Jordan Nesbitt

Terquavion Smith Among Latest Early Entrants Declaring For Draft

NC State freshman guard Terquavion Smith is entering the 2022 NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Smith, who currently ranks No. 39 on ESPN’s big board of 2022 prospects, said he’ll make a final decision after getting feedback on his draft stock.

“I will be working out for teams and seeing how high I can get in the draft,” Smith told ESPN. “I’m signing with a NCAA certified agent to maintain my eligibility. I want to be taken with a high pick — top 20. I want to be able to contribute effectively to an NBA team.”

In his first college season, Smith started 25 of 32 games and averaged 16.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 2.1 APG. The 19-year-old, who made 36.9% of 8.1 three-pointers per game as a freshman, told Givony he models his game after NBA players like Jordan Poole, De’Aaron Fox, and Anfernee Simons“guys who are electric off the bounce, who can create their own shot and shoot the ball.”

Here are several more updates on the 2022 draft pool:

  • UCLA freshman wing Peyton Watson is entering the draft and forgoing his remaining college eligibility, he announced on Twitter. Watson didn’t play much for the Bruins, logging just 12.7 MPG in 32 appearances off the bench, but he’s the No. 61 prospect on ESPN’s board.
  • German point guard Justus Hollatz, who tested the draft waters a year ago, will enter the draft pool again this year, according to agent Misko Raznatovic (Twitter link). Hollatz is currently a member of the Hamburg Towers in Germany.
  • Kentucky junior forward Jacob Toppin is testing the draft waters, according to an announcement from the school. Toppin averaged a modest 6.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 29 games (17.7 MPG) for the Wildcats in 2021/22.
  • Providence senior shooting guard A.J. Reeves is entering the 2022 draft and going pro, he announced on his Instagram account. Reeves has played in 107 games (88 starts) for the Friars over the course of his four years in the program.
  • After initially declaring for the 2022 draft last month, Saint Louis sophomore guard Jordan Nesbitt will withdraw and transfer, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

Draft Notes: Hardy, Minott, Nesbitt, Benitez

In an appearance on the Posted Up podcast with Chris Haynes, G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy sounded confident that he should be a top pick in the 2022 NBA draft (Twitter link via Yahoo Sports).

I feel like I’m the best player in this draft, if you ask me. Playing in the NBA G League, I mean it’s the second-best league in the world. I’ve played against people that are playing in the NBA right now, like Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga. Like those guys are on the Warriors getting good minutes and they were just playing against me. So I’m playing against NBA talent,” Hardy said.

The 6’4″ guard is currently No. 26 on ESPN’s best available players list, but Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has him No. 13 on his latest Big Board.

Here are some more draft-related notes:

  • Freshman forward Josh Minott is entering the draft and will initially keep his college eligibility, but he has no intention of returning to Memphis, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Minott is No. 54 on ESPN’s best available list, but he hopes to move up draft boards in June. “I plan to be like Josh Primo [a surprise No. 12 pick in the 2021 draft] coming out of the woodwork this spring,” Minott said. “I will listen to the NBA’s feedback. If they feel I’m a first-round talent and want to invest in me, that would be the best situation.” John Hollinger of The Athletic likes Minott as a sleeper, as we previously relayed.
  • Jordan Nesbitt of Saint Louis has declared for the draft (via Twitter). The 6’6″ guard averaged 8.2 points and 4.3 rebounds on .391/.337/.692 shooting as a sophomore for the Billikens. Based on the wording of his announcement, it sounds like he plans to forgo his remaining eligibility.
  • French point guard Hugo Benitez will also declare for the draft, his agent Herman Manakyan told ESPN’s Givony (Twitter link). Benitez, who turned 21 in January, is averaging 7.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals on .509/.395/.875 shooting for JL Bourg of the LNB Pro A league. Givony states that Benitez is a good defensive player who displays intelligence and maturity in pick-and-rolls.