Deni Avdija, projected as a high lottery pick in this year’s draft, will rejoin his Maccabi Tel Aviv team when the Israeli basketball league resumes play Sunday, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.
“Before I go to the U.S., I have a job to finish here in Israel,” Avdija stated in an email. “As a competitor I am committed to my organization and teammates to help bring a championship to Tel Aviv. We were having such a great season, so winning the title, even with the delay and without live fans, will give me a sense that the hard work paid off.”
The 19-year-old forward was averaging averaging 12.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists when the league suspended play in March and is rated fifth on Givony’s latest list of the top 100 draft prospects. The Israeli league won’t use a “bubble” concept during the remainder of its season. There will be home and away games without fans, and players have been told to remain at home and self-quarantine when they’re not at practices or games.
There’s more draft news to pass along:
- LaMelo Ball ranks No. 1 on the new draft board compiled by Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, Dayton’s Obi Toppin, Memphis’ James Wiseman and Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton round out the top five. Vecenie puts Haliburton on his list of players who have improved their draft stock during the interview process, which is topped by TCU’s Desmond Bane, who may have moved into the late first round.
- South Carolina coach Frank Martin doesn’t believe guard A.J. Lawson should make an immediate decision about staying in the draft, according to John Whittle of 247 Sports. A report earlier this week indicated Lawson plans to return to school, but his father disputed that. “There’s no need to rush. He’s had probably six or seven interviews with NBA teams, which is what they’re all doing right now,” Martin said. “As long as NBA teams are offering interviews, I don’t see any reason why he should try to make a decision sooner than he has to. If no NBA team was asking to meet with him, I would think he’d make a decision by now.”
- David Collins will take his name out of the draft and return to South Florida for his senior season, tweets Jeff Goodman of GoodmanHoops.
- Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report ranks French guard Killian Hayes, Avdija and Haliburton as this year’s top sleeper prospects.