Desmond Bane

Draft Notes: Edwards, Ball, Sleepers, Gach, Oturu, Scrubb

Rich Paul‘s Klutch Sports Group published a tweet on Sunday night welcoming former Georgia guard Anthony Edwards – a candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft – to the agency.

The news came about three months after a report indicated that Edwards had signed with Octagon Sports for his representation. However, Edwards’ move to Klutch is understandable — his agent at Octagon, Omar Wilkes, was recently hired as the new head of basketball at Klutch under Paul, the company’s CEO. Edwards is the second notable Wilkes client to follow him to his new firm — Trae Young is doing so as well.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • LaMelo Ball has moved to the top of a number of experts’ draft boards, but Ethan Strauss isn’t sold on the young guard as a No. 1 pick, explaining his thinking in a piece for The Athletic.
  • ESPN draft experts Jonathan Givony, Mike Schmitz, and Kevin Pelton (Insider link) identify nine potential sleepers in the 2020 draft class, including Kansas center Udoka Azubuike, Michigan State big man Xavier Tillman, and LSU guard Skylar Mays.
  • In a separate Insider-only story, ESPN’s Givony and Schmitz spoke to a handful of prospects about how they’re handling this year’s unusual pre-draft process. “It benefits the players who have a proven résumé,” said TCU’s Desmond Bane, who appeared in 141 college games over four seasons. “There may not be workouts or a combine so teams have to go off of film and interviews.”
  • Utah guard Both Gach will officially withdraw his name from the 2020 draft soon, while Minnesota big man Daniel Oturu plans to start interviewing with NBA teams this week, writes Marcus Fuller of The Star Tribune.
  • Jay Scrubb, who has opted to go pro this year instead of playing at Louisville, has had Zoom interviews with 22 NBA teams so far, including the Knicks and Nets, agent Corey Marcum tells Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.

Draft Notes: Avdija, Ball, Lawson, Collins

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.

Draft Notes: Alexander, Hightower, UCF, Hampton, More

Creighton junior guard Ty-Shon Alexander has announced on Instagram that he’ll enter the 2020 NBA draft and go pro, hiring an agent and forgoing his final year of college eligibility. A report earlier this month suggested that would likely be the path Alexander chose.

Alexander had a strong 2019/20 season with the Bluejays, averaging 16.9 PPG and 5.0 RPG with an impressive .399 3PT%. However, he ranks just 79th on the big board at NBADraft.net and doesn’t appear at all on ESPN’s list of 2020’s top 100 prospects, seemingly making him a long shot to be drafted.

Here’s more on the 2020 draft:

  • Tulane junior guard TeShaun Hightower, UCF junior big man Collin Smith, and UCF freshman guard Darin Green Jr. are all expected to declare for the 2020 draft, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter links). Green announced his decision on Instagram a few days ago. All three players will likely test the waters while maintaining their college eligibility.
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic shares a few of the latest draft rumblings he’s hearing, writing that NBA teams haven’t been overly impressed by the film on RJ Hampton from his time in Australia’s National Basketball League. Conversely, according to Vecenie, Alabama guard Kira Lewis‘ stock is on the rise and many evaluators view Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith as the second-best wing in the 2020 class.
  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic took a stab at identifying some potential sleepers among this year’s senior prospects, singling out LSU guard Skylar Mays, TCU guard Desmond Bane, and a handful of others.

Draft Decisions: Noi, Mack, German, Carvacho, Bolden

TCU forward Kouat Noi will remain in the draft, Jeff Goodman of WatchStadium.com tweets. The 6’7” Noi averaged 13.9 PPG and 4.9 RPG during his sophomore season. He has workouts upcoming with the Bucks, Kings and Clippers, Goodman adds. Teammate Desmond Bane will return to school, Goodman adds (Twitter link).

We have more draft news.

  • Alabama swingman Tevin Mack has decided to withdraw from the draft, Goodman reports in another tweet. Mack averaged 9.0 PPG in his junior season.
  • Northern Illinois guard Eugene German will return to school, Goodman adds in another tweet. The point guard averaged 20.4 PPG and 2.9 APG in his junior year.
  • Indiana University guards Devonte Green and Aljami Durham and forward Justin Smith are all expected to return to school, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Colorado State’s Nico Carvacho will return to school, Rothstein reports in another tweet. The 6’11” center averaged 16.1 PPG and 12.9 RPG as a junior last season.
  • Duke center Marques Bolden will remain in the draft, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. He averaged 5.3 PPG and 4.5 RPG as a junior.

Jaxson Hayes Declares For 2019 NBA Draft

Texas freshman forward/center Jaxson Hayes has entered the 2019 NBA draft and is hiring an agent, the school announced on Thursday morning in a press release.

While Hayes could technically withdraw from the draft by May 29 even after signing with an agent, he appears ready to go pro. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year currently projects as a lottery pick, with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony ranking him as 2019’s No. 9 prospect.

In his first – and likely only – season as a Longhorn, Hayes averaged 10.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and an impressive 2.2 BPG in 32 games (23.3 MPG). He wasn’t a huge factor for Texas’ offense, but didn’t miss often when he did shoot, recording a .728 FG%.

In his scouting report on Hayes, Givony notes that the big man is still “fairly raw in a lot of areas” and isn’t a great defensive rebounder. However, Givony adds that Hayes has major upside and an “excellent physical profile.” Because the youngster began playing basketball late, his trajectory gives him plenty of potential for long-term growth, Givony writes.

Hayes joins an ever-growing list of early entrants for the 2019 NBA draft. Here are a few more prospects who have recently declared for the draft: