E.J. Liddell

Draft Notes: McBride, McNeil, Liddell, Ramey, Wheeler

West Virginia guard Miles McBride has decided to remain in the draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. McBride told Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins on Friday, sources tell Greg Carey of Metro News.

“This was definitely a difficult decision,” McBride said. “Huggs has done so much for me. I love West Virginia, the fans and the entire city of Morgantown. Leaving will be hard, but it’s always been my dream to play in the league. Leaving now gives me the best chance to do that.”

The 20-year-old was a second-team All-Big 12 selection as a sophomore, averaging 15.9 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 29 games. He is ranked 33rd in ESPN’s list of the top 100 prospects and had a strong showing at last week’s combine in Chicago.

“The main reason was the feedback I got from the NBA’s undergraduate advisory committee. Being drafted in the late first to early second round is what I’ve heard the most,” McBride said. “I had a great week at the NBA combine and at my pro day, meeting with NBA teams and hearing from them directly how interested they are in me.”

There’s more on the draft:

  • West Virginia will keep Sean McNeil, who is expected to withdraw from the draft and return to school for his senior season, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. The shooting specialist averaged 12.2 PPG this year and connected at 38.8% from three-point range.
  • Ohio State power forward E.J. Liddell has decided to forgo the draft and return for another season with the Buckeyes, Givony writes in a separate story. Liddell had a breakout season as a sophomore, posting 16.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. “This was a pretty difficult decision,” he said. “No one in my family has ever been this close to getting to a professional league. After many conversations with my parents and coaches, I understood that returning was the best thing for me. Anyone can get signed to play in the NBA. I absolutely could have gotten a contract. But it’s not about getting in the NBA, it’s about staying in for the long term.”
  • Texas guard Courtney Ramey and Kentucky guard Sahvir Wheeler are also pulling out of the draft, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter links).

NBA G League Announces 40 Draft-Eligible Participants For Elite Camp

The NBA G League has announced in a press release that 40 draft-eligible prospects are set to participate in the NBAGL Elite Camp next week in Chicago from June 19-21.

The G League Elite Camp is back this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event, which takes place right before the draft combine, will give a few dozen draft-eligible players an opportunity to impress scouts, coaches, and executives through strength and agility drills and 5-on-5 games.

As today’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which is scheduled for June 21-27 in Chicago.

The list of draft-eligible players who took part in the most recent G League Elite Camp in 2019 included a handful of prospects who were eventually drafted, such as Terance Mann, Cody Martin, Justin Wright-Foreman, Reggie Perry, and Dewan Hernandez.

Many of the draft-eligible participants in the 2019 Elite Camp also made it to the NBA after going undrafted, including Oshae Brissett, Chris Clemons, Tyler Cook, Tacko Fall, DaQuan Jeffries, Caleb Martin, Justin Robinson, and Max Strus.

Two years ago, this event also featured 40 G League veterans, for a total of 80 players. Based on today’s press release, it sounds like this year’s Elite Camp may be pared down to only include draft-eligible prospects, though it’s possible the NBAGL will announce more names within the next few days.

Here are the 40 draft-eligible prospects participating in the 2021 G League Elite Camp:

  1. Derrick Alston Jr. (Boise State)
  2. Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech)
  3. Jose Alvarado (Georgia Tech)
  4. Juhann Begarin (France)
  5. Chaundee Brown (Michigan)
  6. Jordan Burns (Colgate)
  7. Marcus Carr (Minnesota)
  8. D.J. Carton (Marquette)
  9. Moussa Cisse (Memphis)
  10. Kofi Cockburn (Illinois)
  11. Oscar Da Silva (Stanford)
  12. Darius Days (LSU)
  13. Hunter Dickinson (Michigan)
  14. Dawson Garcia (Marquette)
  15. Marcus Garrett (Kansas)
  16. Haowen Guo (China)
  17. Jay Huff (Virginia)
  18. DeJon Jarreau (Houston)
  19. Carlik Jones (Louisville)
  20. DeVante’ Jones (Coastal Carolina)
  21. Balsa Koprivica (Florida State)
  22. A.J. Lawson (South Carolina)
  23. E.J. Liddell (Ohio State)
  24. Mac McClung (Texas Tech)
  25. JaQuori McLaughlin (UCSB)
  26. Matt Mitchell (San Diego State)
  27. RJ Nembhard (TCU)
  28. Eugene Omoruyi (Oregon)
  29. EJ Onu (Shawnee State)
  30. Scotty Pippen Jr. (Vanderbilt)
  31. Orlando Robinson (Fresno State)
  32. Aamir Simms (Clemson)
  33. Javonte Smart (LSU)
  34. Mike Smith (Michigan)
  35. D.J. Stewart (Mississippi State)
  36. MaCio Teague (Baylor)
  37. M.J. Walker (Florida State)
  38. Duane Washington (Ohio State)
  39. Aaron Wiggins (Maryland)
  40. Jalen Wilson (Kansas)

Draft Updates: Christopher, Liddell, Akinjo, More

Arizona State shooting guard Josh Christopher is entering the 2021 NBA draft, he announced late last night on Twitter.

The 6’5″ freshman played just 15 games for the Sun Devils, having missed 10 due to leg and back issues. When he played, he averaged 14.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.5 SPG on .432/.305/.800 shooting. Despite his limited résumé at the college level, Christopher looks like a good bet to be drafted, currently ranking 37th overall on ESPN’s big board.

Here are a few more updates on early entrants declaring for the 2021 draft:

  • On the heels of Ohio State’s early exit from the NCAA tournament, sophomore forward E.J. Liddell will enter the draft while leaving the door open to return to the Buckeyes, he announced on Twitter. Liddell enjoyed a breakout year in 2020/21, increasing his scoring average from 6.7 PPG as a freshman reserve to 16.2 PPG as a full-time starter.
  • Junior guard James Akinjo announced on Instagram that he’ll test the draft waters this spring. After spending his first two college seasons at Georgetown, Akinjo transferred to Arizona and averaged 15.6 PPG and 5.4 APG in 26 games (34.9 MPG) this year.
  • North Texas guard Javion Hamlet has opted to enter the draft pool, he announced on Twitter. In two college seasons, Hamlet averaged 15.1 PPG on .461/.396/.878 shooting in 59 games (31.7 MPG), earning Conference USA Player of the Year honors in 2019/20.
  • UNLV guard Bryce Hamilton is testing the draft waters, according to an announcement on Twitter. Hamilton averaged 17.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 3.0 APG in 24 games (32.6 MPG) as a junior this season.