Marcus Keene

Central Notes: Pistons, Bucks, Wade, Pacers

A pair of Michigan prospects are among the players to work out for the Pistons this week, with both Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin getting a look from the club. Walton was part of a Tuesday workout group that also included Tony Bradley (UNC), Melo Trimble (Maryland), Davon Reed (Miami), Peter Jok (Iowa), and Luke Fischer (Marquette) (Twitter links via Rod Beard of The Detroit News and Keith Langlois of Pistons.com).

Meanwhile, Irvin’s pre-draft workout will take place today, as the Pistons audition a group that also features Tyler Lydon (Syracuse), Marcus Keene (Central Michigan), Bryce Alford (UCLA), Derek Willis (Kentucky), and T.J. Cline (Richmond), per Langlois (Twitter link).

As Detroit weighs its draft options, let’s round up a few more items from around the Central division…

Northwest Notes: Miller, Jokic, Jazz, Brooks

After 17 years in the NBA, Nuggets forward Mike Miller isn’t ready to think about retirement, writes Mick Garry of the Argus [S.D.] Leader. Mitchell returned to his home state Saturday for an annual appearance at a basketball clinic and reflected on what it’s like to play professionally at age 37. “For me, it’s just a lot of fun – I enjoy playing,” Miller said. “I always will. My family still enjoys me playing, which is most important. So we’re going to keep going as long as we can. Every year is a new challenge and I enjoy those challenges. Until I quit, finding something to replace this will be hard.” Miller signed with Denver last summer, but appeared in just 20 games and averaged 7.6 minutes per night. His $3.5MM salary for next season won’t become guaranteed until July 12th.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Miller believes Nikola Jokic‘s breakout season will give free agents a reason to come to Denver. In an interview posted on the Nuggetswebsite, Miller talked about the bright future the 22-year-old has in the league. “I think the good thing that we have right now is Joker is one of those guys that everyone in the league is starting to take heed to and understand who he is,” Miller said. “He’s one of those superstars, I think he’s going to be a superstar. I think you’ll see even more growth at the beginning of this next year, that everyone just wants to play with. He plays that style of basketball. I’ve compared him a lot to Marc and Pau Gasol, I think he’s a lot like that.”
  • The Jazz have 11 players scheduled for workouts today, including UCLA big man T.J. Leaf, who is projected as a late first-rounder, relays Brandon Judd of The Deseret News. Joining Leaf at the second session will be Kentucky’s Dominique Hawkins, Central Michigan’s Marcus Keene, Louisiana Tech’s Erik McCree and Virginia Tech’s Zach LeDay. The first workout will feature Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe, Oregon’s Dylan Ennis, South Carolina’s P.J. Dozier, Kansas State’s Wesley Iwundu, Indiana’s Thomas Bryant and North Carolina’s Tony Bradley.
  • Several players with NBA ties were among the 25 participants in Utah’s free agent mini-camp Friday and Saturday. Tyler Hansbrough, Lamar Patterson, Cleanthony Early and R.J. Hunter are the most recognizable names, and the complete list can be found on the Jazz website.
  • Oregon’s Dillon Brooks, who worked out Saturday for the Trail Blazers, told Casey Holdahl of NBA.com that he can see a role for himself with the organization. “I got to watch Portland a lot, you get to see where you’d fit in,” Brooks said. “Especially with Portland, they’ve got two dominant guards and they need help with role players scoring. They get up and down, get into guys, it’s kind of like Oregon. The coach is kind of like [Oregon] Coach [Dana] Altman, they just let their guys play and go out there and try to compete and try to win games.”

Eastern Draft Notes: Knicks, Smith, Hornets, Bulls

Former North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. is in town to work out for the Knicks, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link). Marc Berman of The New York Post tweets that the workout will take place tomorrow.

Smith, who was previously said to have a tentative session lined up with New York, has frequently been mentioned as a potential target for the club at No. 8. By that point, top point guards like Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and De’Aaron Fox will almost certainly be off the board, but Smith may still be available, and the Knicks are in the market for a point guard of the future.

Here are a few more draft-related notes from around the Eastern Conference:

Draft Workouts: Nets, Smith Jr., Magic, Bucks, Celtics

The Nets will be the only non-playoff team without a close eye on Tuesday night’s lottery results, since the Celtics have swap rights to their first-round pick. But after that swap is made, the Nets will hold the rights to the first-round picks for the two teams in action on Monday night, the Celtics and the Wizards. And Brooklyn is busy exploring its options for those two late first-round selections, along with its second-round pick.

According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com, the Nets will bring in Rawle Alkins, Melo Trimble, Kobi Simmons, Davon Reed, Amida Brimah, and Omer Yurtseven for a group workout on Tuesday. On Thursday, Brooklyn will take a closer look at Josh Hart and Tyler Dorsey. Meanwhile, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan is also expected to be a part of that Thursday workout, per Nathan Baird of The Journal & Courier (Twitter link).

As Brooklyn does its homework on the non-lottery prospects in this year’s draft class, let’s check out a few more workout-related updates, including an additional note on Swanigan:

Draft Notes: Yurtseven, Thompson, Keene

North Carolina State freshman Omer Yurtseven has decided to declare for the 2017 NBA draft, according to a report from The Associated Press. Yurtseven, a seven-foot center from Turkey, averaged a modest 5.9 PPG and 4.4 RPG in his first – and perhaps only – college season. Per NC State spokesman Craig Hammel, the young big man won’t hire an agent right away, which will allow him to test the draft waters and potentially return to school for his sophomore year.

Here are a few more draft-related items to round up:

  • Another seven-footer, Ohio State’s Trevor Thompson, tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com that he plans to forgo his final year of college eligibility to enter this year’s draft. After testing the waters a year ago and ultimately withdrawing, Thompson appears more likely to keep his name in the draft this time around, though he’s no lock to be selected.
  • The nation’s leading scorer, Marcus Keene, has decided to enter the 2017 draft, a source tells Larry Lage of The Associated Press. The junior point guard averaged an eye-popping 30.0 PPG this season for Central Michigan.
  • Although only a handful of early entrants – including the three players noted above – have declared for the 2017 draft so far, ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider link) takes a closer look at which underclassmen and international players figure to join that group. Top prospects like Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, and Malik Monk are among those described by Ford as having “one foot out the door.”
  • Sean Deveney of The Sporting News identifies 10 prospects who have plenty at stake in this year’s NCAA tournament.