Kaleb Wesson

LaMelo Ball Headlines List Of Draft Combine Participants

Potential No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball will be among the prospects participating in the revamped virtual draft combine this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ball is scheduled to take part in team interviews and a media session this week, but may not participate in any other portion, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cautions (via Twitter).

While Ball’s participation might be limited, many of this year’s other top prospects aren’t taking part in the event at all. As Woo points out (via Twitter), Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Cole Anthony, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, and Saddiq Bey are among the players who don’t appear on the list of participants sent out by the NBA.

The list of top prospects besides Ball who will be participating in the event includes Precious Achiuwa, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon, and Isaac Okoro, among others.

Here’s the full list of combine participants, via Charania:

  1. Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
  2. Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
  3. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
  4. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
  5. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
  6. Desmond Bane, G, TCU
  7. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
  8. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
  9. Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
  10. Mamadi Diakite, F, Virginia
  11. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
  12. Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro (Italy)
  13. CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
  14. Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
  15. Trent Forrest, G, Florida State
  16. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona
  17. Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky
  18. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
  19. Josh Hall, F, Moravian Prep
  20. RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
  21. Jalen Harris, G, Nevada
  22. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
  23. Markus Howard, G, Marquette
  24. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse
  25. Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
  26. Mason Jones, G, Arkansas
  27. Tre Jones, G, Duke
  28. Nathan Knight, F/C, William & Mary
  29. Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
  30. Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)
  31. Karim Mane, G, Vanier College (Canada)
  32. Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
  33. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier
  34. Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
  35. Skylar Mays, G, LSU
  36. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
  37. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
  38. Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
  39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
  40. Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
  41. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
  42. Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
  43. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall
  44. Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
  45. Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
  46. Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
  47. Paul Reed, F, DePaul
  48. Nick Richards, F/C, Kentucky
  49. Grant Riller, G, Charleston
  50. Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College
  51. Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
  52. Cassius Stanley, G, Duke
  53. Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
  54. Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
  55. Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
  56. Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State
  57. Kaleb Wesson, F/C, Ohio State
  58. Kahlil Whitney, F, Kentucky
  59. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
  60. Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is unable to hold its typical in-person draft combine this year, but the league has put together an alternative combine that will feature interviews through videoconferencing as well as the making of “pro day” videos, which will include strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, and shooting drills. Participants will also undergo medical testing and exams.

For more details on this year’s combine, be sure to check out our full story on the changes.

Draft Notes: Bailey, Tucker, Wesson, Kalaitzakis

Marquette forward Brendan Bailey has decided to remain in the draft, the university announced in a press release. Coach Steve Wojciechowski delivered the news about Bailey, who entered the draft pool in April.

A sophomore, Bailey played 64 games in two seasons for the Golden Eagles, averaging 5.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per night. The 22-year-old did a two-year Mormon mission after high school and didn’t join the team until the 2018/19 season.

“After counseling with my family, I have decided to forgo my junior and senior years and pursue a career in professional basketball,” Bailey added. “This has always been a dream of mine and Marquette has helped prepare me to make this dream a reality.  Thank you Marquette, you will always have a special place in my heart.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Butler’s Jordan Tucker has also opted to remain in the draft, announcing his decision on Twitter. The junior forward averaged 8.9 PPG and 3.8 RPG this season. “Playing in the NBA has always been my dream,” Tucker wrote. “… This is a difficult decision, but it’s the one I want to make to be completely focused on my professional goals over the next few months.”
  • Ohio State early entrant Kaleb Wesson has signed with Jelani Floyd of Beyond Athlete Management, tweets Jeff Goodman of GoodmanHoops. Floyd isn’t certified by the NCAA, so it appears Wesson has decided to give up his remaining year of eligibility.
  • Greek guard Georgios Kalaitzakis entered the draft last month, but Panathinaikos is interested in keeping him for another season, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Kalaitzakis, 21, said he wants to go to a situation where he will get playing time.

Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson Entering 2020 Draft

Ohio State forward/center Kaleb Wesson will test the 2020 NBA draft process, his father Keith Wesson confirmed to Adam Jardy of The Columbus Dispatch. However, as the elder Wesson explained, the possibility of returning to the Buckeyes for another year certainly isn’t out of the question for the junior standout.

“He’ll definitely test the waters, but he’s going to maintain his eligibility based upon information because it’s just so unknown,” Keith said, referring to a pre-draft process that will be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. “There may not be any opportunities to increase your value from the standpoint of workouts and combines and really solidify your position.”

Kaleb, who lost weight and improved his conditioning prior to his junior year, averaged 14.0 PPG and 9.3 RPG in 31 games (29.5 MPG). He also showed off a significantly improved three-point shot, knocking down 42.5% of 3.4 attempts per game.

After testing the draft waters a year ago and withdrawing, Wesson is a stronger candidate to be selected this time around, coming in at No. 54 on ESPN’s big board. However, the uncertainty surrounding the process makes it more likely that he’ll decide to play for Ohio State for one more year.

“Oh, yeah, it definitely increases the chances of coming back,” his father told Jardy. “Nobody knows anything. We’ve talked to several different agents through the process of interviewing and literally none of them know anything. They say the draft is going to be moved back. They don’t know when or if combines or workouts are going to happen or even if the combine will happen.”

More Draft Decisions: Claxton, Bassey, Nowell, More

Draft decisions by this year’s early entrants continue to flood in as the NCAA’s May 29 withdrawal deadline nears. After relaying those decisions in a pair of posts already today, we’ve got more in the space below:

  • Georgia sophomore forward Nicolas Claxton will keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that Claxton is a potential first-round pick.
  • According to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter), Western Kentucky freshman center Charles Bassey will stay in the 2019 draft pool, barring a last-second change of heart. Bassey is the No. 80 prospect on Givony’s big board at ESPN.com.
  • Washington sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell is another early entrant who has decided to forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility and stay in the draft, Goodman tweets. Nowell comes in at No. 92 on Givony’s big board.
  • Kentucky’s Nick Richards, a sophomore forward, will return to the Wildcats for at least one more season, he announced today in a video on Instagram.
  • South Carolina will get guard A.J. Lawson back for his sophomore year, as he announced today (via Twitter) that he’s withdrawing his name from the draft.
  • Bethune-Cookman head coach Ryan Ridder has informed Goodman (Twitter link) that both of his early entrants, Malik Maitland and Cletrell Pope, are heading back to school for another year.
  • Ohio State forward Kaleb Wesson is pulling out of the draft to return to the Buckeyes for his junior season, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.
  • Bowling Green guard Justin Turner is heading back to school for his junior season, per Rothstein (via Twitter).
  • Weber State guard Jerrick Harding will withdraw from the draft and return to school for his senior season, he announced today (via Twitter).
  • Hampton junior guard Jermaine Marrow is withdrawing from the draft and retaining his NCAA eligibility, coach Buck Joyner tells Goodman (Twitter link).

Southeast Notes: Kemba, Beal, Heat, Hawks

Kemba Walker‘s free agency will be a fascinating situation to watch this offseason, since it’s hard to determine what the best-case scenario is for the Hornets, writes Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report. Re-signing Walker to a maximum salary contract would limit Charlotte’s ability to acquire help around him, but one scout thinks the Hornets would “be like an expansion team” without him, per Weitzman.

Complicating matters further? Walker will become eligible for a super-max contract, worth an extra $30MM+ over five years, if he earns a spot on this year’s All-NBA teams, which is a distinct possibility. Only the Hornets could offer him that super-max, but doing so would mean paying the point guard an average of $44MM annually through 2023/24.

“It’d be like the John Wall deal,” one front office source told Weitzman. “They should have traded him last year, when his value was high. They could have just reset.”

With lucrative deals for Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all set to come off the Hornets’ books in 2020, the team wouldn’t necessarily be mired in salary-cap hell for years if it re-signs Walker. Still, there’d be no obvious way to add a capable No. 2 option behind the point guard anytime soon.

“The surrounding pieces aren’t so bad,” another front office source said to Weitzman. “They just need another guy in there so they can all slide down a role.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

Jaxson Hayes Declares For 2019 NBA Draft

Texas freshman forward/center Jaxson Hayes has entered the 2019 NBA draft and is hiring an agent, the school announced on Thursday morning in a press release.

While Hayes could technically withdraw from the draft by May 29 even after signing with an agent, he appears ready to go pro. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year currently projects as a lottery pick, with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony ranking him as 2019’s No. 9 prospect.

In his first – and likely only – season as a Longhorn, Hayes averaged 10.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and an impressive 2.2 BPG in 32 games (23.3 MPG). He wasn’t a huge factor for Texas’ offense, but didn’t miss often when he did shoot, recording a .728 FG%.

In his scouting report on Hayes, Givony notes that the big man is still “fairly raw in a lot of areas” and isn’t a great defensive rebounder. However, Givony adds that Hayes has major upside and an “excellent physical profile.” Because the youngster began playing basketball late, his trajectory gives him plenty of potential for long-term growth, Givony writes.

Hayes joins an ever-growing list of early entrants for the 2019 NBA draft. Here are a few more prospects who have recently declared for the draft: