McKinley Wright

Western Notes: Azubuike, Jackson, Wright, Green

Jazz 2020 first-round selection, big man Udoka Azubuike, was hampered by a severe ankle sprain in his rookie campaign, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News writes. Azubuike suffered the injury during the Salt Lake City Stars’ first game in the G League bubble last season. “It was tough, it was really tough for me going through that injury, that process,” Azubuike said. “Not being out on the court practicing or learning, doing what a regular rookie like me would do.” He’ll likely compete for backup center minutes this season with veteran acquisition Hassan Whiteside.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The King’s young players are not the only ones going through a learning process during summer league action. Bobby Jackson, the team’s summer league coach, is also gaining valuable experience, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes. “I can get better in late-game situations, understanding who to have on the floor, the substitutions, all the stuff that comes with it,” Jackson said. “But me and my stuff, just like the players have to do a better job, we’ve got to do a better job of making sure we have the right personnel on the floor. But it’s a growing experience for me, I love it.” Jackson was also recently named the head coach of the G League’s Stockton Kings.
  • McKinley Wright IV received a two-way deal from the Timberwolves last week. The former Colorado standout grew up in Minnesota and is thrilled to play in his home state, according to Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I didn’t know that I was going to be coming home,” Wright said. “I didn’t know that Minnesota was this interested in me. … I told my family, ‘We didn’t hear my name called how we initially planned, but this is better for me, going undrafted, betting on myself, and I continue to look forward to proving people wrong.”
  • Jeff Green’s versatile offensive game, which is built around 3-point shooting and elite finishing around the rim, should be a major boost for the Nuggets’ second unit, Eric Spyropoulos of the team’s website writes. The veteran big man signed a two-year deal with Denver in free agency.

McKinley Wright Signs Two-Way Deal With Timberwolves

AUGUST 5: Wright’s two-way contract with the Timberwolves is now official, according to the transactions log at NBA.com. Both of Minnesota’s two-way slots are now full, as our tracker shows.


JULY 30: The Timberwolves will sign a two-way deal with undrafted Colorado guard McKinley Wright IV, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The 6’0″ point guard enjoyed four decorated seasons with the Buffaloes. He was a three-time All-Pac-12 selection, a two-time All-Pac-12 Tourney honoree, and a 2020 Pac-12 All-Defensive Team member.

Wright, 22, ranks sixth on ESPN’s list of undrafted prospects. He averaged 15.2 PPG, 5.7 APG, 4.3 RPG and 1.1 SPG in 32 games for the Buffaloes, on .480/.301/.844 shooting during his senior season in 2020/21. Wright started in all but one of his 132 regular season games with the club.

Draft Notes: Mann, Taylor, Cunningham, Hornets

NBA draft prospect Tre Mann expressed confidence that he’s the best guard in this year’s class, as relayed by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Mann, 20, spent the past two seasons at Florida. He held per-game averages of 16 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists during the 2020/21 campaign, shooting 46% from the floor and 40% from deep.

“I think I’m the best guard in the draft, top-five for sure,” Mann said.

When asked about his strengths and weaknesses ahead of Thursday’s event, he gave a fair outlook.

“My strengths are my ability to create for myself and my teammates, my craftiness, and my ability to shoot off the dribble on the three-point line or a couple of steps behind the line,” Mann said. “The weaknesses that I think I need to work on are the simpler plays, like making the simple reads out of the ball screens and trying to make the game as easy as possible.”

Here are some other draft-related notes to pass along:

Draft Notes: Garza, Cooper, Pacers, Mock Drafts

The Sixers, who are in the market for a reserve center, worked out a pair of big men today, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Iowa’s Luka Garza, the two-time national player of the year, was in Philadelphia, along with Utah State’s Neemias Queta.

Garza, who is projected to be taken anywhere from the end of the first round to the middle of the second round, has dropped weight since the college season ended in an effort to become more mobile on defense. Queta was named Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference and was a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors.

With Dwight Howard entering free agency, Pompey notes that the Sixers don’t have a reliable backup to Joel Embiid. Philadelphia holds the 28th and 50th selections in next week’s draft.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Hawks Notes: Prunty, J. McMillan, Workouts, Collins

Joe Prunty and Jamelle McMillan are expected to become part of Nate McMillan‘s revamped coaching staff with the Hawks, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

Prunty, who began working as an NBA assistant in 1996, has spent time with a total of seven different teams and briefly served as the interim head coach of the Bucks during the 2017/18 season. Prunty, who last coached in the NBA in 2018/19 as a Suns assistant, was the head coach of the Team USA squad that played in the AmeriCup qualifiers earlier this year. He and Nate McMillan worked together in Portland from 2008-10.

Jamelle McMillan, who is Nate’s son, has spent most of his career with the Pelicans, including several years as an assistant under Alvin Gentry. He joined the Suns for a season in 2018/19 before rejoining the Pelicans, but was let go in 2020 when Stan Van Gundy was hired by New Orleans.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

Kings Notes: Haliburton, Draft Workouts, Wagner

Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton is enjoying his experience with the U.S. Select Team, which is giving him a chance to test his skills against some of the NBA’s best players, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Haliburton had previous experience in the international format as part of the USA under-19 National Team while at Iowa State.

Haliburton has fully recovered from the hyperextended left knee that brought an early end to his first NBA season. Although he played just 58 games, he was an All-Rookie First Team selection and finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. He has been working out in Sacramento for the past month and now gets to see how his expanded game fares against elite competition.

“For me to get out and use that stuff against other guys and see it work against them in live action, it helps a lot,” Haliburton said. “And just kind of seeing what other guys are working on at the same time, how other guys are improving. Just taking bits and pieces of that, putting that into my training and things like that.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

Draft Notes: Executive Roundup, Duarte, Monyyong, Lakers, Mini-Combine

In a Draft Confidential column for The Athletic, Hall-of-Fame reporter David Aldridge interviews anonymous team executives and college coaches to get their inside scoop on the 2021 draft’s burning questions.

Some of the topics discussed: the Jalen Green versus Jalen Suggs debate, who will be the fourth guard taken after Suggs, Green, and Cade Cunningham are off the board (James Bouknight, Moses Moody, Davion Mitchell, and Keon Johnson are the top candidates), draft promises, some of the late risers (Joshua Primo, Nah’Shon Hyland, Miles McBride, and others), and a whole lot more.

We have more news from the draft:

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-17.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)

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.

Draft Notes: Cockburn, Dosunmu, Ayayi, Carr, More

Illinois will have two important players back on campus next season as center Kofi Cockburn and guard Ayo Dosunmu have both withdrawn from the NBA draft, writes Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Cockburn made an impact in his first collegiate season, averaging 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 31 games. He announced his decision today on Twitter.

“He’s coming back to improve on all aspects of his game,’’ said Karriem Memminger, who serves as a mentor to the 7-footer. “He feels like there’s so much more he wants to show to the next level (NBA). He’s never satisfied. He wants to win a Big Ten championship followed by a national championship. And he wants to be selected to first team all-conference. Plus he loves the coaching staff and Illinois fans, who he feels are the best fans in college basketball. His dream is to become an NBA player and an NBA All-Star.’’

Dosunmu, who made his decision Friday night, averaged 16.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as a sophomore. He was among the players invited to this year’s draft combine.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Joel Ayayi has decided to return to Gonzaga for his junior season, Zagoria tweets. Ayayi averaged 10.6 points and 6.3 rebounds this year and was named Most Outstanding Player in the West Coast Conference Tournament.
  • Point guard Marcus Carr has decided to bypass the draft and return to Minnesota, writes Marcus Fuller of The Star Tribune. A transfer from Pitt, Carr set a school record this season with 207 assists and was a Third Team All-Big 10 selection by the media. “I am dedicating this season to my brother, and I can’t wait to be out on the court with my teammates in front of Gopher nation,” Carr wrote in a text.
  • Damien Jefferson and Denzel Mahoney will both return to Creighton next season, according to a tweet from head coach Greg McDermott.
  • Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe will return to school for his junior season, tweets Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Joe averaged 16.9 PPG this year.
  • Colorado guard McKinley Wright has elected to pull out of the draft and return to school next season, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).