Jules Bernard

Draft Notes: Holmgren, J. Smith, NBA Academy, Hornets

Chet Holmgren may not wind up joining Jalen Suggs with the Magic, but he’s been getting draft advice from his long-time friend and high school teammate, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Before both players headed to Gonzaga for one-year stays, they teamed up at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.

“He said try to slow things down as fast as you can because everyone at that level plays slow, even when there’s seven seconds on the shot clock, nobody rushes,” Holmgren said. “Everyone knows seven seconds is a lot of time — in the NBA, you can get almost two more actions in that [time]. Other pointers, tips like that, about the NBA style of play.”

Holmgren met with Orlando’s front office this week and will be under consideration for the No. 1 pick, although most draft experts expect Auburn’s Jabari Smith to be taken first.

There’s more on the draft:

  • Ryan Blake, who has been helping to direct NBA scouting services since 1996, views Smith as worthy of the No. 1 selection, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Blake believes Smith will display skills that were inhibited by the more restricted college atmosphere. “His offensive game is going to be so much better in the NBA,” Blake said. “He had the confidence and maturity to play within the system at Auburn. You have a prototypical forward who can play two spots that can really almost be a Jayson Tatum-type of player. He has a great shooting stroke — the release [and] the soft touch. He’s a versatile defender. He’s intense. He’s moving his feet. He’s always looking around. He’s also a leader, too. He’s always in the mix.”
  • Josh Giddey was the first NBA Academy graduate to be drafted and three more players are expected to join him this year, Maurice Brooks writes for NBA.com. Dyson Daniels and Bennedict Mathurin will likely be lottery picks, while Hyunjung Lee is projected to be taken in the second round. The NBA Academy was created in 2016 to provide more opportunities for international players.
  • Six players will attend a workout for the Hornets today, the team announced on Twitter. They are Jules Bernard of UCLA, Nysier Brooks of Mississippi, Terrell Brown Jr. of Washington, Josh Carlton of Houston, Dereon Seabron of North Carolina State and Ben Shungu of Vermont.

Southeast Draft Notes: Wizards, Magic, Hawks, Hornets

The Wizards have six draft prospects visiting on Tuesday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. They’ll evaluate Jules Bernard (UCLA), Theo John (Duke), Davion Mintz (Kentucky), Alex O’Connell (Creighton), Nate Roberts (Washington) and Au’Diese Toney (Arkansas).

We have more draft-related news involving Southeast Division clubs:

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Magic, Wizards

The Hornets hosted a pre-draft workout with six prospects on Monday, the team tweets. That group included Keon Ellis (Alabama), Michael Foster Jr. (G League Ignite), Kellan Grady (Kentucky), Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers), Brandon Horvath (Utah State) and Žiga Samar (Fuenlabrada/Spain).

We have more from the Southeast Division:

Draft Decisions: Timme, Sasser, Quinones, Bernard, More

Big man Drew Timme, ranked No. 63 on ESPN’s big board, has withdrawn from the 2022 NBA draft and will return to Gonzaga for his senior season, he announced via Twitter.

Timme was the 2021/22 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and a two-time All-American for the Bulldogs, but he struggled defensively and needs to “modernize his game” by adding a three-point shot and improving on the boards, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Houston guard Marcus Sasser also announced (on Twitter) that he’s withdrawing from the draft and returning to the Cougars for his senior season. He’s No. 70 on ESPN’s board, so he was considered a fringe second-round pick, but shot an impressive 43.7% from deep (on 8.6 attempts) while averaging 17.7 PPG and 2.2 SPG in ’21/22.

Meanwhile, Memphis junior Lester Quinones will stay in the draft and turn pro, a source tells Steven Johnson of The Daily Memphian. Johnson writes that Quinones has impressed teams in workouts and could become a second-rounder despite being unranked by ESPN.

UCLA’s Jules Bernard will forgo his extra year of eligibility and stay in the draft, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Bernard worked out for the Lakers earlier today, and Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group reports (via Twitter) that the swingman had a solid performance.

Here are a handful of other early entrants withdrawing from the draft, with the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline about to strike:

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Green, Lakers, Kings

Speaking to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Warriors owner Joe Lacob referenced a division rival when he discussed his long-term goals for the franchise.

“We are very goal-oriented,” Lacob said. “Our goal right now is to sustain being really good for a long time. I look at Jerry Buss and the Lakers, and how he owned the team for 33 years and made 16 Finals. That’s just an astonishing achievement, an incredible owner.

“Whether we can sustain that over such a long period of time, like Jerry Buss did – the Celtics certainly had great history but it was a little bit of a different time – I don’t know. But we’re going to try. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

The Warriors are back in the NBA Finals this year for the sixth time in the last eight seasons, and are seeking their fourth championship during that time.

  • Even though he only appeared in 46 of 82 possible regular season games this season, Warriors forward Draymond Green views it as a “slight” that he didn’t make the All-Defensive First Team, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. “When I look at the First Team, I am not sure I can pinpoint, definitely not five guys that had a better defensive season than me,” Green said. “And there are no (games-played) requirements. There is not some amount that you have to play in. If there was an amount that you had to play, then I would be an idiot sitting here and saying that.”
  • The Lakers are working out six prospects today, bringing in R.J. Cole (UConn), Jules Bernard (UCLA), Kur Kuath (Marquette), Jaden Shackelford (Alabama), Zyon Pullin (UC-Riverside), and David McCormack (Kansas) for a pre-draft audition, tweets Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. Pullin is reportedly expected to remove his name from the draft pool before tonight’s NCAA withdrawal deadline.
  • Houston’s Fabian White Jr. was among the prospects to work out for the Kings on Tuesday, per Sean Cunningham of FOX40 News (Twitter link).

44 Prospects Announced For 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp

The NBA G League has formally announced its field of 44 draft prospects for the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp.

The event, which will take place May 16 and 17 in Chicago, “gives draft prospects an opportunity to display their skills in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives over the course of the camp by playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills.”

The top performers from the camp will be invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which will take place from May 18-22 in Chicago. Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers wing Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

Here’s the list of 44 draft-eligible attendees:

The list of attendees features 13 players on ESPN’s big board, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via Twitter), so some players have a chance to be drafted.

The top-ranked prospect at the camp is Scheierman (No. 69), who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals on .508/.469/.802 shooting this season for South Dakota State (35 games, 33.3 minutes per contest).

Draft Notes: Cockburn, Bernard, McCormack, Green, Gibson

Illinois junior center Kofi Cockburn is once again entering his name in the NBA draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Because he previously tested the draft waters in 2020 and 2021, Cockburn won’t be permitted to withdraw from the draft this time around, so he’ll forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility.

“I’m 100% in now,” Cockburn told ESPN. “I’m not going back to college. I’m signing with agent Todd Ramasar. I’ve tested the waters enough, I’m 100% dedicated to going all the way.”

The No. 89 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list, Cockburn was a consensus first-team All-American and was the only college player to average 20+ points and 10+ rebounds per game in 2021/22, says Givony.

The 22-year-old put up 20.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 1.0 BPG in 28 appearances (30.7 MPG) for the Fighting Illini, but acknowledges that he’ll have to tweak his college game – which was heavy on back-to-the-basket, low-post scoring – to succeed in the NBA.

“The NBA values players like Steven Adams and Jonas Valanciunas — guys who set great screens, who know the pick and roll game, how to slip and seal, how to be a physical defender and rebounder who blocks shots,” Cockburn said. “My size can be a major advantage in the NBA. I don’t need the ball to be happy.”

Here are a few more updates on early entrants declaring for the 2022 NBA draft:

  • UCLA senior wing Jules Bernard will go through the draft process while maintaining his college eligibility, he announced on Instagram. Bernard, the Bruins’ third-leading scorer with 12.8 PPG in 2021/22, joins teammate Peyton Watson among UCLA players in the draft pool.
  • Kansas senior power forward David McCormack is entering the 2022 draft and appears prepared to go pro, forging his final year of NCAA eligibility, he announced on Instagram. After earning Big 12 Most Improved Player honors in 2021, McCormack had another strong season for the eventual champs, averaging 10.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 40 games (21.9 MPG).
  • Northern Iowa junior guard AJ Green has decided to enter the draft while maintaining his college eligibility and entering the transfer portal, he announced on Twitter. The two-time Player of the Year in the Missouri Valley Conference has averaged 19.4 PPG with a .390 3PT% in 65 contests (35.7 MPG) since the start of the 2019/20 season.
  • Oklahoma senior guard Umoja Gibson will test the draft waters, he announced on Twitter. Gibson, who has spent the last two years at Oklahoma after transferring from North Texas, averaged 13.3 PPG on .435/.390/.871 shooting in 35 games (32.1 MPG) in his senior year.