Jaylen Hands

Draft Notes: Blazers, Hawks, Hunter, Samanic, Kings, Warriors

The Trail Blazers, who hold just one pick – No. 25 overall – in this year’s draft, brought in a total of 24 prospects for workouts, according to Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com.

In addition to the 12 prospects whose names we previously relayed, the Trail Blazers also brought in David Crisp (Washington), Matur Maker (Slovenia), KZ Okpala (Stanford), Samir Sehic (Tulane), Jaylin Walker (Kent State), Cameron Young (Quinnipiac), Vic Law (Northwestern), Ignas Brazdeikis (Michigan), Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State), Louis King (Oregon), Admiral Schofield (Tennessee), Rayjon Tucker (Little Rock) over the last week.

Not all of those players are candidates to be selected 25th overall, so the Trail Blazers were also doing their homework on potential undrafted free agent signings — or possibly even second-round picks, if Portland opts to trade back into the draft.

Here are a few more draft-related notes and rumors worth rounding up:

  • The Hawks are “very high” on Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link). Sources tell Givony that Atlanta is the only team Hunter has worked out for, though if the Hawks want to secure him, they may have to trade up from No. 8. The Hawks are also said to like Jarrett Culver.
  • Croatian forward Luka Samanic isn’t interested in becoming a draft-and-stash player, sources tell Givony. That might cause his stock to fall a little, since he’s still “raw and inexperienced,” Givony writes. Some teams may be reluctant to guarantee him a roster spot until he’s a little more NBA-ready.
  • The Kings worked out Kyle Guy (Virginia), Jaylen Hands (UCLA), Rayjon Tucker (Little Rock), Miye Oni (Yale), Daulton Hommes (Point Loma), and Kenny Wooten (Oregon) on Monday, per James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets are among the teams that brought in Purdue Fort Wayne’s John Konchar for a pre-draft workout, tweets ESPN’s Jordan Schultz.
  • Jordan Poole (Michigan) and Jarrell Brantley (Charleston) auditioned for the Warriors today, per Gery Woelfel and Adam Zagoria, respectively (Twitter links).

Pacific Notes: Curry, Suns, Kings, Oubre

For the first time since 2010/11, when a sophomore Stephen Curry shared a backcourt with Monta Ellis, the revolutionary Warriors guard will go into a season without Klay Thompson. Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic details just what’s in store for him and for the franchise heading forward.

Not only will Curry have to shoulder more of the scoring load without Thompson and Kevin Durant, two of the game’s deadliest offensive weapons, he’ll need to do so after everybody and their grandmother saw Raptors coach Nick Nurse employ a successful series of zones against the Warriors.

Those are new questions that Curry will have to answer, but they aren’t the first questions he’s ever faced. This, Thompson writes, isn’t the guard’s first gut-check offseason. Curry has established and re-established his value after injuries and previous Warriors titles and will look to do so again.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Expect the Suns to either keep their No. 6 pick or look to trade down in the draft, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 Phoenix tweets. The dialed-in radio host says that he can’t envision the team dealing that pick for players like Lonzo Ball, Mike Conley or Spencer Dinwiddie.
  • The Kings have announced that they’ll welcome another batch of prospects for a workout on Monday. The franchise that picks at 40, 47 and 60 will audition Shamorie Ponds, Jaylen Hands and a handful of other candidates.
  • Did Kelly Oubre do enough in his 40-game trial with the Suns this season? Bobby Marks of ESPN writes that Oubre played some of his best basketball in Phoenix after coming over from the Wizards and the Suns were wise to nab him when they did. Phoenix will have the flexibility match an offer sheet the restricted free agent lands and they’ll have his Bird rights.

Could The Wizards Be The “Right Situation” For Keldon Johnson?

The Wizards hold the No. 9 overall pick in next week’s draft, though they haven’t had many of the elite prospects in Washington for workouts. Keldon Johnson broke that trend, participating in drills at the team’s practice facility on Thursday. The former Kentucky Wildcat described the experience as “amazing” when speaking with Hoops Rumors and other media in attendance.

“I feel I really got to compete today. Got in a great workout. Great staff. I feel everyone was involved in it. … I just had an amazing time,” Johnson said.

Opinions on where Johnson will be drafted range from late-lottery pick to the early 20s. The 6’6″ wing is no. 19 on ESPN’s latest top 100 and Jonathan Givony has Utah selecting him with the No. 23 overall selection in his latest mock draft.

Johnson doesn’t worry about where he’s projected to go. He takes the same approach to invites regardless of what pick the team possesses.

“I don’t really look at it,” he said. “I just go into the workout open-minded. Whatever workouts I have, I go in there and kill [the workout] and go at whoever’s in front of me.”

Iowa State’s Cameron Lard was the only prospect to participate in on-court activities with Johnson. Many pre-draft workouts have upwards of six prospects. Others are merely individual workouts. The two-man workout calls for more one-on-one drills and showcases a different skill set.

Johnson, who scored 13.5 points per game at Kentucky last season, feels his ballhandling is an area of his game that’s underrated. The Virginia-native feels he can better showcase that ability at the next level and added that the tempo of the NBA suits his game. “It’s a lot of up-and-down. … I think I’ll transition well,” the 19-year-old said.

Johnson simply wants to go to the “right situation.” When asked to clarify, the prospect emphasized a place where he can learn. “Just come in, play, learn. Just listen to my coaches,” he said.

John Calipari‘s former recruit previously worked out for a bevy of teams, including the Celtics — owners of three picks in the top 22. He’ll head to Minnesota next, which will likely be his last workout before the NBA draft.

The draft process continues for Washington today. The Wizards will bring in six prospects, as the team relays on its website. Corey Davis (Houston), Jessie Govan (Georgetown), Jaylen Hands (UCLA), Lyle Hexom (Peru State), Jonathan Kasibabu (Fairfield) and V.J. King (Louisville) will participate in drills while Sekou Doumbouya (France) will simply meet with the team.

Southeast Draft Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Magic, Heat

The Hornets are one of multiple Southeast teams that has been busy this week scouting draft-eligible prospects. According to a pair of press releases from the club, Charlotte brought in six prospects for pre-draft workouts on Friday and will take a closer look at six more on Saturday.

Nassir Little (UNC) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech) were the headliners in Friday’s group for the Hornets, joined by Devontae Cacok (UNC-Wilmington), Tyler Cook (Iowa), Jordan Davis (Northern Colorado), and Matt Morgan (Cornell).

On Saturday, the Hornets will work out Jordan Bone (Tennessee), Oshae Brissett (Syracuse), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), C.J. Massinburg (Buffalo), Isaiah Roby (Nebrasaka), and Simisola Shittu (Vanderbilt).

Here are a few more draft-related updates from out of the Southeast:

Full List Of 2019 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 66 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from May 15-19.

While a small handful of top prospects often skip the event, that won’t be the case this year — Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are on the league’s list of 66 names, along with R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver, Darius Garland, De’Andre Hunter, and many more. Of course, those top prospects may not participate fully in all of the workouts and scrimmages at the combine.

A few more names figure to be added to this list, as a select number of the 40 draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp earlier in the week are expected to receive invites to the combine.

Here’s the full list of 66 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech (sophomore)
  2. R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke (freshman)
  3. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (freshman)
  4. Darius Bazley, F, Princeton HS (OH) (N/A)
  5. Bol Bol, C, Oregon (freshman)
  6. Jordan Bone, G, Tennessee (junior)
  7. Brian Bowen, F, USA (born 1998)
  8. Ky Bowman, G, Boston College (junior)
  9. Ignas Brazdeikis, F, Michigan (freshman)
  10. Moses Brown, C, UCLA (freshman)
  11. Brandon Clarke, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  12. Nicolas Claxton, F, Georgia (sophomore)
  13. Jarrett Culver, G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  14. Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  15. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas (freshman)
  16. Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue (junior)
  17. Bruno Fernando, F, Maryland (sophomore)
  18. Daniel Gafford, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  19. Darius Garland, G, Vanderbilt (freshman)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Kansas (freshman)
  21. Kyle Guy, G, Virginia (junior)
  22. Jaylen Hands, G, UCLA (sophomore)
  23. Jaxson Hayes, F/C, Texas (freshman)
  24. Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  25. Jaylen Hoard, F, Wake Forest (freshman)
  26. Talen Horton-Tucker, G, Iowa State (freshman)
  27. De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia (sophomore)
  28. Ty Jerome, G, Virginia (junior)
  29. Cameron Johnson, G, UNC (senior)
  30. Keldon Johnson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  31. Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State (sophomore)
  32. Louis King, F, Oregon (freshman)
  33. Romeo Langford, G, Indiana (freshman)
  34. Dedric Lawson, F, Kansas (junior)
  35. Jalen Lecque, G, Brewster Academy (NH) (N/A)
  36. Nassir Little, F, UNC (freshman)
  37. Charles Matthews, G, Michigan (junior)
  38. Jalen McDaniels, F, San Diego State (sophomore)
  39. Ja Morant, G, Murray State (sophomore)
  40. Zach Norvell Jr., G, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  41. Jaylen Nowell, G, Washington (sophomore)
  42. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville (sophomore)
  43. Chuma Okeke, F, Auburn (sophomore)
  44. KZ Okpala, F, Stanford (sophomore)
  45. Miye Oni, G/F, Yale (junior)
  46. Eric Paschall, F, Villanova (senior)
  47. Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John’s (junior)
  48. Jordan Poole, G, Michigan (sophomore)
  49. Jontay Porter, F, Missouri (sophomore)
  50. Kevin Porter Jr, G, USC (freshman)
  51. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (freshman)
  52. Cam Reddish, F, Duke (freshman)
  53. Naz Reid, C, LSU (freshman)
  54. Isaiah Roby, F, Nebraska (junior)
  55. Luka Samanic, F, Croatia (born 2000)
  56. Admiral Schofield, G, Tennessee (senior)
  57. Simisola Shittu, F, Vanderbilt (freshman)
  58. Killian Tillie, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  59. PJ Washington, F, Kentucky (sophomore)
  60. Tremont Waters, G, LSU (sophomore)
  61. Quinndary Weatherspoon, G, Missippi State (senior)
  62. Coby White, G, UNC (freshman)
  63. Kris Wilkes, G, UCLA (sophomore)
  64. Grant Williams, F, Tennessee (junior)
  65. Zion Williamson, F, Duke (freshman)
  66. Dylan Windler, G, Belmont (senior)

Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga) and Matisse Thybulle (Washington) are among the potential first-round picks who aren’t on the NBA’s list of combine participants, as noted by Jeremy Woo of SI.com and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links).

P.J. Washington, Grant Williams, Others Entering 2019 Draft

Kentucky forward P.J. Washington has opted to enter the 2019 NBA draft and will hire an agent, according to a press release from the program. Washington, who considered going pro after his freshman year, returned to the Wildcats for his sophomore season and had a strong year. Now, he plans to keep his name in the draft pool, forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility.

“When I decided to come back to school a year ago, I knew there were things I still wanted to accomplish so I challenged myself to become a better all-around player, to develop more consistency and to become a leader for this team,” Washington said in a statement. “Although we fell a couple games short of our ultimate goal, I’ll never forget the season we had with my brothers. We did some special things this season and made memories that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Washington increased his numbers across the board in his second year at Kentucky, averaging 15.2 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 1.2 BPG on .522/.423/.663 shooting. He’s currently ranked 15th on ESPN’s big board, with Jonathan Givony praising his “enviable physical tools.”

Here are more updates on players declaring for the 2019 NBA draft:

  • Another one of the top 25 players on Givony’s board – Tennessee junior forward Grant Williams – has announced his intention to test the draft waters. Williams, the No. 24 prospect per ESPN, averaged 18.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 3.2 APG for the Vols. He indicated that he’ll go through the pre-draft process, leaving the door open to return for his senior season.
  • Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele is entering the draft and intends to keep his name in this year’s pool, he tells Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com. “My decision is I’m going to put my name in the draft this year,” the sophomore center said. “Just because of the season I had, the growth, I feel like I did as much as I could at Florida State. I learned a lot. My next challenge is going to be to expand my game.” Kabengele is the No. 30 prospect on ESPN’s top 100.
  • Three Michigan underclassmen on ESPN’s big board – freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis (No. 48), sophomore guard Jordan Poole (No. 68), and junior guard Charles Matthews (No. 69) – will go through the draft process, the school announced today in a press release. All three players will hire agents, though they’ll still have until May 29 to withdraw if they so choose.
  • Auburn junior guard Jared Harper is leaving school and declaring for the 2019 NBA draft, per a press release. “I have always been a believer in Jared,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said of the No. 61 prospect on ESPN’s big board. “He is a special player with speed, quickness, power and a skill level that is unmatched by virtually any player his size. He will make it in the NBA.”
  • Kentucky’s Ashton Hagans, a candidate to be drafted this year, will instead return to the Wildcats for his sophomore season, he confirmed today. As ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweets, Hagans will focus on improving his shooting and play-making in his second season at Kentucky.
  • Here are a few more early entrants who don’t rank in ESPN’s top 100, but who are entering the draft:

Draft Decisions: Azubuike, Hands, Bowman, Reed

Kansas big man Udoka Azubuike is the latest early entrant to pull out the 2018 NBA draft, a source tells ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link). Azubuike, the No. 77 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com, had entered the draft without hiring an agent, but now appears poised to rejoin the Jayhawks for his junior year.

As a sophomore, Azubuike enjoyed a breakout season in 2017/18, averaging 13.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 1.7 BPG in just 23.6 minutes per contest for Kansas. The seven-footer will have another opportunity to declare as an early entrant in 2019.

Here are more of the latest draft decisions from early entrants in advance of today’s deadline:

  • Jaylen Hands, who ranks one spot behind Azubuike on Givony’s top-100 list, is also headed back to school, a source tells Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). The UCLA guard will be a sophomore in 2018/19.
  • Boston College sophomore guard Ky Bowman will return to school for his junior year after testing the draft waters, according to Rothstein. Bowman had a big sophomore season for the Eagles, putting up 17.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 4.7 APG, but wasn’t considered likely to be drafted.
  • The Clemson basketball program got some good news today, according to Rothstein, who tweets that Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell are both withdrawing from the draft after testing the waters. Reed and Mitchell were the Tigers’ first- and fourth-leading scorers in 2017/18.
  • DePaul’s top scorer Max Strus will return to school for his senior year, the program announced today in a press release. “I’m glad I was able to go through the process and receive feedback from NBA teams,” Strus said in a statement. “Now we can look forward to my senior season at DePaul and we’re already working and getting better this spring as a team.”
  • Junior guard Tyler Hall is withdrawing from the draft and returning to Montana State, per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link). Hall averaged 17.5 PPG on .407/.372/.907 shooting in 2017/18.

Draft Notes: Robinson, Kings, Bluiett, Rorie, Caldwell

Despite reports suggesting otherwise, the Lakers aren’t believed to have made a promise to Mitchell Robinson to take him in the first round, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Robinson skipped last week’s combine and a report surfaced that the Lakers made a pledge to him with the No. 25 overall pick. The seven-footer did not play college basketball, as he withdrew from Western Kentucky as a freshman last September to focus on the draft. He’s ranked as the No. 22 prospect on ESPN Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 list.

In other draft-related developments:

Draft Notes: Combine, Franks, Gates, Vick, Wiggins

Earlier today, we passed along the list of the 69 players expected to attend this month’s NBA draft combine in Chicago, as reported by Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. In his latest Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony takes a closer look at that list, noting that it’s often predictive of which players will be drafted in June.

As Givony notes, Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike, Georgia’s Yante Maten, UCLA’s Jaylen Hands, and Maryland’s Bruno Fernando all received invites to the combine despite not being on ESPN’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects. That’s an indication that NBA teams are more bullish on those players than Givony, who says they’ll be added to his top 100 in the next update.

Meanwhile, Florida’s Jalen Hudson, St. John’s Shamorie Ponds, and Purdue’s Carsen Edwards are among the underclassmen in Givony’s top 100 who weren’t invited to the combine. Those players, along with a few other top-100 prospects, haven’t hired agents and can still withdraw their names from this year’s pool — not receiving an invite to the combine probably means they’re more likely to return to school.

Let’s round up a few more draft-related notes…

  • Following up on his analysis of the combine invitee list, Givony notes in a tweet that Robert Franks (Washington State), Kaiser Gates (Xavier), and Lagerald Vick (Kansas) are among the early entrants who have now hired agents and won’t be returning to school.
  • One intriguing combine invitee is Mitchell Robinson, who didn’t play college ball after being named a McDonald’s All-American. According to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter link), Robinson has signed with veteran NBA agent Raymond Brothers, who says his new client is “easily a top-three talent.”
  • Junior forward Demajeo Wiggins, who averaged a double-double in 2017/18 (13.7 PPG, 10.1 RPG), will be returning to Bowling Green for his senior season, he tells ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link). Wiggins had been testing the draft waters without an agent.
  • Pre-draft team workouts are underway, with the Lakers bringing in six prospects for a look on Thursday. According to Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet (Twitter link), Sedrick Barefield (Utah), Hayden Dalton (Wyoming), Marcus Foster (Creighton), Deng Adel (Louisville), Anas Mahmoud (Louisville), and Ethan Happ (Wisconsin) earned a look from the Lakers.

Draft Updates: E. Davis, Isabell, Hands, T. Brown

A handful of notable prospects today have announced their intention to enter the 2018 NBA draft, including a pair of players viewed as probable lottery picks in Marvin Bagley III and Miles Bridges. We’ve got updates on several more NCAA underclassmen who don’t have the same name recognition as Bagley and Bridges, but are nonetheless entering their names for draft consideration — at least for now. Let’s dive in…

  • Texas junior guard Eric Davis Jr. has decided to go pro, the school announced today in a press release. Davis joins teammate Mohamed Bamba among Texas players entering the draft early — fellow Longhorn Kerwin Roach II is also declaring, but won’t hire an agent, so he could return to school.
  • Drexel junior Tramaine Isabell is testing the draft waters, according to a press release from the program. The 6’1″ guard averaged 21.0 PPG and 7.5 RPG in his first season at Drexel after transferring from Mizzou.
  • UCLA freshman guard Jaylen Hands is entering the draft without hiring an agent, as he tells Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. Hands’ teammate Aaron Holiday has also declared for the draft, so the program would have some backcourt holes to fill if both players ultimately decide to go pro.
  • Georgia Southern junior guard Tookie Brown is testing the draft waters, the school announced today. Brown, who averaged 18.9 PPG on .532/.471/.753 shooting in 2017/18, won’t hire an agent, leaving the door open to return to school for his senior year.
  • Max Strus of DePaul is entering the draft without an agent, according to his school. The junior guard enjoyed a breakout season in 2017/18, posting 16.8 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 31 games.
  • Charlotte junior guard Andrien White will test the NBA draft waters this spring, as David Scott of The Charlotte Observer notes. If White decide to withdraw his name from draft consideration next month, he plans on returning to the 49ers to play for new head coach Ron Sanchez.