Jalen Suggs

Jalen Suggs To Enter 2021 NBA Draft

Standout Gonzaga guard and probable top-five pick Jalen Suggs has opted to enter the 2021 NBA draft and will forgo his remaining college eligibility, he announced today on ESPN’s The Jump (link via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com).

As a freshman on a star-studded Zags squad, Suggs put up relatively modest scoring numbers compared to other top prospects, ranking third on his team with 14.4 points per game.

However, Suggs filled up the box score with 5.3 RPG, 4.5 APG, and 1.9 SPG to go along with a .503/.337/.761 shooting line in 30 games (28.9 MPG), and had some memorable moments during Gonzaga’s run to the NCAA championship game, including a game-winning overtime buzzer beater in the team’s Final Four matchup against UCLA. He was voted a consensus Second Team All-American.

Suggs is part of the top tier of 2021 prospects, currently ranking third on ESPN’s big board. In his scouting report, Mike Schmitz notes that Suggs is a bit of a streaky shooter and has average length relative to his height, but says that he’s already a mature decision-maker and a tough defender.

While they’re awaiting draft decisions from some of their other key players, Gonzaga may not miss a beat as Suggs departs, having secured a commitment from No. 1 high school recruit Chet Holmgren.

Draft Updates: Shannon, Smart, Watford, More

Texas Tech sophomore wing Terrence Shannon Jr. will test the draft waters, declaring for the 2021 NBA draft while retaining his college eligibility, he announced today (via Twitter).

Shannon, who started 13 of his 28 games for the Red Raiders in 2020/21, averaged 12.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG on .448/.357/.756 shooting in 26.7 minutes per contest.

While those numbers don’t jump off the page, Shannon is a highly-regarded prospect who is a strong candidate to be drafted. He ranks 33rd overall on ESPN’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects and comes in at No. 37 on Jonathan Wasserman’s big board at Bleacher Report.

Here are a few more updates on the 2021 draft:

  • After testing the draft waters in both 2019 and 2020, LSU guard Javonte Smart will once again declare in 2021 and will go pro this time, he announced on Instagram. As a junior this season, Smart averaged 16.0 PPG and 4.0 APG on .460/.402/.857 shooting in 28 games (35.6 MPG).
  • Smart’s LSU teammate, sophomore forward Trendon Watford, is also entering the draft and intends to hire an agent, he announced on Twitter. Watford, who averaged 16.3 PPG and 7.4 RPG in 28 games (34.6 MPG) for the Tigers, is the No. 55 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
  • Florida State junior guard Sardaar Calhoun is testing the draft waters, he announced on Twitter. He saw limited action in 2020/21, averaging 5.3 PPG in 14.2 minutes per game (25 games), though he did hit 39.7% of his three-point attempts.
  • Keve Aluma, a redshirt junior forward at Virginia Tech, will enter the draft while retaining his college eligibility, he stated on Twitter. Aluma put up 15.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.2 APG, and 1.3 BPG in 22 games (30.6 MPG) in ’20/21.
  • Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN (Insider link) share their latest 2021 mock draft, which features Baylor’s Davion Mitchell moving all the way up to No. 7. Mitchell and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs were among the players whose stocks increased the most as a result of the NCAA tournament.

Draft Notes: McBride, Cooper, Livers, Suggs, Duke, Harper, Anderson

West Virginia sophomore point guard Miles McBride will test the draft waters but maintain his college eligibility, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. McBride is currently ranked No. 35 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list and No. 8 among point guard prospects. He averaged 15.8 PPG, 4.9 APG and 1.9 SPG this season. McBride racked up 30 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists against Morehead State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Confirming a report earlier this week, Auburn freshman guard Sharife Cooper is declaring for the draft and will forego his remaining college eligibility by hiring an agent, Givony writes in a separate story. Cooper is ranked No. 17 by ESPN. “This season was a roller coaster filled with many ups and some downs,” Cooper said. “But I wouldn’t trade it for anything, even through the bad times I enjoyed every second at Auburn.” Eligibility issues and an ankle injury limited him to 12 games but he averaged 20.2 PPG and 8.1 APG in those contests.
  • Michigan forward Isaiah Livers underwent surgery on his right foot and will require a minimum of six months to recover, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. Livers, ranked No. 47 by ESPN, missed the NCAA Tournament due to the injury. He averaged 13.1 PPG and 6.0 RPG for the Big Ten regular-season champions.
  • Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs has risen to No. 2 overall behind Cade Cunningham in the latest rankings by The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie. Vecenie notes that Suggs’ “ability to pair powerful athleticism and downhill driving/transition ability with high-IQ passing and legitimate shot-making potential is everything that NBA teams are looking for out of lead ball-handlers in today’s game.”
  • Providence’s David Duke will sign with an agent and enter the draft, Rothstein tweets. The junior guard averaged 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 4.8 APG. He’s listed as the 67th-best prospect by ESPN.
  • Rutgers swingman Ron Harper Jr. will test the waters but maintain his eligibility, Rothstein adds in another tweet. He averaged 14.9 PPG and 5.9 RPG for the Scarlet Knights.
  • Oklahoma State’s Avery Anderson has also declared while keeping his eligibility option open, according to Rothstein (Twitter link). The sophomore guard averaged 12.2 PPG and 4.0 RPG this season.

And-Ones: McDonald’s Game Rosters, Cooper, Suggs, More

While the game itself won’t be played this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, McDonald’s formally announced its ceremonial rosters this week for the annual All American Game, a showcase of the nation’s top high school players.

The 24-player boys squad is headlined by a number of prospects who are expected to be lottery selections in the 2022 NBA draft, including Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith, whom ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz had as the top three picks in their first ’22 mock draft in December.

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

  • Auburn point guard Sharife Cooper, the No. 9 ranked prospect on ESPN’s big board for the 2021 NBA draft, may have played his last game for the Tigers, writes Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Cooper is in a walking boot after suffering an ankle injury, and ESPN’s Jimmy Dykes said during Tuesday’s Auburn/Florida broadcast that he’d be surprised if Cooper returns this season. “We will see how the week progresses. We never rush guys back,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “He is working to try and get back, but we just don’t know.”
  • NBA teams picking in the top half of the 2021 lottery will have to determine whether Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs – who is the third-leading scorer for the Bulldogs this season – is capable of becoming a primary option at the next level or if he projects to be a star role player, writes Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer. Suggs is the No. 4 prospect on ESPN’s 2021 big board.
  • Johnathan Williams, who recently parted ways with Turkish team Galatasaray, didn’t take long to find a new home, having signed with Niners Chemnitz in Germany for the rest of the season, according to the club. Williams, a 6’9″ forward/center, spent time with the Lakers in 2018/19 and the Wizards in ’19/20, averaging 5.2 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 39 total NBA games.
  • Former first-round pick Jared Sullinger, who hasn’t played professionally since 2019 and hasn’t been in the NBA since 2017, has reportedly agreed to a deal with Anyang KGC in South Korea, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Sullinger spoke last month about his goal of making it back to the NBA.

And-Ones: AmeriCup, Olympics, All-Star Break, Draft

USA Basketball issued a press release today announcing its 12-man roster for the AmeriCup qualifying tournament taking place in Puerto Rico later this month. Several players representing Team USA in games against The Bahamas on February 19 and Mexico on February 20 have already been reported, with former All-Stars Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson leading the way.

However, today’s announcement includes a few more players with NBA experience that we haven’t already passed along. Josh Boone, James Nunnally, and Jordan Sibert will also be part of the roster, per today’s announcement.

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

  • FIBA has revealed the groups for the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament, announcing today that Team USA will be part of Group A alongside France and Iran. The fourth team in the group will be the winner of a qualifying tournament that includes Canada, Greece, Turkey, China, the Czech Republic, and Uruguay..
  • While players will get a break from March 5-10, between the first and second halves of the season, they’ll have to undergo daily COVID-19 testing during that time and will likely be required to be back in their team’s market two days before the end of that break, says Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report released an updated version of his 2021 mock draft, as did ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link). Both mocks have Cade Cunningham at No. 1, Evan Mobley at No. 2, and Jalen Suggs at No. 4, but disagree about which G League Ignite player should be at No. 3 — Wasserman has Jonathan Kuminga there, while Givony and Schmitz favor Jalen Green.

And-Ones: Montgomery, Thomas, NCAA Tourney, 2021 Draft

Former Kentucky forward E.J. Montgomery, who was in training camp with the Bucks last month, has signed with Lithuanian team BC Nevezis, according to an announcement from the club (Twitter link).

After going undrafted in 2020 following his sophomore season with the Wildcats, Montgomery caught on with Milwaukee on a non-guaranteed camp deal, but was cut on December 16. While the Bucks may have, at one point, envisioned Montgomery as a potential G League affiliate player, the Wisconsin Herd opted out of the NBAGL’s bubble plan for 2020/21, opening the door for the 21-year-old to pursue another professional opportunity.

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

  • Isaiah Thomas and Excel Sports Management have parted ways, as the free agent point guard continues to seek an NBA comeback, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Presumably, Thomas will hire new representation to spearhead the effort to land him an NBA job.
  • The NCAA was forced to cancel March Madness in 2020, but the 2021 event is still scheduled to tip off in mid-March. According to a press release from the NCAA, the plan is for the entire tournament to take place in Indiana to reduce the coronavirus risk associated with travel.
  • Michael Scotto of HoopsHype spoke to a handful of player agents and team executives about what it looks like when a player requests a trade and how the process typically plays out behind the scenes.
  • Draft expert Jeff Goodman of Stadium has unveiled his big board for the 2021 NBA draft, which is headed by Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs. Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State), Jalen Green (G League Ignite), Evan Mobley (USC), and Jonathan Kuminga (G League Ignite) fill out Goodman’s initial top five. The same five prospects are atop ESPN’s big board, albeit in a different order.