Denzel Mahoney

Eastern Draft Notes: Hawks, Sixers, Cavaliers, Hornets

Tennessee guard Jaden Springer and Oregon guard Chris Duarte are expected to work out for the Hawks shortly before the draft, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets. Duarte is ranked No. 23 on ESPN’s Best Available list, though he’s expected by some outlets to go higher, and Springer is rated No. 27. Atlanta holds the No. 20 pick.

We have more draft news involving Eastern Conference teams:

Draft Notes: Executive Roundup, Duarte, Monyyong, Lakers, Mini-Combine

In a Draft Confidential column for The Athletic, Hall-of-Fame reporter David Aldridge interviews anonymous team executives and college coaches to get their inside scoop on the 2021 draft’s burning questions.

Some of the topics discussed: the Jalen Green versus Jalen Suggs debate, who will be the fourth guard taken after Suggs, Green, and Cade Cunningham are off the board (James Bouknight, Moses Moody, Davion Mitchell, and Keon Johnson are the top candidates), draft promises, some of the late risers (Joshua Primo, Nah’Shon Hyland, Miles McBride, and others), and a whole lot more.

We have more news from the draft:

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will have two important players back on campus next season as center Kofi Cockburn and guard Ayo Dosunmu have both withdrawn from the NBA draft, writes Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.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).

Draft Notes: Early Entrants, Golden, West, Nnaji

MaCio Teague (Baylor), Keith Williams (Cincinnati), Denzel Mahoney (Creighton), and Zach Cooks (NJIT) are among the early entrants who have signed with Trinity Best for representation as they navigate the pre-draft process, per Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

However, signing with an agent doesn’t mean those players are going pro — because Best is an NCAA-certified rep, Teague, Williams, Mahoney, and Cooks can continue to test the draft waters without forgoing their remaining college eligibility. Because the NCAA has indefinitely postponed its June 3 withdrawal date, those players won’t necessarily have to finalize decisions anytime soon either.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • Richmond forward Grant Golden has decided to withdraw from the draft and return to school for his senior year, he tells Rothstein (Twitter link). Golden has averaged 15.5 PPG and 6.9 RPG for Richmond in 94 games over his last three seasons.
  • Marshall guard Jarrod West, who elected to test the draft waters this spring, is expected to return to school for his senior season, according to head coach Dan D’Antoni (Twitter link via Rothstein). West, who has been a starter for the Thundering Herd since his freshman year, had a breakout season in 2019/20, averaging 14.2 PPG, 4.1 APG, and 4.0 RPG.
  • Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji, who previously met with New Orleans, Washington, Charlotte, and Utah, has virtual interviews this week with the Knicks, Bucks, and Pistons, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.

Draft Decisions: Dosunmu, C. Brown, Mahoney, More

Illinois sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu is entering the 2020 NBA draft, as he tells Jon Rothstein of Yahoo Sports (video link). While Dosunmu didn’t explicitly say he’ll maintain his college eligibility throughout the process, he noted that he isn’t hiring an agent yet due to the uncertainty of this year’s pre-draft schedule.

Dosunmu, the 88th-ranked prospect on ESPN’s big board for 2020, recorded 16.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 3.3 APG on 48.4% shooting in 30 games (33.5 MPG) for Illinois in 2019/20. He becomes the second Illinois underclassman to declare for the ’20 draft, joining freshman big man Kofi Cockburn. The two teammates were the leading scorers for the Fighting Illini this past season.

Here are a few more updates on some of the latest draft decisions:

  • Wake Forest junior guard Chaundee Brown won’t be returning to the Demon Deacons for his senior season, reports Conor O’Neill of The Winston-Salem Journal. According to O’Neill, Brown is testing the draft waters — if he decides not to go pro, he’ll enter the transfer portal and play for another program.
  • Creighton junior guard Denzel Mahoney has declared for the 2020 draft while maintaining his eligibility, he announced on Twitter. Mahoney averaged 12.0 PPG on .421/.358/.838 shooting in 21 games (22.5 MPG) in 2019/20.
  • Matt Lewis, a junior guard at James Madison, tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) that he’s entering the draft. Lewis scored a team-high 19.0 PPG to go along with 5.5 RPG, 3.4 APG, and a .373 3PT% in 2019/20.
  • Polish center Adrian Bogucki is entering the 2020 draft pool, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes. The 20-year-old, who also tested the draft waters a year ago, averaged 10.9 PPG and 7.2 RPG for Rosa Radom in 22 Polish League games this past season.