Kris Murray

And-Ones: Zizic, LeBron, TV Ratings, 2023 Draft

EuroLeague champion Anadolu Efes will be signing former NBA big man Ante Zizic on a two-year deal, with an opt-out clause after the first season, Bugra Uzar of Eurohoops.net reports. Zizic, 25, averaged 12.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 21 MPG over 31 games for Maccabi Tel Aviv last season.

A first-round pick in 2016, Zizic spent three seasons in the NBA with the Cavaliers from 2017-20, averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 113 games (13.4 MPG).

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Lakers star LeBron James has reached a net worth of $1 billion, according to Forbes’ calculations, Chase Peterson-Withorn writes. James made $121.2MM last year, pushing him over the $1 billion mark. He’s the first active NBA player to make the billionaires list. Even Michael Jordan, the only other basketball billionaire, didn’t reach that mark until 2014, well after he retired.
  • The NBA’s TV ratings for the postseason have risen significantly. There are number of reasons for the upswing, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, including the Warriors’ resurgence, an influx of new stars making their mark and Nielsen’s new method for collecting viewership numbers. Since September 2020, Nielsen has included out-of-home viewers as part of its tallies, including those watching at bars and restaurants.
  • While many draft prospects are busy working out for NBA teams, some have dropped out and returned to school to improve their stock for the 2023 draft. Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo takes a look at six players who could make a significant jump in the next year, including Iowa’s Kris Murray and Houston’s Marcus Sasser.

Dereon Seabron, Moussa Diabate Staying In Draft

North Carolina State guard Dereon Seabron, who declared for the draft this spring following his sophomore season, will forgo his remaining college eligibility and go pro, a source tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link).

Seaborn emerged as a full-time starter in his second year at NC State in 2021/22, averaging 17.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.4 SPG in 32 games (35.8 MPG). Although he isn’t a lock to be drafted, he has a reasonable chance — ESPN ranks him as the No. 57 prospect in this year’s draft class.

Michigan freshman forward Moussa Diabate, the No. 75 prospect on ESPN’s big board, has also opted to remain in the 2022 NBA draft, he tells Goodman (Twitter link). Diabate started 26 of 32 games for the Wolverines in his first and only college season, registering 9.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 24.9 MPG.

Here are more updates on the early entrants who are up against the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline:

  • Gonzaga sophomore wing Julian Strawther is headed back to the Zags for at least one more year, he announced on Twitter. Strawther was ESPN’s No. 68 prospect and had a chance to be drafted, but he’ll look to increase his odds with a strong 2022/23 college season.
  • Iowa forward Kris Murray is returning to school for his junior year after testing the draft waters, he announced today (via Twitter). Murray had been the No. 93 prospect on ESPN’s board.
  • Oregon guard Will Richardson will take advantage of his extra year of college eligibility and head back to school for one more year, reports Jeremy Woo of SI.com (Twitter link).
  • Kent State junior guard Sincere Carry is pulling his name out of the draft and returning to school, according to an announcement from the program (via Twitter). Carry said in his announcement that he has “unfinished business” at Kent State.

Draft Notes: Robinson, Scheierman, Daye, Murray, Houstan

Fresno State center Orlando Robinson intends to remain in the 2022 NBA draft and hire an agent, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). The No. 75 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Robinson declared for the draft after averaging 19.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 2.9 APG on .484/.352/.716 shooting in 36 games (33.2 MPG) as a junior. He’s participating in the draft combine in Chicago this week.

Meanwhile, three more prospects have opted to stay in the draft after declaring as early entrants, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (all Twitter links), who reports that UTSA guard Dhieu Deing, Wake Forest big man Dallas Walton, and UC Irvine forward Collin Welp are going pro.

Deing is coming off of his junior year, while Walton and Welp were seniors in 2021/22 — they won’t take advantage of their extra year of NCAA eligibility that was granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. None of the three prospects are on ESPN’s top-100 list.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Having spent the first three years of his college career with South Dakota State, forward Baylor Scheierman has committed to Creighton for 2022/23, but he’ll remain in the draft if he gets a promise that he’ll be selected, per Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. “Ultimately, I want to stay in the draft obviously,” said Scheierman, the No. 76 prospect on ESPN’s board. “If I can get picked, I’m going to stay in. And then the undrafted waters, I’ll have to talk to my agent and what not.”
  • After declaring for the draft as early entrants, Coastal Carolina guard Antonio Daye and Rider guard Dwight Murray Jr. will withdraw from this year’s draft and return to school, using their final year of college eligibility, according to Rothstein (Twitter links).
  • Iowa’s Kris Murray and Michigan’s Caleb Houstan are among a very small group of players that declined invites for this year’s draft combine, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link). Givony and Schmitz suggest Murray will likely return to school and say that some NBA teams think Houstan may have a first-round promise.

Draft Notes: Ellis, Murray, Roberts, Early Entrants

Alabama guard Keon Ellis, who has one year of college eligibility remaining, will go pro rather than staying in school for another year. Ellis has hired EZ Sports Group for representation, the agency announced earlier this week (via Instagram), making him draft-eligible this June.

The No. 48 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Ellis averaged 12.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.9 SPG in 33 games (30.9 MPG) in 2021/22 for the Crimson Tide and earned a spot on the SEC’s All-Defense team.

Another prospect in ESPN’s top 100, Iowa sophomore forward Kris Murray, has also declared for the 2022 NBA draft, but he’ll maintain his college eligibility and just test the waters for now, he announced on Twitter.

Murray, who comes in at No. 98 on ESPN’s board, barely played in his freshman year, but emerged as a rotation player in 2021/22, averaging 9.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG on .479/.387/.645 shooting in 35 games (17.9 MPG). His twin brother Keegan Murray, a projected top-10 pick, declared for the draft last month.

Here’s more on the draft: