Drew Peterson

David Roddy, John Butler, Caleb Houstan Staying In Draft

Colorado State swingman David Roddy and Florida State big man John Butler Jr. both plan to stay in the 2022 NBA draft, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter links).

Both players have a chance to hear their names called on June 23; Roddy is currently ranked No. 47 on ESPN’s big board, while Butler is No. 72.

In 31 games (32.9 MPG) as a junior in 2021/22, Roddy stuffed the stat sheet with averages of 19.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 1.1 BPG on .571/.438/.691. The 7’1″ Butler had a lesser role in his lone season for FSU, averaging 5.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 1.2 BPG in 31 games (19 MPG), but he did shoot an impressive .393 from three-point range.

Michigan’s Caleb Houstan will also stay in the draft, according to a team press release (via Twitter). The guard/forward averaged 10.1 PPG, 4 RPG, and 1.4 APG on .384/.355/.783 shooting for the Wolverines as a freshman in ’21/22.

Houstan is No. 49 on ESPN’s board, but there have been rumors that he received a first-round promise, with some league insiders speculating that it may have come from OKC at No. 30.

Here are more updates on the early entrants who are up against the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline:

  • Pete Nance, the younger brother of Larry Nance Jr., will withdraw from the draft and transfer from Northwestern, per Jeff Goodman of Stadium (twitter link). Nance averaged 14.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.1 BPG for the Wildcats last season. He’s No. 77 on ESPN’s board and will use his extra year of eligibility to play a fifth college season.
  • Florida A&M’s MJ Randolph and Coastal Carolina’s Vince Cole are both staying in the draft, as Rothstein relays (Twitter links). Both players were seniors in 2021/22, but could have used an extra year of eligibility to play one more season in college. Instead, they’ll turn pro.
  • Drew Peterson is withdrawing from the draft and using his extra year of eligibility to return to USC next season, tweets Rothstein. Peterson, who recently worked out for the Lakers, averaged 12.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 3.3 APG on .467/.412/.717 shooting for the Trojans last season (34 games, 33 MPG).
  • Forward Jalen Wilson is also withdrawing from the draft and returning to Kansas for his senior season, Goodman reports (via Twitter). Jayhawks fans will certainly be happy to hear the news, as he averaged 11.1 PPG and 7.4 for the champs last season.
  • Mouhamed Gueye will withdraw from the draft and transfer from Washington State, Goodman tweets. The 6-foot-11 big man averaged 7.4 PPG and 5.2 RPG for the Cougars in ’21/22.

Pacific Notes: Ham, Lakers, Kings, Warriors

Newly-hired Lakers head coach Darvin Ham is earning high praise from those who know him, according to Broderick Turner and Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.

Ham, who was a Lakers assistant coach from 2011-13 and won a title against L.A. as a player on the Pistons in 2004, has served as an assistant under head coach Mike Budenholzer with the Hawks and Bucks for the past nine seasons. The Bucks won the 2021 NBA championship with Ham on Budenholzer’s staff.

“His work ethic in practice and when we put him in the game, he always seemed to deliver,” former Knicks head coach and current Indiana University coach Mike Woodson said of Ham. “So, you knew that the fact he got into coaching, I knew it would work because that’s a big part of being a good coach. You got to work.”

Metta Sandiford-Artest, who played on the Lakers teams where Ham first cut his coaching teeth as a development assistant under Mike Brown, also had high praise for Ham.  “He definitely understands modern basketball,” Sandiford-Artest said. “He also is capable of communicating in a way where you can receive it the right way.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers held workouts on Saturday for six NBA hopefuls, per Matthew Barrero of Lakers.com. Baylor guard James Akinjo, Connecticut guard Tyrese Martin, Syracuse forward Cole Swider, USC guard Drew Peterson, Texas A&M guard Quenton Jackson, and Alabama guard Keon Ellis all got a look from the L.A. front office brass. Though Los Angeles does not possess a draft pick this season, the team could trade into the second round or sign an undrafted rookie as a free agent. “There is a good side to it if you’re able to choose your team,” Ellis said. “Even if it happens to be myself, you can’t get too down on it or overthink it. There’s been guys who have gone undrafted and come back with great stories.”
  • The Kings, who possess the fourth pick in the 2022 draft, had at least two key representatives take a look at several high-level prospects during recent pro day workouts in Southern California, writes Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. Team owner Vivek Ranadive and GM Monte McNair attended a CAA pro day workout for Purdue shooting guard Jaden Ivey and Duke small forward AJ Griffin. McNair attended an additional pro day with another top-10-level player, Arizona shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin, Anderson notes, examining the potential fit of each player.
  • Injured Warriors role players Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala will be gradually included in team practices ahead of the 2022 NBA Finals this week as they continue to recuperate from their respective ailments, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). The club has leaned on 2021 lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody for help in the absence of Payton, Porter and Iguodala.

Pacific Notes: Zubac, Curry, Lakers Draft, Coaching Search

As we noted in our Clippers offseason preview earlier today, L.A. holds a $7,518,518 team option on center Ivica Zubac, who is also extension-eligible this offseason. He said this week that he enjoys playing for the team and hopes to stick around.

I want to stay and I think they want to keep me,” Zubac told Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. “I think I should be there and they’re going to pick (the option) up. I like Los Angeles a lot and I like the Clippers. It’s like a family to me. Hopefully, everything is going to work out.”

Zubac notched several career-high marks in 2021/22, including games played (76, all starts), minutes per game (24.4), points (10.3), rebounds (8.5) and blocks (1.0). He said he hopes his role continues to expand going forward.

It’s great,” Zubac said about the trust he receives from Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “I hope that keeps on going. Every year I get more and more minutes so, hopefully, by the next year I’ll get even more. The coach trusts me, the teammates trust me and I’m really enjoying my time there.”

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Warriors star Stephen Curry, who was recently named the Western Conference Finals MVP, could have pushed Golden State to trade its high draft picks and prospects to improve the roster the past couple seasons, but he said the team’s patience was rewarded as it heads to the Finals for the sixth time in eight years. “That’s not how I operate,” Curry told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “There were conversations and different paths to take, and we all had conversations about going different ways. But at the end of the day, I have a lot of trust in (president/GM) Bob (Myers), a lot of confidence in what we’re about. There was no panic. Obviously, it helps that we had won a couple championships. It affords patience. But there was no panic in terms of getting me, Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green) another run at it, figuring out how we could get pieces around us to make it work. It’s just patience at the end of the day.”
  • The Lakers don’t currently own a draft pick, but that isn’t stopping them from working out six prospects on Saturday, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The six players are Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, UConn’s Tyrese Martin, USC’s Drew Peterson, Alabama’s Keon Ellis, Syracuse’s Cole Swider, and Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson. Ellis, Gillespie and Martin are all in the 60s on ESPN’s big board, while Jackson is No. 95; both Peterson and Swider are unranked. There’s a good chance at least a few prospects in the group will go undrafted.
  • Sean Deveney of Heavy.com queried rival front office executives to get their opinions on the Lakers‘ head coaching search, with some mixed opinions on which candidates might be favored by certain segments of the team.

Draft Notes: Peterson, Mutts, Mohammed, Rhoden, Miles

USC’s Drew Peterson will test the draft waters while maintaining his college eligibility, he announced on his Twitter page. The 6’9” Peterson averaged 12.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 3.3 APG this past season. He has started the past two seasons for the Trojans after two seasons with Rice.

We have more draft-related decisions:

  • Virginia Tech’s Justyn Mutts has declared for the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he announced on Twitter. The senior forward averaged 10.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 3.4 APG this past season.
  • Georgetown freshman swingman Aminu Mohammed will go through the process, his guardian confirmed to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. “We will go through the draft process and let that play out,” his guardian Shawn Harmon said. “Any other decision counter to that will be made at the appropriate time.” Mohammed averaged 13.7 PPG and 8.2 RPG for the Hoyas.
  • Seton Hall’s Jared Rhoden will forego a fifth year of eligibility and turn pro, Zagoria reports in a separate story. The 6’6” Rhoden averaged 15.5 PPG and 6.7 RPG for the Pirates. He’s been invited to the Portsmouth Invitational.
  • After initially testing the draft waters, TCU’s Mike Miles has changed course and will return to school, Rothstein tweets. The sophomore guard averaged 15.4 PPG and 3.8 APG in 31 starts.