Khalifa Diop

Pistons’ Procida, Cavs’ Diop Among Draftees Expected To Be Stashed Overseas

Italian wing Gabriele Procida, who was drafted 36th overall on Thursday night after spending last season with Fortitudo Bologna, is expected to be stashed overseas by the Pistons, reports James L. Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Procida is the highest of this year’s draft picks reported to be a likely draft-and-stash prospect, he’s hardly the only one. Here are a few more updates on 2022’s draft-and-stash candidates:

  • After using the No. 39 pick to draft him on Thursday, the Cavaliers intend to keep 20-year-old center Khalifa Diop overseas for the 2022/23 season, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Senegalese big man won the EuroCup Rising Star award playing for Gran Canaria in Spain this past season.
  • The Nuggets plan to stash center Ismael Kamagate in Europe next season, a source tells Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). The No. 46 pick on Thursday, Kamagate had an All-Star season playing for Paris in 2021/22.
  • Italian shooting guard Matteo Spagnolo, drafted at No. 50 by the Timberwolves, will likely remain overseas next season, per president of basketball operations Tim Connelly (Twitter link via Dane Moore). Spagnolo is still just 19 years old.
  • Crotian forward/center Karlo Matkovic, selected 52nd overall by the Pelicans, is expected to join New Orleans’ Summer League roster but will continue playing in Europe for another year or two, general manager Trajan Langdon told reporters, including Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Wizards president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard said after the draft that No. 54 pick Yannick Nzosa will be a “stash guy” in the Spanish League next season, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Murray, Lakers Workout, Kuminga, Moody, Warriors’ Pick

Jaden Ivey, the top rated point guard in the draft, hasn’t worked out for the Kings, who hold the fourth overall pick. It may be a moot point, as Sacramento’s brass is high on Iowa forward Keegan Murray, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The Kings arranged for the prospect to have dinner with the team stars, De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, during his visit. Murray was one of top scorers in Division I last season at 23.5 PPG along with 8.7 RPG.

If he’s selected fourth overall, Murray could slot into the Kings’ frontcourt alongside Sabonis and Harrison Barnes.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers continued to do their homework despite not owning a draft pick, as they worked out six prospects on Monday, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. That group included Javante McCoy (Boston University), Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Khalifa Diop (Gran Canaria), Jeenathan Williams (Buffalo), Malik Osborne (Florida State) and Danko Brankovic (Cibona).
  • Lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody got the rare experience of playing on a championship team in their first year. Though they didn’t play large roles in the postseason, the Warriors rookies got invaluable experience as their playing time grows in future seasons, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. “I never really worry about whether we’re playing, not playing,” Kuminga said. “As long as I’m still here, learning, getting better every day. When my moments get called, I know I’ll be ready. … Everybody here [is] just helping me, way more than dudes [other rookies around the league] are, wherever they are right now.”
  • The Warriors hold the No. 28 pick but they might not add an rookie, according to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. The Warriors are looking to trade the pick, in part because of their huge payroll and also because they’ve already got a trio of young players — James Wiseman, Kuminga and Moody — fighting for rotation minutes next season.

Draft Decisions: Diop, Spagnolo, Savkov, Nzosa, Matkovic

The early entry deadline to withdraw from the draft was 5 p.m. on Monday. It’s mostly relevant for international prospects, since the deadline to withdraw while retaining NCAA eligibility was June 1.

Several more international prospects have decided to stay in the draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links available right here). Here is that list:

  • Big man Khalifa Diop, is ranked No. 39 on ESPN’s Best Available list and the fourth-highest at the center spot. The 7-footer had a solid season in the ACB with Gran Canaria, winning the EuroCup’s Rising Star award.
  • Italian guard Matteo Spagnolo is another potential second-rounder, rated No. 59 overall and No. 11 among point guards. He shot 44% for 3 this season for Cremona in the first division.
  • Russian wing Pavel Savkov isn’t listed among ESPN’s top 100 prospects. The 6’7” Savkov shot 40% on 3-pointers in Spain the past two seasons.
  • Congolese big man Yannick Nzosa is the youngest player in the draft class. He’s played for Unicaja Malaga in Spain. Ranked No. 54, Nzosa is an extremely mobile big man with an excellent motor and strong defensive versatility, according to Givony.
  • Croatian power forward Karlo Matkovic is also staying in the draft after a last-minute change of heart. He’s slotted at No. 60 on ESPN’s list.

You can check out all early entrant decisions here.

Northwest Notes: Eason, Connelly, Wolves, Thunder, Terry

LSU forward Tari Eason, who headlined the Trail Blazers‘ six-player workout on Friday, already has some connections to the franchise, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. A Seattle native, Eason’s high school coach was one-time Portland star Brandon Roy, and the Blazers’ roster already includes another recent LSU standout, Trendon Watford.

Although Portland likes Eason enough to see him in person, he probably won’t be in the mix for the seventh pick, which is the Blazers’ only current selection in the first round. Fentress notes that Eason has a wide variety of projections in mock drafts and has worked out for other teams ranging from Washington at No. 10 to Minnesota at No. 19. Eason says he’s tried to avoid such predictions as he prepares for draft night.

“I don’t really have a preference or really look into that sort of thing,” he said. “I don’t really get caught up in that. I just control the things that I can control.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • New Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is approaching the draft with an open mind, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Minnesota needs more size, but may not find any attractive options with the 19th pick. The team also has three second-rounders at 40, 48 and 50 that may be used to facilitate a trade. “We feel good about adding another valuable piece, a good player at 19,” Connelly said. “There will potentially be some pretty cool opportunities to use that as a trade asset as well. Anytime you have four draft picks, it’s exciting. It’s the one day of the year where you really control what you can do, largely.”
  • Six players worked out Friday for the Timberwolves, tweets Andrew Slater of Pro Insight. They are Christian Braun of Kansas, Jordan Hall of St. Joseph’s, Dereon Seabron of North Carolina State, Jalen Williams of Santa Clara, Bryce McGowens of Nebraska and Donovan Williams of UNLV.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) tries to build an ideal draft for the Thunder using their four picks. Givony’s simulation gives Oklahoma City Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren at No. 2, Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe at No. 12, Wake Forest’s Jake LaRavia at No. 30 and Khalifa Diop of Gran Canaria at No. 34.
  • Jason Terry had his interview today as the Jazz search for their next head coach, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. Utah assistants Alex Jensen and Lamar Skeeter also interviewed this week.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Workouts, Wizards, Russell, Magic

The Hornets hold three picks in the 2022 NBA draft (Nos. 13, 15, and 45) and are keeping busy in the weeks leading up to June 23, bringing in a handful of prospects on a daily basis for a closer look.

On Tuesday, the Hornets worked out Tyson Etienne (Wichita State), Jordan Goldwire (Oklahoma), John Meeks (College of Charleston), Orlando Robinson (Fresno State), D’Shawn Schwartz (George Mason), and Bryson Williams (Texas Tech), according to the team (Twitter link). All six of those players rank outside of the top 75 on ESPN’s big board, so they figure to receive consideration as possible second-round or UDFA targets.

On Wednesday, Hugo Besson (New Zealand Breakers), Khalifa Diop (Gran Canaria), Hyunjung Lee (Davidson), Javante McCoy (Boston University), Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga), and Yannick Nzosa (Unicaja) make up the Hornets’ workout group (Twitter link). Several of those prospects are more highly regarded by draft experts — ESPN ranks Nembhard, Besson, and Diop 35th, 38th, and 39th respectively.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Wizards will be in the market for a starting point guard this offseason, but don’t expect them to pursue D’Angelo Russell. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News said on his podcast (The Scoop w/ Doogie) that he has heard Washington has no interest in the Timberwolves guard (hat tip to HoopsHype).
  • The Wizards‘ pre-draft workout on Wednesday will feature Kenny Baptiste (France), Garrison Brooks (Mississippi State), Kyle Foster (Howard), Justin Kier (Arizona), Aminu Mohammed (Georgetown), and Gabe Osabuohien (West Virginia), as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays (via Twitter).
  • Murray State guard Tevin Brown was in Orlando on Tuesday, presumably to work out for the Magic, tweets Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The Murray State guard is the No. 74 on ESPN’s big board, so the Magic could consider him in the second round or as an undrafted free agent.

Full List Of 2022 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 76 players who have been invited – and who are expected to attend – next week’s draft combine in Chicago. The combine workouts will take place from May 18-20.

Over the course of the week, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft likely won’t participate in scrimmages, those top prospects are still expected to attend. That group includes Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey.

A handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp could be invited to participate in the combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 76 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link):

  1. Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas (senior)
  2. Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee (freshman)
  3. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke (freshman)
  4. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  5. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  6. Hugo Besson, G, Australia (born 2001)
  7. Malaki Branham, G/F, Ohio State (freshman)
  8. Christian Braun, G, Kansas (junior)
  9. Kendall Brown, F, Baylor (freshman)
  10. John Butler Jr., F/C, Florida State (freshman)
  11. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (junior)
  12. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  13. Max Christie, G, Michigan State (freshman)
  14. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois (junior)
  15. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  16. Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin (sophomore)
  17. JD Davison, G, Alabama (freshman)
  18. Moussa Diabate, F, Michigan (freshman)
  19. Ousmane Dieng, F, Australia (born 2003)
  20. Khalifa Diop, C, Spain (born 2002)
  21. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (freshman)
  22. Tari Eason, F, LSU (sophomore)
  23. Keon Ellis, G, Alabama (senior)
  24. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  25. Collin Gillespie, G, Villanova (super-senior)
  26. AJ Griffin, F, Duke (freshman)
  27. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  28. Ron Harper Jr., F, Rutgers (senior)
  29. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (freshman)
  30. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford (freshman)
  31. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (sophomore)
  32. Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana (junior)
  33. Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia (born 2003)
  34. Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA (junior)
  35. Ismael Kamagate, C, France (born 2001)
  36. Trevor Keels, G, Duke (freshman)
  37. Walker Kessler, F/C, Auburn (sophomore)
  38. Christian Koloko, C, Arizona (junior)
  39. Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest (junior)
  40. Justin Lewis, F, Marquette (sophomore)
  41. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State (junior)
  42. Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona (sophomore)
  43. Matthew Mayer, F, Baylor (senior)
  44. Bryce McGowens, G, Nebraska (freshman)
  45. Leonard Miller, F, Canada (born 2003)
  46. Josh Minott, F, Memphis (freshman)
  47. Aminu Mohammed, G/F, Georgetown (freshman)
  48. Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State (junior)
  49. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  50. Wendell Moore, F, Duke (junior)
  51. Keegan Murray, F, Iowa (sophomore)
  52. Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
  53. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt (junior)
  54. Gabriele Procida, G/F, Italy (born 2002)
  55. Orlando Robinson, F/C, Fresno State (junior)
  56. David Roddy, F, Colorado State (junior)
  57. Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo (sophomore)
  58. Dereon Seabron, G, NC State (sophomore)
  59. Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  60. Jabari Smith, F, Auburn (freshman)
  61. Terquavion Smith, G, NC State (freshman)
  62. Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor (freshman)
  63. Matteo Spagnolo, G, Italy (born 2003)
  64. Julian Strawther, G/F, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  65. Dalen Terry, G, Arizona (sophomore)
  66. Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  67. Jabari Walker, F, Colorado (sophomore)
  68. TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. Peyton Watson, G/F, UCLA (freshman)
  70. Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame (freshman)
  71. Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest (super-senior)
  72. Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara (junior)
  73. Jaylin Williams, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  74. Mark Williams, C, Duke (sophomore)
  75. Trevion Williams, F/C, Purdue (senior)
  76. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)

Draft Notes: Braun, Wilson, Diop, Santos, Edey, Pack, Miller

After winning a national championship with the Jayhawks this season, Kansas junior shooting guard Christian Braun is entering his name in the 2022 NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Ranked as the No. 30 overall prospect on ESPN’s big board, Braun took a major step forward in his third college season, averaging 14.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 2.8 APG on .495/.386/.733 shooting in 40 games (34.4 MPG). He also played a big role in this month’s title game, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to help Kansas secure the victory.

“It is hard to follow a season where you win every championship that’s in front of you, but I’m excited to explore the options in front of me and enjoy this process,” Braun told ESPN. “I’ve worked my whole life to show the NBA who I am and what I’m about, so I will continue to put my head down and work to achieve my dream of playing in the NBA.”

Meanwhile, Braun’s teammate Jalen Wilson will once again test the waters, according to Andrew Joseph of USA Today (Twitter link), who notes that the 6’8″ forward has signed with an NCAA-certified agency. A redshirt sophomore, Wilson first tested the draft waters in 2021.

Here are a few more draft-related updates as the early entrant deadline nears:

  • Senegalese center Khalifa Diop, who currently plays for Gran Canaria in Spain, is entering the draft, per Global Scouting (Twitter link). Diop is the No. 40 prospect on ESPN’s board.
  • Brazilian forward Gui Santos, the No. 84 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list, has declared for the draft, according to a Super Esportes report. Santos has been playing for Minas in the Brazilian league.
  • Purdue big man Zach Edey, the No. 67 prospect on ESPN’s board, has announced (via Instagram) that he’ll remain with the Boilermakers for his junior year.
  • After entering the transfer portal while testing the draft waters, Kansas State’s Nijel Pack has committed to Miami, he announced on Saturday (Twitter link). Having secured a lucrative NIL deal, Pack appears committed to playing at least one more college season rather than keeping his name in the draft.
  • Canadian forward Leonard Miller, from the Fort Erie International Academy, is entering the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Givony notes that Miller made an impression at the Nike Hoop Summit earlier this month.