D'Marcus Simonds

Bulls Notes: Point Guard, Cap Room, Workouts

Finding a solution at point guard and making savvy additions in free agency will be among the Bulls‘ goals this offseason, writes Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (Insider link) in his preview of the team’s summer.

In Marks’ view, there’s a role for Kris Dunn in Chicago, but he’s probably not the long-term solution at point guard, so the club needs to use its No. 7 overall pick or a chunk of its cap space to address the position. Coby White as a possible option at No. 7, according to Marks, who says that if Chicago doesn’t draft a point guard, the club should set aside about $13-14MM of its cap room to try to get one in free agency.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

Draft Decisions: Bone, Harper, Simonds, Brooks, More

The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for 2019’s early entrants is less than 12 hours away. Players who want to pull out of the draft and retain their college eligibility have until 11:59 pm eastern time tonight to officially do so.

We’re tracking all the players who have withdrawn from the draft on our early entrants list. Here are the latest decisions:

Staying in the draft:

  • Tennesee junior guard Jordan Bone announced in a video on Twitter that he’ll keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool. Bone is the No. 58 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a solid candidate to be drafted.
  • Auburn junior guard Jared Harper is expected to go pro too, keeping his name in the draft, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). Harper is at No. 64 on ESPN’s top-100 list.
  • Despite not showing up in ESPN’s top 100, Georgia State junior guard D’Marcus Simonds will also remain in the draft, forgoing his final year of his college eligibility, sources tell Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Another prospect outside of ESPN’s top 100, Houston junior guard Armoni Brooks, has announced (via Twitter) that he’ll stay in the draft and begin his professional career.

Withdrawing from the draft:

  • Gonzaga got some good news on Tuesday night, as a source informed Rothstein (Twitter link) that forward Filip Petrusev will return for his sophomore season. Additionally, Goodman reports (via Twitter) that forward Killian Tillie is expected to rejoin the Zags for his senior year.
  • Freshman forward Emmitt Williams, who was one of six LSU players to test the draft waters, will head back to school for at least one more season, a source tells Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Glenville State junior forward Phil Bledsoe told Kyle Boone of CBS Sports (Twitter link) that he has withdrawn from the draft. However, as Aaron Beard of The Associated Press explains, Bledsoe may have eligibility concerns going forward, since the new NCAA rule allowing prospects to hire an agent while testing the waters only applies to D-I players, rather than D-II players like Bledsoe. Agent Jerry Dianis remains confident that the NCAA will allow Bledsoe to return for his senior year.
  • A pair of early entrants are withdrawing from the draft and transferring. UNLV freshman forward Joel Ntambwe announced (via Twitter) that he’s making the move to Texas Tech, while SMU junior guard Jimmy Whitt will return to Arkansas, where he began his college career.
  • Mississippi State forward Reggie Perry announced in a Twitter video that he’ll be back for his sophomore season.
  • Boston College forward Nik Popovic is expected to take advantage of his final year of NCAA eligibility by going back to school for his senior season, sources tell Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Louisiana Tech junior guard DaQuan Bracey and South Florida junior guard Laquincy Rideau will both withdraw from the draft and return to school, according to a pair of tweets from Goodman.
  • Rothstein reports (via a pair of tweets) that TCU freshman center Kevin Samuel and Xavier junior guard Quentin Goodin will pull out of the draft after testing the waters.
  • Maryland junior guard Anthony Cowan is expected to withdraw from the draft tonight to return to school for one more year, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.
  • Creighton guard Davion Mintz will report back to the Bluejays for his senior year, he tells Goodman (Twitter link). Goodman’s full list of prospects returning to school also includes UNC Greensboro junior forward James Dickey, so it appears he withdrew from the draft too.

Draft Notes: Hampton, Elite Camp, Celtics, Simonds, Hawks

RJ Hampton has decided to graduate high school early and reclassify to the Class of 2019, he told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Hampton is the No. 4 player in ESPN’s top-100 class of early 2020 rankings, explaining his major decision to reclassify to Givony.

“I’ve decided to reclassify to the 2019 class,” Hampton told ESPN. “I am doing this because I feel that from a development standpoint, this is the right move for me at this time in order to play against the highest level of competition possible. I am eager to test myself against older and more physically developed players in order to help improve my weaknesses and prepare me for reaching the ultimate goal of playing in the NBA.”

With his decision, Hampton will enroll for college this summer and be eligible for the 2020 NBA Draft. A 6-foot-5 versatile player at 188 pounds, Hampton is one of the most promising young point guards in high school, now shifting his focus to interested schools such as Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis and Texas Tech, according to ESPN.

“This is a move we’ve been contemplating for some time and we don’t take lightly,” Hampton’s father, Rod, told ESPN. “As someone that played in college as well as professionally in Europe, I know that you can’t skip steps in a player’s development. Thankfully, because of the hard work that RJ has put in in the classroom — achieving a 3.75 GPA and a 1280 SAT — he was able to have this option. This weekend playing against the top players in high school basketball at the Nike EYBL, as well as earlier this month at USA Basketball, my wife, Markita, and I realized that RJ is ready to take the next step and challenge himself by taking the next step in level of competition.”

Here are some other draft-related notes today:

Eastern Notes: Simmons, Dolan, Wizards, Hawks Workouts

Sixers guard Ben Simmons has been assessed a Flagrant One foul and fined $20K for striking Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry in the groin on Thursday, according to a tweet from the league’s PR department. The incident occurred during the second quarter of Game 3, which Philadelphia won 116-95. Simmons, who had 10 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in the game, was whistled for three common fouls.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Shareholders of Madison Square Garden Company have filed a suit against Knicks owner James Dolan, its executive chairman and CEO, for being grossly overpaid, Pitchfork.com reports. Over the last three fiscal years, MSG has paid Dolan $75.6MM, according to company filings. MSG’s peer companies have paid their CEOs an average of $17MM over the same period, according to the lawsuit. The filing also claims that Dolan “works at MSG only part time,” with much of his focus going toward touring and recording for his band JD & the Straight Shot. MSG has labelled the lawsuit “nothing more than corporate harassment.”
  • Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and Wizards interim GM Tommy Sheppard are potential candidates, along with Danny Ferry, for Washington’s top executive post, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said in a Wizards Talk Podcast relayed by NBC Sports Washington’s Caroline Brandt. Ferry, who most recently was interim GM with the Pelicans, interviewed for the job this week. Windhorst also indicated there’s at least one mystery candidate the Wizards will pursue. “There may be another name or two that I’m not willing to say just yet who may be on the Wizards’ list,” Windhorst said.
  • The Hawks brought in six players for pre-draft workouts on Friday, according to a team press release. Forward/center Nathan Knight of William & Mary, forwards Anthony Lamb (Vermont), Kouat Noi (TCU) and Killian Tillie (Gonzaga) and guards Andrew Nembhard (Florida) and D’Marcus Simonds (Georgia State) participated in the workout. Tillie is the highest-ranked prospect in the group, currently rated No. 82 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Draft Notes: Zoosman, Pritchard, Stevens, More

Israeli wing Yovel Zoosman has submitted paperwork to the NBA to make himself eligible for the 2019 NBA draft, reports ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. The 20-year-old, who is currently playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli League and the Euroleague, is aiming to become the first player from Israel to be drafted in 10 years — Omri Casspi was selected in the 2009 draft.

“If I were fortunate enough to be drafted this coming June, it would mean the world to me to follow in the footsteps of Omri Casspi, Gal Mekel, and others, make my country proud and hopefully inspire young Israelis to follow their dreams as well,” Zossman told Givony.

The No. 58 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Zoosman is a top candidate to win this year’s EuroLeague Rising Star award, according to Givony, who notes that NBA scouts like the youngster’s size, length, shooting ability and basketball IQ.

Here are more draft-related updates on 2019’s early entrants:

  • Penn State junior forward Lamar Stevens announced on Tuesday that he’ll test the draft waters (Twitter link). “I think it’s a win-win,” Stevens said of going through the pre-draft process while retaining his college eligibility. “One way, I get to go and play professionally. (Or) I come back to a great school and really get to end my legacy how I really envision.”
  • Oregon junior guard Payton Pritchard tells James Crepea of The Oregonian that he’ll enter the draft while maintaining his NCAA eligibility. Pritchard came on strong in March, averaging 16.0 PPG, 6.3 APG, and 5.3 RPG during the Ducks’ Sweet 16 run.
  • Georgia State junior guard D’Marcus Simonds announced on Twitter that he’s entering the draft and signing with an agent. While Simonds can test the waters even after hiring representation, his announcement doesn’t make it sounds as if he expects to return for his senior season.
  • California Baptist sophomore guard Milan Acquaah is entering the draft without hiring an agent, the school announced in a press release. Acquaah averaged 19.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 3.4 APG in 31 games in 2018/19.
  • Howard junior guard Charles Williams Jr. will join teammate R.J. Cole in testing the 2019 draft waters, a source tells Steven J. Gaither of HBCU Gameday. Williams averaged 17.9 PPG on .446/.373/.856 shooting in 33 games in 2018/19.