Marcus Sasser

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.

Draft Decisions: Timme, Sasser, Quinones, Bernard, More

Big man Drew Timme, ranked No. 63 on ESPN’s big board, has withdrawn from the 2022 NBA draft and will return to Gonzaga for his senior season, he announced via Twitter.

Timme was the 2021/22 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and a two-time All-American for the Bulldogs, but he struggled defensively and needs to “modernize his game” by adding a three-point shot and improving on the boards, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Houston guard Marcus Sasser also announced (on Twitter) that he’s withdrawing from the draft and returning to the Cougars for his senior season. He’s No. 70 on ESPN’s board, so he was considered a fringe second-round pick, but shot an impressive 43.7% from deep (on 8.6 attempts) while averaging 17.7 PPG and 2.2 SPG in ’21/22.

Meanwhile, Memphis junior Lester Quinones will stay in the draft and turn pro, a source tells Steven Johnson of The Daily Memphian. Johnson writes that Quinones has impressed teams in workouts and could become a second-rounder despite being unranked by ESPN.

UCLA’s Jules Bernard will forgo his extra year of eligibility and stay in the draft, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Bernard worked out for the Lakers earlier today, and Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group reports (via Twitter) that the swingman had a solid performance.

Here are a handful of other early entrants withdrawing from the draft, with the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline about to strike:

Draft Notes: J. Williams, Sasser, LaRavia, Houstan, Minott, More

Santa Clara wing Jalen Williams was perhaps the standout of last week’s draft combine in Chicago, while Houston guard Marcus Sasser looked like the best player at the G League Elite Camp, John Hollinger and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic write as part of their analysis of the combine.

Hollinger and Vecenie suggest that Williams’ stock has “exploded into the stratosphere” as a result of his performance in Chicago and that he looks like a safe bet to be a first-round pick. As for Sasser, he got “nearly unanimous praise” from scouts, who believe he has a chance to start his rookie season on a standard NBA contract, rather than a two-way deal.

The Athletic’s duo shares several more combine-related tidbits in their full story, including identifying Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia as a prospect who is drawing legitimate interest from contending teams in the last 10 picks of the first round.

Hollinger and Vecenie also say that chatter about Michigan forward Caleb Houstan having received a promise continues to circulate among league insiders. Those insiders have speculated that Oklahoma City at No. 30 could be the team eyeing Houstan, given the Thunder‘s history of shutting down their targets well ahead of draft night.

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • Josh Minott, the No. 48 player on ESPN’s 2022 big board, will be keeping his name in the NBA draft, according to his uncle (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports). The freshman forward played fewer than 500 total minutes in his first and only college season at Memphis in 2021/22.
  • Wyoming guard Hunter Maldonado tells Rothstein (Twitter link) that he’ll withdraw from the draft and use his final year of NCAA eligibility. Maldonado had a big senior year in 2021/22, averaging 18.5 PPG, 6.3 APG, and 5.7 RPG and making the All-Mountain West Conference first team.
  • George Washington junior guard James Bishop will withdraw from the draft and return to school for at least one more year, tweets Rothstein. Bishop has been the Colonials’ go-to scorer since transferring for his sophomore season, averaging 17.6 PPG in 47 games over the last two years.
  • Senior guard Emmanuel Bandoumel will also withdraw from the draft as he transfers from SMU to Nebraska, tweets Rothstein.
  • Former Louisiana senior center Theo Akwuba has withdrawn from the draft and Oklahoma State junior guard Avery Anderson III and Tennessee junior guard Santiago Vescovi are expected to do the same, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (all Twitter links). Goodman notes that Akwuba will be transferring to Ole Miss for his final college season.

Draft Notes: Banchero, Harper, Withdrawals, Boeheim, Combine, Mock Drafts

Paolo Banchero is expected to be among the first names off the board in next month’s draft, and the Duke star did some campaigning to be the No. 1 overall pick in an interview with ESPN following Tuesday’s lottery (video link).

Banchero earned second-team All-America honors during his freshman season with the Blue Devils, averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 39 games. Possessing exceptional passing skills and offensive versatility for his 6’10” size, Banchero told the ESPN crew he patterns his game after players such as LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Carmelo Anthony and said he’ll be ready to contribute right away to whichever team drafts him.

“From day one, they’ll get versatility for sure,” Banchero said. “There’s not a position on the court where I’m not comfortable, with the ball in my hands or the ball off my hands. I’m going to be all right. I’m going to be an immediate impact because I’m ready physically and I’m ready mentally. I am ready to get to work.”

There’s more on the draft:

  • Rutgers forward Ron Harper Jr. has signed with Roc Nation Sports, officially ending his college career, according to Brian Fonseca of NJ.com. The senior earned honorable mention All-America honors, was a two-time all-Big Ten selection and helped the Scarlet Knights reach the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons after a 30-year absence.
  • Kyle Lofton, formerly of St. Bonaventure, has decided to withdraw from the draft, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. He will transfer to Florida for next season.
  • Andre Kelly, who played the last four years for California, is also taking his name out of the draft, Rothstein adds (Twitter link). He will use his extra year of eligibility to transfer to UC Santa Barbara.
  • Hofstra’s Aaron Estrada also plans to exit the draft and return to school, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim has worked out for the Knicks, Kings and Warriors and had an impressive showing at the G League Elite Camp, per Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Boeheim will hold a Pro Day in Chicago today.
  • Seven players from the Elite Camp were able to earn spots at the NBA’s draft combine, the G League announced on Twitter. They are LSU’s Darius Days, Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Lofton Jr., Connecticut’s Tyrese Martin, Seton Hall’s Jared Rhoden, Houston’s Marcus Sasser, Texas Tech’s Bryson Williams and Kansas’ Jalen Wilson.
  • Auburn forward Jabari Smith is number one on the list of top 20 prospects by John Hollinger of The Athletic. Banchero is the only other prospect in Hollinger’s top tier, and he ranks Purdue guard Jaden Ivey and Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren right below them.
  • Several new mock drafts were released after Tuesday’s lottery. Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic both have Smith going to the Magic at No. 1, followed by Holmgren to the Thunder at No. 2 and Banchero to the Rockets at No. 3. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has Holmgren going to Orlando, Smith to Oklahoma City and Banchero to Houston.

44 Prospects Announced For 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp

The NBA G League has formally announced its field of 44 draft prospects for the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp.

The event, which will take place May 16 and 17 in Chicago, “gives draft prospects an opportunity to display their skills in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives over the course of the camp by playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills.”

The top performers from the camp will be invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which will take place from May 18-22 in Chicago. Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers wing Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

Here’s the list of 44 draft-eligible attendees:

The list of attendees features 13 players on ESPN’s big board, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via Twitter), so some players have a chance to be drafted.

The top-ranked prospect at the camp is Scheierman (No. 69), who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals on .508/.469/.802 shooting this season for South Dakota State (35 games, 33.3 minutes per contest).

Draft Notes: Latest Mock, Senior Eligibility, Timme, Rollins, Williams, St. Hilaire, Sasser

Gonzaga freshman big man Chet Holmgren goes No. 1 to Houston in Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft on ESPN. Givony projects Orlando taking Auburn freshman Jabari Smith with the second pick and Detroit selecting Duke’s Paolo Banchero in the No. 3 slot. Purdue guard Jaden Ivey and Iowa forward Keegan Murray round out the top five in the post-NCAA Tournament mock.

We have more draft-related notes:

  • As it did last year, the NBA will require fourth-year college seniors to declare themselves eligible for the draft, Givony confirms (via Twitter). Players can withdraw by June 1 in order to retain their NCAA eligibility.
  • Gonzaga junior forward Drew Timme has declared for the draft, he announced on Twitter. Timme, who is ranked No. 57 overall on ESPN’s Best Available rankings, averaged 18.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 2.8 APG this season for the Bulldogs. His announcement doesn’t say anything about maintaining his college eligibility, so it sounds like he’s prepared to go pro.
  • Toledo sophomore Ryan Rollins is entering the draft and will hire an agent, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. A shooting guard, Rollins is ranked No. 70 on ESPN’s Best Available list. He averaged 18.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.6 APG this season.
  • VCU forward Vince Williams has declared for the draft, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein tweets. Williams is ranked No. 92 on ESPN’s prospects list. He averaged 14.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.0 APG as a senior.
  • New Orleans guard Derek St. Hilaire has declared for the draft and will forgo his final year of eligibility, he revealed in a tweet. He averaged 20.1 PPG in his senior year.
  • Houston guard Marcus Sasser will test the draft waters but won’t hire an agent, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets. The junior averaged 17.7 PPG in 12 games for the Cougars before a toe injury sidelined him.

Draft Notes: Moyer, F. White, Sasser, Segu, M. Wright

George Washington forward Matthew Moyer will be remaining in the 2021 NBA draft after declaring as an early entrant, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

Moyer played at Syracuse and Vanderbilt before arriving at GWU for the 2020/21 season. He averaged 10.1 PPG and 9.6 RPG in 12 games (32.1 MPG) as a senior. Like other seniors, he was granted an extra year of NCAA eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic, but he won’t take advantage of that extra year.

Moyer, who doesn’t show up in ESPN’s list of top 100 prospects for 2021, is a long shot to be drafted.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Houston forward Fabian White, who entered the draft this spring, has decided to withdraw his name and return to school for another year, he tells Rothstein (Twitter link). White’s 2020/21 debut was due to his recovery from an ACL tear — he averaged 6.2 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 13 games (15.6 MPG) for the Cougars upon returning.
  • White’s teammate, Houston guard Marcus Sasser, will also pull his name out of the draft and return to school, he tells Rothstein (Twitter link). A sophomore in 2021/22, Sasser was the Cougars’ second-leading scorer, recording 13.7 PPG and 2.2 APG in 29 games (31.9 MPG).
  • Buffalo junior guard Ronaldo Segu is pulling his name out of the draft, per Rothstein (Twitter link). After being named the Mid-American Conference Sixth Man of the Year in 2020, Segu entered the starting lineup in ’20/21, averaging 13.3 PPG and 4.3 APG in 25 games (33.1 MPG).
  • Colorado guard McKinley Wright IV worked out earlier this week for the Cavaliers and had an audition on Thursday with the Warriors, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Wright ranks 97th overall on ESPN’s big board.

NBA Announces Initial Early Entrant List For 2021 Draft

The NBA has officially released the initial list of early entrants for the 2021 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 353 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 296 are from colleges, while 57 are international early entrants.

That number obliterates the previous record of 236 early entrants, established in 2018. That had been expected, however, since the NCAA gave 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.

Since well over half of the college early entrants are seniors, there are actually fewer college underclassmen than usual in this initial group of early entrants.

This year’s total of 353 early entrants figures to shrink significantly by July 7 and again by July 19, 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 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our tracker of early entrants for the 2021 draft now includes seniors and is fully up to date. It can be found right here. It doesn’t include players who are automatically draft-eligible this year. As Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets, that list of auto-eligible players includes the prospects who played for the G League Ignite, such as Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.

Here are the changes we made to our tracker today:


Newly-added players:

College players:

These players hadn’t previously been included on our unofficial list of underclassmen early entrants and weren’t on the list of senior early entrants that the NBA sent to teams last week.

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.


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 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 for the time being.