Naji Marshall

Pelicans, Naji Marshall Agree To Two-Way Deal

Undrafted Xavier power forward Naji Marshall has verbally agreed to sign a two-way contract with the Pelicans, a source tells Matt Bacbock of Babcock Hoops (Twitter link). Andrew Lopez of ESPN confirms (via Twitter) that New Orleans is adding Marshall on a two-way deal.

Marshall, the No. 12 player on ESPN’s list of undrafted prospects, was a primary offensive facilitator during his junior year at Xavier, averaging 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 4.0 APG. Within his scouting report on the former Musketeer, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony notes that Marshall’s “toughness and activity” are major pluses on defense.

Marshall won’t be limited to just 45 days of NBA service in his rookie season, as two-way players in 2020/21 are allowed to be active for up to 50 regular season games.

LaMelo Ball Headlines List Of Draft Combine Participants

Potential No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball will be among the prospects participating in the revamped virtual draft combine this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ball is scheduled to take part in team interviews and a media session this week, but may not participate in any other portion, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cautions (via Twitter).

While Ball’s participation might be limited, many of this year’s other top prospects aren’t taking part in the event at all. As Woo points out (via Twitter), Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Cole Anthony, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, and Saddiq Bey are among the players who don’t appear on the list of participants sent out by the NBA.

The list of top prospects besides Ball who will be participating in the event includes Precious Achiuwa, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon, and Isaac Okoro, among others.

Here’s the full list of combine participants, via Charania:

  1. Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
  2. Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
  3. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
  4. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
  5. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
  6. Desmond Bane, G, TCU
  7. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
  8. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
  9. Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
  10. Mamadi Diakite, F, Virginia
  11. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
  12. Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro (Italy)
  13. CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
  14. Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
  15. Trent Forrest, G, Florida State
  16. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona
  17. Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky
  18. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
  19. Josh Hall, F, Moravian Prep
  20. RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
  21. Jalen Harris, G, Nevada
  22. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
  23. Markus Howard, G, Marquette
  24. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse
  25. Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
  26. Mason Jones, G, Arkansas
  27. Tre Jones, G, Duke
  28. Nathan Knight, F/C, William & Mary
  29. Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
  30. Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)
  31. Karim Mane, G, Vanier College (Canada)
  32. Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
  33. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier
  34. Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
  35. Skylar Mays, G, LSU
  36. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
  37. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
  38. Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
  39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
  40. Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
  41. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
  42. Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
  43. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall
  44. Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
  45. Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
  46. Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
  47. Paul Reed, F, DePaul
  48. Nick Richards, F/C, Kentucky
  49. Grant Riller, G, Charleston
  50. Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College
  51. Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
  52. Cassius Stanley, G, Duke
  53. Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
  54. Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
  55. Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
  56. Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State
  57. Kaleb Wesson, F/C, Ohio State
  58. Kahlil Whitney, F, Kentucky
  59. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
  60. Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is unable to hold its typical in-person draft combine this year, but the league has put together an alternative combine that will feature interviews through videoconferencing as well as the making of “pro day” videos, which will include strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, and shooting drills. Participants will also undergo medical testing and exams.

For more details on this year’s combine, be sure to check out our full story on the changes.

Xavier’s Naji Marshall Declares For NBA Draft

Xavier’s Naji Marshall is entering his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, who reports (via Twitter) that the junior forward is testing the waters and keeping his options open.

Marshall, 22, averaged 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 31 games (35.7 MPG) for Marshall in 2019/20. He has struggled with his shooting efficiency, however, posting a .420 FG% and .281 3PT% over his last two seasons.

While he’s a candidate to be selected, Marshall isn’t a lock to come off the board in the 2020 draft. ESPN currently has him ranked 71st overall on its big board.

Marshall also tested the draft waters a year ago before opting not to go pro. If he doesn’t like the feedback he gets during this year’s pre-draft process, he could return to college for one final season before becoming draft-eligible in 2021.

Draft Decisions: Konate, King, Enoch, Queta, More

We rounded up a series of draft decisions by early entrants this morning, but with the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline (May 29) looming, we’ve already got many more decisions to pass along.

Here’s the latest:

  • West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate plans to remain in the 2019 NBA draft and will forgo his final year of college eligibility, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Louisville junior forward V.J. King is also keeping his name in the draft, he announced today (via Twitter). However, the Cardinals will get another key player back, as Steven Enoch‘s father told 93.9 The Ville that his son is “looking forward to next season” in Louisville (Twitter link).
  • Utah State center Neemias Queta announced today (via a Twitter video) that he’ll return to school for his sophomore season.
  • Three Xavier prospects who tested the draft waters as early entrants – Paul Scruggs, Tyrique Jones, and Naji Marshall – are headed back to the Musketeers, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Texas A&M guard Savion Flagg tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) that he’ll remove his name from the draft and rejoin the Aggies for his junior season.
  • Providence junior guard Alpha Diallo is also expected to withdraw from the draft and go back to school, agent Javon Phillips tells Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Dayton forward Obi Toppin announced in an Instagram post that he’ll pull out of the draft and head back to school for his sophomore year.
  • Keith Braxton, a junior guard out of St. Francis (PA), has elected to withdraw from the draft after testing the waters, tweets Rothstein.

Stanford’s KZ Okpala Declares For NBA Draft

Stanford sophomore forward and potential lottery pick KZ Okpala has declared for the 2019 NBA draft, per Evan Daniels of 247Sports. Per new rules, he is permitted to sign with an NBA certified agent and still return to school if he withdraws his name by May 29.

“I have decided to declare for the NBA Draft,” Okpala said. “I have learned so much over these last two years at Stanford and am looking forward to continuing to improve along this journey. I am excited to see where it will take me.”

A rather interesting story, Okpala stood only 5’10” as a freshman in high school before spurting to a relatively incredible 6’7” as a senior. He is now listed at 6’9”. Because of his size, he wasn’t recruited by any high-major programs until late in his high school career, when Stanford saw him play on the AAU circuit.

As a sophomore this past season, Okpala averaged 16.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.0 APG while connecting on 36.8% of his three-point attempts. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony currently ranks Okpala as 2019’s No. 26 overall prospect, with his scouting report detailing how Okpala fits the modern NBA with his defensive versatility and greatly improved jumper. Per Givony, the 19-year-old may potentially generate some interest in back-end of the lottery.

In addition to Okpala, several other prospects have made themselves early entrants for the 2019 NBA draft: