Kerwin Walton

Draft Notes: Sochan, Murray, Daniels, Walton, Mayer

Jeremy Sochan doesn’t mind being thought of as irritating, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic. The Baylor forward, who has gone from a fringe first-rounder to a likely lottery pick in a matter of months, sees aggressive, annoying defense as his ticket to success in the NBA.

“I’ve always had that little edge,” he said. “My mom, she was my first coach, and to this day, she tells me defense comes first. … She used to tell me to be cheeky, being able to see the play two steps ahead. So, I feel with that, being cheeky, maybe getting into people’s spaces, can separate their games, and they can play worse. There’s examples: Draymond (Green), Patrick (Beverley), Jrue (Holiday), so there’s so many. I feel like I can be one of those in the next step.”

Sochan was the main attraction Friday in Chicago at an eight-player workout staged by Tandem Sports + Entertainment. At least nine NBA teams had representatives at the session, according to Aldridge, including the Spurs and Knicks, who both interviewed Sochan during the Draft Combine. San Antonio holds the ninth pick and New York has No. 11, which is about the range where Sochan is expected to be taken.

“We did a little bit (of defense) at the end, with the two-on-two, the screen work, but you can’t really show too much,” Sochan said after the session ended. “I feel like they’re going to have that in mind, and when I go to team workouts, I’ll be able to show a little bit more of that. And whoever picks me, I’ll be able to show that in practices and games.”

There’s more on the draft:

  • Iowa’s Keegan Murray will turn 22 before he plays his first NBA game, but he doesn’t believe his age will discourage teams from drafting him, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “I’d say I’m a 21-year-old in an 18-year-old’s body,” Murray said. “In high school, I was a 5-foot-10 sophomore and ended up growing to 6-foot-8 my senior year of high school. So I’m a late bloomer in that sense, so for me, I’m young. I feel young. … If you’re comparing me on age and not what I do on the court, then maybe that’s another conversation. I feel like my ceiling is as high as anyone else in the draft.”
  • Dyson Daniels is starting to get some consideration as a top-five pick after an outstanding pro day at the combine, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The Australian swingman, who played with G League Ignite this season, impressed scouts with his shooting and “immense potential,” according to Givony.
  • North Carolina guard Kerwin Walton worked out for some teams this week, but he may decide to return to college and transfer, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Walton’s workouts included the Timberwolves and Bucks, and he has an upcoming session with the Hornets, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).
  • Baylor’s Matthew Mayer plans to take his name out of the draft and transfer to another school, per Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog“I’ve decided that I’m coming back to college, but don’t know where,” he said.

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).

NBA Announces Initial Early Entrant List For 2022 Draft

The NBA has officially released the initial list of early entrants for the 2022 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 283 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 247 are from colleges, while 36 are international early entrants.

Those are big numbers, but they fall well short of the 353 early entrants who initially declared for the draft a year ago. Beginning in 2021, the NCAA granted players an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in seniors having to decide between staying at college for one more season or declaring for the draft as an “early” entrant.

That tweak to the NCAA’s eligibility rules has increased the number of total early entrants due to the influx of seniors into the pool. However, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN observes (via Twitter), the number of college non-seniors (123) on the initial early entry list this year is actually the lowest since 2016, while the number of international prospects (36) is the lowest since 2014.

This year’s total of 283 early entrants figures to shrink significantly by June 1 and again by June 13, the two deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like the pool will remain extremely crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants certain to exceed 58, the number of picks in the draft.

Our tracker of early entrants for the 2022 draft is fully up to date and can be found right here.

Here are the changes we made to our tracker today:


Newly-added players:

College players:

These players either didn’t publicly announce that they were entering the draft or we simply missed it when they did.

International players:

These players weren’t previously mentioned on our list of international early entrants. The country listed here indicates where they last played, not necessarily where they were born.

Other notable draft-eligible early entrants:

The NBA sent its teams a list of 33 “also-eligible” names. That list isn’t public, but Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link) shared some of the most notable players on it, and we’ve added them to our early entrant tracker. They are as follows:

  1. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite
  2. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite
  3. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite
  4. Henri Drell, G/F, Windy City Bulls
  5. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite
  6. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite
  7. Makur Maker, C, Sydney Kings (formerly Howard Bison)
  8. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite
  9. Samson Ruzhentsev, G/F, Mega Basket (formerly Florida Gators)
  10. Kai Sotto, C, Adelaide 36ers (formerly G League Ignite)
  11. Zaire Wade, G, Salt Lake City Stars
  12. Kok Yat, F, Overtime Elite
  13. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite

Players removed:

Despite reports or announcements that the players below would declare for the draft, they didn’t show up on the NBA’s official list.

That could mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have had no NCAA eligibility remaining, making them automatically draft-eligible; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.

In any case, we’ve removed the following names from our early entrant list, at least for the time being.

Finally, Givony reports (via Twitter) that Canadian forward Leonard Miller, from the Fort Erie International Academy has been asked to fill out additional paperwork to finalize his entrance into the draft pool. According to Givony, there’s an expectation that Miller will be added to the list, so we’ve left him listed in our early entrant tracker among the international players.