Johnny Juzang

Jazz To Add Johnny Juzang Via Two-Way Deal

The Jazz will sign undrafted former UCLA wing Johnny Juzang to a two-way deal, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Following a 2019/20 freshman season with Kentucky, Juzang transferred to his hometown UCLA. While with the Bruins, the 6’6″ swingman was named Second-Team All-Pac-12 in 2021 and First-Team All-Pac 12 in 2022. For his contributions to UCLA’s NCAA Final Four run in 2021, Juzang was honored as an NCAA All-Tourney selection. The 21-year-old was also voted onto the All-American Third-Team during what wound up being his final collegiate season.

During his junior season, Juzang averaged 15.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.8 APG and 0.7 SPG through 30 games, including 29 starts. He posted a slash line of .432/.360/.835.

Utah went without a pick in this year’s draft.

Draft Notes: O’Neal, Eason, Lakers, Weathers, Nembhard, Mobley

LSU junior Shareef O’Neal is eligible to be selected in the draft, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The son of Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef O’Neal was mistakenly included in the list of withdrawals released by the league last week. He has upcoming team workouts, Charania adds.

We have more draft-related info:

  • Another LSU player, wing Tari Eason, has upcoming workouts scheduled with the Cavaliers, Grizzlies and Spurs, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. He has already worked out for a number of teams, including the Bulls, Thunder and Knicks. Eason is ranked No. 18 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • The Lakers hosted six prospects on Monday, including UCLA’s Johnny Juzang, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. That group also included Remy Martin (Kansas), Jermaine Samuels (Villanova), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Haowen Guo (Shanghai Sharks) and Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Louisiana Tech).
  • SMU’s Marcus Weathers worked out for the Spurs on Monday, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com tweets. Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard and USC’s Isaiah Mobley were also among the six prospects San Antonio hosted, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets. Nembhard, a point guard, projects as a potential first-rounder. He’s ranked No. 35 on ESPN’s list.

Northwest Notes: Taylor, Lore, A-Rod, Kroenke, Jazz

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has forged a sound working relationship with minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, proven by their successful recruitment of Denver’s Tim Connelly to head up their front office, The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski writes. Taylor, who allowed the duo to design an offer that would be very difficult for the Nuggets to match, enjoys the ambition and energy of Lore and A-Rod and has gained confidence in their ability to complete a major transaction.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The press conference involving Nuggets president/governor Josh Kroenke has been postponed after he recently tested positive for COVID-19. He is one of several members of the organization to test positive this week, according to the team. The press conference, scheduled for today, has been tentatively moved to Tuesday, according to the Denver Post’s Mike Singer (Twitter links).
  • What are the Jazz seeking to upgrade their roster? A long, rangy wing player who is solid offensively and can defend on the perimeter and switch 1-to-5, Tony Jones of The Athletic writes. However, those players are in high demand throughout the league, which makes the Jazz’s task of finding such a player quite difficult.
  • The Jazz’s draft workout on Thursday included R.J. Cole (UConn), Tyson Etienne (Wichita State), Johnny Juzang (UCLA), Jared Rhoden (Seton Hall), Akoldah Gak (Australia) and Trevion Williams (Purdue), Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. Williams (No. 50 on ESPN’s Best Available list) is the highest-rated among that group of second-round prospects.

Eastern Draft Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Nets, Knicks

Assuming Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, and Paolo Banchero are the top three picks in next month’s draft, the Pistons are expected to zero in on four potential targets at No. 5, sources tell James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Those players are Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Shaedon Sharpe, and Bennedict Mathurin.

All four prospects intrigue the Pistons, according to Edwards, who says that Murray is considered the most well-rounded of the four, while Sharpe is viewed as a “high-upside gamble.” Edwards adds that some sources believe Mathurin is the best wing in this year’s draft class, while there’s little consensus on Ivey, who is regarded as a top-three prospect by some evaluators and is outside the top five for others.

Here are a few more draft-related notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • James Akinjo (Baylor), Keon Ellis (Alabama), Justin Lewis (Marquette), and David Roddy (Colorado State) are participating in a pre-draft workout with the Pacers on Monday, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter links). Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard and UCLA’s Johnny Juzang had also been scheduled to take part, but were unable to make it due to weather-related travel issues.
  • Villanova’s Collin Gillespie has worked out for the Nets and has about 10 more pre-draft workouts on tap following the draft combine, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.
  • According to Zagoria (Twitter link), Michigan State’s Gabe Brown has workouts with the Hornets and Magic on tap this week after previously auditioning for the Celtics, Nets, and Knicks.
  • Marc Berman of The New York Post explores whether Malaki Branham could be a legitimate target at No. 11 for the Knicks, who met with the Ohio State sharpshooter at last week’s combine.

Northwest Notes: Forrest, Jazz Offseason, A-Rod, Wolves

Sarah Todd of The Deseret News wonders what’s next for Jazz guard Trent Forrest. The 23-year-old spent the past two seasons on a two-way deal with Utah after going undrafted out of Florida State, but his contract was converted to a standard deal on the last day of the regular season.

Although that technically made him eligible for the playoffs, Forrest was dealing with a left midfoot sprain, so the conversion was mostly ceremonial. The front office deferred to coach Quin Snyder‘s preference for the 15th roster spot, and Forrest was rewarded after earning the trust of Snyder, sources tell Todd.

As of last week, Forrest was still experiencing pain while rehabbing the injury and had yet to resume on-court work, but it’s not a long-term concern, Todd writes. Forrest will be a restricted free agent this summer if the team tenders him a qualifying offer worth just over $2MM.

Although he’s considered a strong defender, he knows he needs to work on his shot to have lasting success in the NBA.

This summer is going to be a lot of the same thing,” Forrest said. “I don’t need much pick-and-roll or things like that. A lot of (my work) is just gonna be a lot of left hand finishing and working on my shot.”

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • In a mailbag column about how the Jazz should approach their offseason, Tony Jones of The Athletic says he believes Utah should keep both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert and surround them with “bigger, longer, more athletic” players who are significantly better defensively. Juancho Hernangomez and Danuel House — two players who were on the verge of being out of the league — both made a big impact on the club due to their length, athleticism and competitive defense, and Jones thinks the Jazz need several more players in that mold. If he were part of the front office, he says he’d try to trade for a second-round pick in the draft and use the taxpayer mid-level exception (projected to be $6.4MM) to acquire players who meet that criteria. Utah does not own a pick at the moment.
  • After recent rumors that Timberwolves minority owner Alex Rodriguez might be interested in purchasing the Miami Marlins, his PR representative denied the claim. “Alex Rodriguez is 100 percent focused on owning the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx. Any report of him having interest in also buying the Miami Marlins or any other MLB team is entirely false,” said Ron Berkowitz of Berk Communications (via Twitter). A-Rod and co-owner Marc Lore are set to become majority shareholders of the Wolves in 2023/24.
  • Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News reports that the Timberwolves worked out several draft prospects on Thursday and Friday, including UCLA’s Johnny Juzang, Maryland’s Fatts Russell, Alabama’s Keon Ellis, North Carolina’s Kerwin Walton, and Richmond’s Jacob Gilyard (all Twitter links here).

Full List Of 2022 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 76 players who have been invited – and who are expected to attend – next week’s draft combine in Chicago. The combine workouts will take place from May 18-20.

Over the course of the week, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft likely won’t participate in scrimmages, those top prospects are still expected to attend. That group includes Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey.

A handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp could be invited to participate in the combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 76 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link):

  1. Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas (senior)
  2. Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee (freshman)
  3. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke (freshman)
  4. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  5. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  6. Hugo Besson, G, Australia (born 2001)
  7. Malaki Branham, G/F, Ohio State (freshman)
  8. Christian Braun, G, Kansas (junior)
  9. Kendall Brown, F, Baylor (freshman)
  10. John Butler Jr., F/C, Florida State (freshman)
  11. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (junior)
  12. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  13. Max Christie, G, Michigan State (freshman)
  14. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois (junior)
  15. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  16. Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin (sophomore)
  17. JD Davison, G, Alabama (freshman)
  18. Moussa Diabate, F, Michigan (freshman)
  19. Ousmane Dieng, F, Australia (born 2003)
  20. Khalifa Diop, C, Spain (born 2002)
  21. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (freshman)
  22. Tari Eason, F, LSU (sophomore)
  23. Keon Ellis, G, Alabama (senior)
  24. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  25. Collin Gillespie, G, Villanova (super-senior)
  26. AJ Griffin, F, Duke (freshman)
  27. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  28. Ron Harper Jr., F, Rutgers (senior)
  29. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (freshman)
  30. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford (freshman)
  31. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (sophomore)
  32. Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana (junior)
  33. Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia (born 2003)
  34. Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA (junior)
  35. Ismael Kamagate, C, France (born 2001)
  36. Trevor Keels, G, Duke (freshman)
  37. Walker Kessler, F/C, Auburn (sophomore)
  38. Christian Koloko, C, Arizona (junior)
  39. Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest (junior)
  40. Justin Lewis, F, Marquette (sophomore)
  41. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State (junior)
  42. Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona (sophomore)
  43. Matthew Mayer, F, Baylor (senior)
  44. Bryce McGowens, G, Nebraska (freshman)
  45. Leonard Miller, F, Canada (born 2003)
  46. Josh Minott, F, Memphis (freshman)
  47. Aminu Mohammed, G/F, Georgetown (freshman)
  48. Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State (junior)
  49. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  50. Wendell Moore, F, Duke (junior)
  51. Keegan Murray, F, Iowa (sophomore)
  52. Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
  53. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt (junior)
  54. Gabriele Procida, G/F, Italy (born 2002)
  55. Orlando Robinson, F/C, Fresno State (junior)
  56. David Roddy, F, Colorado State (junior)
  57. Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo (sophomore)
  58. Dereon Seabron, G, NC State (sophomore)
  59. Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  60. Jabari Smith, F, Auburn (freshman)
  61. Terquavion Smith, G, NC State (freshman)
  62. Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor (freshman)
  63. Matteo Spagnolo, G, Italy (born 2003)
  64. Julian Strawther, G/F, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  65. Dalen Terry, G, Arizona (sophomore)
  66. Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  67. Jabari Walker, F, Colorado (sophomore)
  68. TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. Peyton Watson, G/F, UCLA (freshman)
  70. Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame (freshman)
  71. Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest (super-senior)
  72. Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara (junior)
  73. Jaylin Williams, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  74. Mark Williams, C, Duke (sophomore)
  75. Trevion Williams, F/C, Purdue (senior)
  76. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)

Western Notes: Craig, Snyder, Kings, Pelicans

Torrey Craig missed the last two games of the Suns‘ series vs. Dallas due to a right elbow contusion, but said today that he’s ready to go for Game 5, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

Craig only played six total minutes in the first two games of the series and hasn’t logged more than 11 minutes in a single playoff contest to date, so his availability won’t have a major impact on the Suns’ rotation.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

Draft Decisions: Nembhard, Tshiebwe, Juzang, Etienne, Procida

Gonzaga senior point guard Andrew Nembhard is entering the 2022 NBA draft and forgoing his final year of college eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Nembhard is ranked No. 50 overall on ESPN’s top-100 prospect list and is considered a probable second-round pick.

As Givony details, Nembhard has good size (6’5″) for a point guard and improved his outside shot over the course of his four years with the Zags. The 22-year-old told ESPN that he’d love to be a first-round pick, but his top priority would be to land in a spot where he can have a role and make an impact.

“Initially I can bring backup point guard minutes to a team. A player like Tyus Jones — I can emulate his role, bring a high assist-to-turnover ratio, get guys open shots, hit open threes and understand the game,” Nembhard said. “I can see myself in a similar role. I can give a team a different look off the bench, pushing the pace in transition, getting guys open shots. With the way the NBA spacing is, that’s only going to help me.”

Here are more of the latest updates on this year’s draft pool:

  • Kentucky junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe, who has been the No. 44 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list, has opted to stick with the Wildcats rather than entering the draft, he announced on Sportscenter on Wednesday (Twitter link via Givony). Tshiebwe, the consensus National Player of the Year and the NCAA’s leading rebounder (15.2 RPG), has been a major beneficiary of players’ NIL rights — a source tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) that the 22-year-old will likely earn about $2MM this season through NIL.
  • UCLA junior guard Johnny Juzang, the No. 80 prospect on ESPN’s big board, has entered the draft and sounds prepared to go pro, announcing his decision on Instagram. After beginning his college career with Kentucky, Juzang transferred to UCLA in 2020 and averaged 15.8 PPG on .436/.356/.854 shooting in 57 games (32.1 MPG) across two seasons for the Bruins.
  • Wichita State junior guard Tyson Etienne is entering the draft and forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, he tells Givony (Twitter link). After being named the AAC Player of the Year in 2021, Etienne saw his production dip a little in 2021/22, as he averaged 14.9 PPG on .359/.326/.768 shooting in 27 games (34.3 MPG).
  • Italian wing Gabriele Procida has entered the 2022 draft, his agency Sigma Sports announced (via Twitter). The No. 53 prospect on ESPN’s board, Procida has averaged 7.1 PPG and 3.1 RPG on .533/.411/.800 shooting for Fortitudo Bologna in Italian League play this season at age 19.
  • Two more international prospects – French guard Matthew Strazel and Italian center Leonardo Okeke – have declared for the draft. Strazel’s decision was announced by agent Olivier Mazet (Twitter link), while Orazio Cauchi of BasketNews.com (Twitter link) relayed the news on Okeke.

Draft Notes: Juzang, Abmas, Last-Minute Decisions

After leading UCLA to the Final Four, Johnny Juzang will withdraw from the NBA draft and return for his junior season. Juzang announced his decision on Twitter about an hour before the NCAA’s Wednesday deadline of midnight Eastern Time for early entrants to pull out of the draft and retain their eligibility.

“Going through the draft process has been an amazing experience,” he wrote. “I was blessed to connect with great people, learn and grow, and get a feel for life at the next level. I want to thank everyone who has helped me in this process including my family, trainers, school and especially my dad who helped me for countless hours!”

There was talk that Juzang might be a first-round pick after an outstanding performance in the NCAA tournament, but a disappointing showing at the combine hurt his status, according to Chad Ford (Twitter link), who speculates that he could be back in first-round consideration next year.

There’s more on last-minute draft decisions:

Hollinger’s Latest: Draft, Wiseman, Siakam, Trent, Combine

Sources who have spoken to John Hollinger of The Athletic are skeptical that the Pistons, Rockets, or Cavaliers will trade out of the top three spots in the draft.

As Hollinger notes, there are a lot of teams that figure to have interest in moving up in the draft, including several holding multiple first-round picks, such as the Magic, Thunder, and Knicks. However, it’s more difficult to find teams that will give serious consideration to moving down. Any trade up may require a substantial overpay, Hollinger adds.

Here are a few more tidbits from Hollinger following his time at the pre-draft combine in Chicago: