to the next level (NBA). He’s never satisfied. He wants to win a Big Ten championship followed by a national championship. And he wants to be selected to first team all-conference. Plus he loves the coaching staff and Illinois fans, who he feels are the best fans in college basketball. His dream is to become an NBA player and an NBA All-Star.’’

Dosunmu, who made his decision Friday night, averaged 16.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as a sophomore. He was among the players invited to this year’s draft combine.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Joel Ayayi has decided to return to Gonzaga for his junior season, Zagoria tweets. Ayayi averaged 10.6 points and 6.3 rebounds this year and was named Most Outstanding Player in the West Coast Conference Tournament.
  • Point guard Marcus Carr has decided to bypass the draft and return to Minnesota, writes Marcus Fuller of The Star Tribune. A transfer from Pitt, Carr set a school record this season with 207 assists and was a Third Team All-Big 10 selection by the media. “I am dedicating this season to my brother, and I can’t wait to be out on the court with my teammates in front of Gopher nation,” Carr wrote in a text.
  • Damien Jefferson and Denzel Mahoney will both return to Creighton next season, according to a tweet from head coach Greg McDermott.
  • Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe will return to school for his junior season, tweets Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Joe averaged 16.9 PPG this year.
  • Colorado guard McKinley Wright has elected to pull out of the draft and return to school next season, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

205 Early Entrants Declare For 2020 NBA Draft

The NBA has released the official list of early entrants for the 2020 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 205 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 163 are from colleges, while 42 are international early entrants.

That number falls just short of the previous record for early entrants, established in 2018. Two years ago, 236 early entrants declared for the draft, though ultimately only 91 of those prospects remained in the draft by the final deadline. A year ago, 233 early entrants declared, with 98 remaining in the draft.

This year’s total of 205 early entrants also figures to shrink significantly by June 3 and again by June 15, the two tentative deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool — assuming those dates aren’t pushed back. But it still looks like the pool will remain crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants likely to exceed 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our list of early entrants is now up to date and can be found right here. Here are today’s updates:

College underclassmen:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our own list.

The following players reportedly declared for the draft or planned to, but weren’t named in the NBA’s official announcement today. As such, we’ve removed them from our list.

International players:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our list.

  • Philippe Bayehe, F, Italy (born 1999)
  • Vinicius Da Silva, C, Spain (born 2001)
  • Imru Duke, F, Spain (born 1999)
  • Michele Ebeling, F, Italy (born 1999)
  • Dut Mabor, C, Italy (born 2001)
  • Sergi Martinez, F, Spain (born 1999)
  • Joel Parra, F, Spain (born 2000)
  • Mouhamed Thiam, C, France (born 2001)
  • Andrii Voinalovych, F, Ukraine (born 1999)