Jalen Smith

Wizards Notes: Quickley, J. Smith, Draft, Facility

While they can’t meet in person with this year’s draft prospects, the Wizards are doing their homework on a number of players.

According to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, the team has spoken to Kentucky’s Immanuel Quickley and intends to interview Maryland’s Jalen Smith this week. The Wizards have also touched base with Arizona’s Zeke Nnaji, as we noted on Tuesday.

While much of the draft speculation involving the Wizards will focus on the team’s lottery pick, the club is also projected to hold the 37th overall selection. The three players listed above could be candidates for that pick — Smith is ranked 30th on ESPN’s big board, with Nnaji coming in at No. 34 and Quickley at No. 54.

Hughes also points out that even if the Wizards don’t get a chance to draft any of those players, it makes sense to get as familiar with them as possible. For instance, after working him out a couple times, the team was high on Moritz Wagner leading up to the 2018 draft. Although they couldn’t justify picking him at No. 15, the Wizards ultimately ended up acquiring Wagner from the Lakers in a trade a year later.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • In a two-part series, Sam Vecenie and Fred Katz of The Athletic break down what a number of different draft scenarios would look like for the Wizards, who will likely end up at No. 9 or 10 if they don’t get lucky in this year’s lottery. The Athletic’s duo have Washington selecting Anthony Edwards at No. 1 and view Tyrese Haliburton, Cole Anthony, and Devin Vassell as some of the team’s potential options in the 9-10 range.
  • Head coach Scott Brooks said during an NBA TV appearance earlier this week that as long as “everything goes as planned,” the Wizards will reopen their practice facility for individual voluntary workouts on Friday, tweets Katz. As Katz notes, not all the Wizards players are still in the D.C. area, but some are.
  • In case you missed it, Rui Hachimura earned a spot on Hoops Rumors’ All-Rookie Second Team for 2019/20, based on your votes. Check out the full results of our All-Rookie polls right here.

Maryland’s Jalen Smith Entering 2020 NBA Draft

Maryland sophomore forward Jalen Smith is entering the 2020 NBA draft, he announced today in a statement on Twitter.

Although Smith is eligible to test the draft waters without forgoing his college eligibility, his comments makes it sound as if he’s ready to go pro, and Evan Daniels of 247Sports confirms (via Twitter) that the youngster is expected to remain in the draft.

“The time is right for me to move forward to the next phase in my basketball career,” Smith said in his statement after thanking his family, his teammates, Maryland’s coaches and staffers, and Terrapins fans.

In 31 games (31.3 MPG) as a sophomore, Smith averaged a double-double, recording 15.5 PPG and a team-high 10.5 RPG and 2.4 BPG. The 6’10” power forward, who earned spots on the All-Big Ten First Team and the Big Ten All-Defensive team, also showed off an improved three-point shot, converting 36.8% of 87 total attempts from beyond the arc.

Smith is a candidate to come off the board in the first round of this year’s draft. He currently ranks 30th overall on ESPN’s big board, including sixth among power forwards.

Draft Notes: T. Jones, J. Smith, Dawkins, Tyree

Duke guard Tre Jones published an Instagram post this weekend in which he strongly hinted that he’s leaning toward returning to school for at least one more year. Nothing is official yet, but if Jones does elect to stick with the Blue Devils for his sophomore season, it would be big news for the program.

Currently, Jones ranks 29th on Jonathan Givony’s 2019 NBA draft big board at ESPN.com, including fourth among point guards. According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (via Twitter), the Knicks, Grizzlies, Hornets, Pelicans, Hawks, and Thunder have all done a “great amount” of background work on Jones.

As we wait for official word from the Duke guard, here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Maryland freshman forward Jalen Smith, a potential draft candidate, has elected to return to the Terrapins for his sophomore season, the school announced today in a press release. “I’m excited to return to Maryland for my sophomore year and advance my education as I continue to develop both on and off the court with my teammates and coaching staff,” said Smith, who averaged an impressive 17.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 3.0 BPG in two NCAA tournament games.
  • UCF guard Aubrey Dawkins has submitted the paperwork necessary to declare for the 2019 draft, according to a press release. The 6’6″ junior left a strong final impression, having racked up 32 points against Duke in UCF’s second-round NCAA tournament loss.
  • Ole Miss junior guard Breein Tyree has announced that he’ll test the draft waters, maintaining his college eligibility during the process (Twitter link). Tyree averaged a team-high 17.9 PPG on .459/.375/.831 shooting in 33 games in 2018/19.