Kofi Cockburn

Kofi Cockburn, Darryl Morsell Signing With Jazz

The Jazz will sign Illinois center Kofi Cockburn, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. He will receive an Exhibit 10 contract, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The seven-footer was a first-team All-American this season and a first-team All-Big 10 selection the past two years. He averaged 20.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game as a junior before declaring for the draft.

Marquette guard Darryl Morsell is also signing with Utah, tweets Jon Chepkevich of Rookie Scale. Like Cockburn, he’ll get an Exhibit 10 contract, per Givony (Twitter link).

Morsell spent his first four collegiate seasons at Maryland and was named Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. He averaged 13.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 31 games for the Golden Eagles.

An Exhibit 10 deal is a one-year, minimum-salary contract that counts toward a team’s 20-man offseason roster limit, but doesn’t count against the cap unless the player makes the regular season roster. Although it’s not guaranteed, a player on an Exhibit 10 contract can earn a bonus of up to $50K if he’s waived and then joins his team’s G League affiliate. An Exhibit 10 contract can also be converted into a two-way deal before the start of the regular season.

Jazz Notes: Snyder, Ainge, Fizdale, Bryant, Cockburn, Barcello

The Jazz could block Quin Snyder from coaching next season, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Snyder, who resigned on Sunday, has one guaranteed year remaining on his contract, which gives Utah leverage if Snyder seeks another coaching job before the 2023/24 season.

Snyder apparently isn’t in any hurry to patrol the sidelines again. He’s looking forward to spending time with his family,  Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do next year, as far as coaching,” Snyder said. “I know I’m going to be at Halloween with my daughter. That’s the silver lining of me stepping down now.”

Jazz executive Danny Ainge expects Snyder to return to coaching “very soon, probably next year,” Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets, though it’s unclear if, by “next year,” Ainge meant next season or 2023.

We have more from the Jazz:

  • Despite meeting the media on Monday, Snyder’s motivation for leaving his post remain vague, Walden writes. However, it is clear he – not the team – made the decision and agonized over it for several weeks.
  • Minority owner Dwyane Wade might push the front office to strongly consider Lakers assistant and former Knicks head coach David Fizdale as Snyder’s replacement, Marc Stein writes in a Substack post. Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant is a favorite of Donovan Mitchell, but Ainge may be hesitant to cater too much to his star shooting guard.
  • On the draft front, the Jazz are bringing in Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn and BYU’s Alex Barcello for workouts this week, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets.

Central Notes: Sharpe, Christie, Cockburn, Plummer, Kiss

Keegan Murray, Jaden Ivey, Bennedict Mathurin and Shaedon Sharpe are the potential candidates to be chosen by the Pistons with their lottery pick, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic writes. One of those names, most likely Ivey, will be off the board by the time the Pistons are on the clock.

Sharpe is a mystery candidate since he didn’t play college ball despite attending Kentucky last season. The Pistons could get a better read on him soon. Sharpe will be working out in Detroit within the next 10 days, Edwards reports via his sources.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons not only have the No. 5 pick, they hold the No. 46 overall selection in the second round, thanks to a trade with the Nets last year. Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press looks at potential targets with that pick, including Michigan State’s Max Christie and Colorado State’s David Roddy.
  • Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn, considered a second-round prospect, has been busy working out for a variety of teams this week. He’ll visit the Bucks in the near future, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets.
  • Another Illinois player, wing Alfonso Plummer, visited the Cavaliers on Thursday, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star tweets. Bryant College guard Peter Kiss, who led Division I in scoring last season, visited the Cavaliers on Tuesday, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com tweets.

Southeast Draft Notes: Murray, Hawks, Wizards, Hornets

The Magic hold the No. 1 pick and Iowa’s Keegan Murray isn’t expected to go higher than No. 4 in the lottery. That didn’t prevent Orlando from doing its due diligence on the high-scoring wing. Murray came in for a pre-draft workout on Thursday, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. The two sides also had a discussion during the draft combine in Chicago, Price adds.

We have more developments from the Southeast Division:

Jazz Notes: Far From Contending, Mini-Camp, Prospect Workouts

All four of the 2021/22 Conference Finalists — the Warriors, Mavericks, Celtics and Heat — proved how far the Jazz are from contending for a championship, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News opines.

Todd notes that head coach Quin Snyder, whose status remains uncertain for next season, said Utah was very close to competing at the highest level at his end-of-season press conference.

This year, I thought that our record didn’t necessarily reflect what we could do in the playoffs. I felt like we were this close to having a spark and kicking it in and finding that unity, that extra secret sauce, and taking off. And obviously that didn’t happen,” Snyder said, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Todd disagrees. Even assuming the Jazz had advanced past Dallas in the first round (they lost in six games), Todd is doubtful the Jazz would have been able to take the Suns to seven games in the second round, as Dallas was able to do.

She also doesn’t think the Jazz would have fared any better than the Mavs did against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, if they’d gotten past Phoenix.

Ultimately, the Todd believes the flawed roster was too much to overcome, and Utah’s front office will have a tough job improving it this summer.

Here’s more from Utah:

Wizards Notes: J. Davis, Prospect Workouts, Point Guards

The Wizards will host a pair of pre-draft workouts on Thursday, including a solo session for a potential target at No. 10. According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link), Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis, who is viewed as a potential lottery pick and a viable option for a Washington team in need of backcourt depth, will take part in that solo workout.

Prior to Davis’ audition, the Wizards will host a morning group workout that features Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Collin Gillespie (Villanova), Quenton Jackson (Texas A&M), Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Justin Bean (Utah State), and Marcus Bingham (Michigan State), per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • In a discussion with Robbins about the Wizards’ possible offseason point guard targets, John Hollinger of The Athletic speculates that Ricky Rubio, Eric Bledsoe, and even John Wall could be among the players Washington shows interest in, assuming Bledsoe and Wall reach free agency. Hollinger also identifies Malcolm Brogdon and Mike Conley as viable options on the trade market, and suggests Tyus Jones would be an ideal fit if he were willing to accept the full mid-level exception.
  • In the same Athletic story, Robbins and Hollinger consider potential targets for the Wizards with the No. 10 pick. G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels should get serious consideration if he’s still available, according to Hollinger, who also identifies Jeremy Sochan and AJ Griffin as logical fits on the wing.
  • Maryland guard Eric Ayala, Florida forward Anthony Duruji, Richmond forward Grant Golden, Utah State forward Brandon Horvath, Marquette guard Darryl Morsell, and George Mason swingman D’Shawn Schwartz participated in a pre-draft group workout for the Wizards on Wednesday, according to Robbins (Twitter link).
  • Overtime Elite point guard Jean Montero is among the other prospects expected to work out for the Wizards this week, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

Hawks Notes: Bogdanovic, Draft Workout, Trade Tiers

Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s lingering knee issue will likely prevent the Hawks wing from participating with the Serbian National Team in the EuroBasket tournament during September, according to MozzartSport.com (hat tip to Eurohoops.net). Bogdanovic, who was limited to 63 regular-season games,  played through the pain in the first round of the playoffs, and MozzartSport’s report suggests offseason surgery is a possibility.

We have more on the Hawks:

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: 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.

Draft Decisions: Agbaji, Cockburn, Dickinson, Wong, More

Kansas wing Ochai Agbaji has decided to withdraw from the 2021 NBA draft and will return to school for his senior year, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Agbaji, who was the No. 67 prospect on ESPN’s big board, averaged 14.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game for the Jayhawks last year, knocking down 37.7% of his three-point attempts in 30 games (33.7 MPG). Agbaji projected as a potential second-round pick, according to Givony, who refers to him as one of the best defenders at the NCAA level.

The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for early entrants in this year’s draft is on Wednesday, so there are plenty of other prospects making decisions on their future today. Here are a few of the other early entrants who are pulling out of the draft and returning to school:

While a number of prospects are removing their names from the 2021 draft pool, some early entrants have made the decision to go pro. UCLA’s Chris Smith is one, posting a farewell message to Bruins fans on Instagram. Sources tell Rothstein (Twitter link) that Saint Louis forward Hasahn French is also going pro rather than returning to college.