Jalen Johnson

And-Ones: Newly-Scheduled Games, AmeriCup, All-Star Game

In the wake of a series of postponements related to both COVID-19 and severe weather in Texas, the NBA is adding a pair of new games to its schedule for this week. The Nuggets and Cavaliers will play in Cleveland on Friday, according to an official announcement. Meanwhile, the Bulls will host the Pistons on Wednesday in Chicago, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Bulls were initially scheduled to play in Charlotte on Wednesday, while the Pistons were supposed to play in Dallas. However, the Hornets were affected by coronavirus contact tracing and the Mavs are dealing with a weather-related state of emergency in the area, so Chicago and Detroit will instead play each other.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets had been scheduled to play in Charlotte on Friday night, but that Hornets game has been postponed as well due to contact tracing. The Cavaliers, whose Wednesday contest vs. San Antonio was postponed, were scheduled to be inactive until Sunday, so a Friday game easily fits into their schedule.

Neither new game is a makeup of an earlier postponement, but playing those games this week will allow the NBA to avoid having to schedule them in the second half.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran NBA forward Brandon Bass has joined Team USA’s roster for the upcoming FIBA AmeriCup qualifying games in Puerto Rico, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Canada’s roster for those qualifiers is headlined by former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic relays (via Twitter).
  • In the wake of Jalen Johnson‘s decision to forgo the rest of the NCAA season and enter the draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) and Sam Vecenie and Brendan Marks of The Athletic examine the implications of the Duke freshman’s opt-out. Givony hears from sources that a foot injury Johnson suffered in mid-December never fully healed and still isn’t 100% — sitting the rest of the season should give the projected lottery pick an opportunity to get healthy.
  • Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued a statement asking fans not to travel to Atlanta for this year’s All-Star Game, which won’t be a ticketed event, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Although the game won’t be open to the general public, some family members of All-Stars, local health-care workers, and students and staff members from local HBCUs are expected to be in the arena, according to Spencer, who estimates an attendance of about 1,200 to 1,500 people.

Projected Top-10 Pick Jalen Johnson Cuts College Season Short

6:52pm: Johnson has declared for the 2021 draft, according to a Duke University release.


5:55pm: Duke freshman forward and projected lottery pick Jalen Johnson has opted out for the remainder of the college basketball season, Jacob Polacheck and Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com report.

The 6’9” Johnson is currently ranked No. 6 on ESPN’s Best Available list for this year’s draft and is the top-ranked small forward. ESPN’s Mike Schmitz writes that Johnson has an impressive combination of strength and explosiveness, and is an extremely versatile defender.

The one-and-done prospect has appeared in 13 games this season, including eight starts, with averages of 11.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 BPG and 1.2 SPG in 21.4 MPG. He missed three games with a foot injury.

Johnson cleaned out his locker on Monday morning, according to ZagsBlog’s sources. Duke’s unusually ordinary season — the Blue Devils are 8-8 overall — and Johnson’s declining minutes may have contributed to his decision.

Johnson had a monster game against Pittsburgh last month — 24 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks — but his playing time had dropped dramatically in recent games. He played only 15 minutes against Notre Dame on Tuesday and eight minutes against North Carolina State on Saturday.

205 Early Entrants Declare For 2020 NBA Draft

The NBA has released the official list of early entrants for the 2020 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 205 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 163 are from colleges, while 42 are international early entrants.

That number falls just short of the previous record for early entrants, established in 2018. Two years ago, 236 early entrants declared for the draft, though ultimately only 91 of those prospects remained in the draft by the final deadline. A year ago, 233 early entrants declared, with 98 remaining in the draft.

This year’s total of 205 early entrants also figures to shrink significantly by June 3 and again by June 15, the two tentative deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool — assuming those dates aren’t pushed back. But it still looks like the pool will remain crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants likely to exceed 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our list of early entrants is now up to date and can be found right here. Here are today’s updates:

College underclassmen:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our own list.

The following players reportedly declared for the draft or planned to, but weren’t named in the NBA’s official announcement today. As such, we’ve removed them from our list.

International players:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our list.

  • Philippe Bayehe, F, Italy (born 1999)
  • Vinicius Da Silva, C, Spain (born 2001)
  • Imru Duke, F, Spain (born 1999)
  • Michele Ebeling, F, Italy (born 1999)
  • Dut Mabor, C, Italy (born 2001)
  • Sergi Martinez, F, Spain (born 1999)
  • Joel Parra, F, Spain (born 2000)
  • Mouhamed Thiam, C, France (born 2001)
  • Andrii Voinalovych, F, Ukraine (born 1999)