Kenny Wooten

Knicks Signing Kenny Wooten To Exhibit 10 Contract

Kenny Wooten, a shot-blocking power forward out of Oregon, will join the Knicks for training camp on an Exhibit 10 deal, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Wooten made an impression with New York’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer League, even though he saw minimal playing time. He averaged just 1.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in four games, but blocked 2.5 shots per night, including five in 16 minutes in a win over Washington in the consolation round.

Wooten will have trouble earning a roster spot in camp because the Knicks already have 15 players with guaranteed contracts. However, the Exhibit 10 deal will guarantee him $50K if he spends 60 days with the organization’s G League affiliate in Westchester. A roster opening could emerge by then, as Berman notes that several of the free agents whom the Knicks signed to de facto one-year contracts could be used as trade bait.

Wooten ranks third in all-time blocks at Oregon, and his agent, Mitchell Butler, claims he is one of the five best athletes coming out of college. The Knicks likely would have drafted Wooten at No. 55, Berman adds, if they hadn’t traded up to get Ignas Brazdeikis.

“The club is positive on Kenny,’’ Butler said. “His Summer League games resonated with the organization. Mitchell Robinson is good on the defensive end and to have Kenny coming in with no drop-off, that’s a big thing. Both of those guys on the floor, they literally shut off the inside and make teams shoot from the perimeter.’’

Butler claims several teams expressed interest in Wooten, but he picked the Knicks because of coach David Fizdale.

“[Fizdale] always appreciated guys who did the little things and comes from organizations like Miami and Memphis that appreciated glue-type guys,’’ Butler said. “I wanted to get him to a coach like that where he‘d have chance at the next level.’’

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).

Southeast Draft Notes: Hornets, Heat, Magic, Hawks

The Hornets have looked into the possibility of moving up in the draft from their current spot in the lottery at No. 12, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bonnell acknowledges that it may be difficult for Charlotte to put together the sort of trade capital necessary to make a deal happen, but says GM Mitch Kupchak is active.

Meanwhile, the Hornets will continue to explore their draft options by bringing in six more prospects for workouts tomorrow, according to the team. Marques Bolden (Duke), Tacko Fall (UCF), Jaylen Hoard (Wake Forest), Jalen Hudson (Florida), and Luka Asceric (Mega Bemax) are among the players set to participate.

Here are a few more draft-related items from around the Southeast:

Jazz Notes: Workouts, Reed, G League, Free Agency

The Jazz will hold two workout sessions for draft prospects on Saturday, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. The first group will include guards Frankie Ferrari (San Francisco), Makai Mason (Baylor), wings Rayjon Tucker (Arkansas Little-Rock) and Vic Law (Northwestern) and big men Darel Poirier (France) and Kenny Wooten (Oregon).

The afternoon session will include guards Jeremiah Martin (Memphis) and Jordan Bone (Tennessee), wings Charlie Brown (St. Joseph) and Paul Eboua (Cameroon) and big men Luka Samanic (Croatia) and Daniel Gafford (Arkansas).

Utah possesses the No. 23 and 53 picks in this year’s draft.

We have more on the Jazz:

  • Center Willie Reed, who played for the team’s G League franchise in Salt Lake City last season, was among 30 free agent invitees to participate in the team’s annual mini-camp this week, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News reports. Reed averaged 20.1 PPG and 11.2 RPG before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in January. Reed, 29, has played for four other franchises and appeared in 152 NBA games.
  • Farmington City is lobbying the Jazz to relocate its G League team to Station Park once the Stars’ lease with Salt Lake Community College expires, Patrick Carr of the Standard-Examiner reports. The construction of a 5,000-seat, multi-use arena is part of the pitch, Carr adds.
  • Darren Collison, Patrick Beverley, Danny Green, Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Bullock are some of the middle-tier free agents the Jazz might pursue, Walden writes.
  • The Jazz brought in six guard/wing prospects on Tuesday, the team’s PR department tweets. That group included Terence Davis (Ole Miss), Aubrey Dawkins (UCF), Robert Franks (Washington State), Ahmed Hill (Virginia Tech), Eric Paschall (Villanova) and Jordan Varnado (Troy).

Draft Notes: Brazdeikis, Pistons, Pacers, Dort, Wooten

University of Michigan freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis is strongly leaning toward staying the draft, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. “Definitely leaning toward staying in,” he said while working out for the Pistons on Monday. Brazdeikis’ representatives have told him he’ll go anywhere from No. 20-40 in the draft, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony currently pegs the power forward at No. 46 overall.

We have more developments regarding draft prospects:

NBA Announces 80 Players For G League Elite Camp

The NBA has announced in a press release that 80 players are set to participate in its G League Elite Camp next week in Chicago from May 12-14. The event will include 40 prospects who are eligible for this year’s draft, as well as 40 standout prospects from the 2018/19 G League season.

Heading into this spring, the NBA revamped its G League Elite Camp, which in past years has simply showcased some of the NBAGL’s top performers.  That aspect of the event will still exist, but G League players will only participate in the first two days of the event.

The second half of the event will feature 40 draft-eligible prospects who aren’t among the 60 prospects invited to the actual draft combine. The list of participants was determined by an NBA team vote, and those prospects will work out and scrimmage during the final two days of the event — there will be no overlap with the G League portion of the event.

As this week’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating l in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which takes place from May 15-19 in Chicago.

Here are the list of draft-eligible prospects who are expected to participate in the 2019 G League Elite Mini Camp, per the NBA:

  1. Tyus Battle (Syracuse)
  2. Bennie Boatwright (USC)
  3. Phil Booth (Villanova)
  4. Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
  5. Bryce Brown (Auburn)
  6. Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State)
  7. Chris Clemons (Campbell)
  8. Amir Coffey (Minnesota)
  9. Tyler Cook (Iowa)
  10. Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
  11. Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida)
  12. Javin DeLaurier (Duke)
  13. Mamadi Diakite (Virginia)
  14. CJ Elleby (Washington State)
  15. Tacko Fall (UCF)
  16. Robert Franks (Washington State)
  17. Jared Harper (Auburn)
  18. Ethan Happ (Wisconsin)
  19. Dewan Hernandez (Miami)
  20. Amir Hinton (Shaw (NC))
  21. DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa)
  22. Sagaba Konate (West Virginia)
  23. Matur Maker (Mississauga Prep (Canada))
  24. Terance Mann (Florida State)
  25. Caleb Martin (Nevada)
  26. Cody Martin (Nevada)
  27. Luke Maye (North Carolina)
  28. Trey Mourning (Georgetown)
  29. Andrew Nembhard (Florida)
  30. James Palmer Jr. (Nebraska)
  31. Josh Perkins (Gonzaga)
  32. Reggie Perry (Mississippi State)
  33. Jalen Pickett (Siena)
  34. Myles Powell (Seton Hall)
  35. Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech)
  36. Marial Shayok (Iowa State)
  37. Max Strus (DePaul)
  38. Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State)
  39. Kenny Wooten (Oregon)
  40. Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra)

Here are the 40 G League players set to participate in the G League Elite Camp:

  1. Josh Adams (Raptors 905)
  2. Jaylen Barford (Greensboro Swarm)
  3. Amida Brimah (Austin Spurs)
  4. Jared Brownridge (Delaware Blue Coats)
  5. Antonius Cleveland (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  6. Charles Cooke (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  7. Cody Demps (Stockton Kings)
  8. Aaron Epps (Northern Arizona Suns)
  9. Abdul Gaddy (Oklahoma City Blue)
  10. John Gillon (Greensboro Swarm)
  11. Kaiser Gates (Windy City Bulls)
  12. Isaac Haas (Salt Lake City Stars)
  13. Johnny Hamilton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  14. Dusty Hannahs (Memphis Hustle)
  15. Zak Irvin (Westchester Knicks)
  16. Peter Jok (Northern Arizona Suns)
  17. Matt Jones (Stockton Kings)
  18. Marcus Lee (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  19. Zach Lofton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  20. Tahjere McCall (Long Island Nets)
  21. Brandon McCoy (Wisconsin Herd)
  22. MiKyle McIntosh (Raptors 905)
  23. Jordan McLaughlin (Long Island Nets)
  24. Jaylen Morris (Erie BayHawks)
  25. Mychal Mulder (Windy City Bulls)
  26. Malik Newman (Canton Charge)
  27. Retin Obasohan (Northern Arizona Suns)
  28. Chinanu Onuaku (Greensboro Swarm)
  29. Norvel Pelle (Delaware Blue Coats)
  30. Darel Poirier (Capital City Go-Go)
  31. Billy Preston (Texas Legends)
  32. Desi Rodriguez (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario)
  33. Kenneth Smith (Grand Rapids Drive)
  34. Richard Solomon (Oklahoma City Blue)
  35. Emanuel Terry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  36. Juan Toscano-Anderson (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  37. Dakarai Tucker (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  38. Andrew White III (Maine Red Claws)
  39. Thomas Wimbush (Long Island Nets)
  40. Todd Withers (Grand Rapids Drive)

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:

NBA Scouts Discuss NCAA Tournament Prospects

Central Florida’s Tacko Fall stepped into the national spotlight with Sunday’s game against Duke, but he may not have improved his draft status, relays Sam Amick of The Athletic. Amick talked to three unidentified NBA scouts about their impressions after the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament and found opinions have changed on a lot of players, but not necessarily on Fall.

“I don’t think (it helped his cause), on the whole,” one scout said of the 7’6″ center, who had 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks against the Blue Devils before fouling out. “I think most scouts, most teams, are going to evaluate him based on (what came before). … Now if you liked Tacko Fall before the game against Duke, then you’ll probably like him a little bit more maybe. And if you didn’t, then I don’t think it’s going to sway you one way or another. He’s so unique that I think he’ll get a chance in some capacity. I don’t know if he gets drafted in the second round, or whatever it is, but I do think he gets a chance.”

The scouts’ consensus is that Murray State point guard Ja Morant has helped himself with his March performances and would likely be the second player taken if the draft were today. He held up well against larger schools and has been consistently good from game to game.

Duke’s Cam Reddish may have fallen the most, not only because of his March Madness games, but his output throughout the year. Once projected as a possible No. 3 pick, Reddish may be slipping out of the top five. “Even when Zion (Williamson) was out, he had opportunities where he could really take a step forward and take advantage of the opportunity,” one scout said. “And he did on a couple of games, but it wasn’t as consistent as you’d like him to be. He’s a tough one, man.”

Here are a few more takes from the scouts on prominent players:

  • Duke forward R.J. Barrett “Yeah, I do think Barrett has the third spot. … I do think Barrett, the fact that he competes (is good). He’s got a little more, to me, obvious flaws in terms of shot selection. Obviously he has some tendencies, in terms of being all left and dominant where he’s going to have to get the right hand at the next level to be as good as he can be. The one thing about Barrett is that he competes and he gets after it and he wants to win, but there are moments when he falls asleep.”
  • Oregon forward Kenny Wooten — People know about (Wooten), but this is the time where owners start watching and other people — even GMs who don’t get a chance (to see them) — they start seeing these guys and (the prospects) start to jump off the page because they have a good game or they play well.”
  • North Carolina forward Nassir Little“There are still question marks with his game, but it was the Washington game where he made a three and he was efficient, right? And he was efficient for multiple games. He didn’t have any assists or anything like that, but there are some signs there where if you want to find a reason to like Nas. I think you can go look at those two games and say, ‘Oh, ok.’ This guy is doing well.”
  • Michigan guard Jordan Poole“He’s a good player, man. He knows how to play. He’s skilled. I think (an NBA team) could work on his efficiency. If he continues to play well, I think he could help himself throughout the rest of the tournament as well and be one of those guys who’s a late riser.”