Neemias Queta

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.

Draft Notes: Bol, Williams, Herro, Smart

With the 2019 NBA Draft Combine now over, ESPN’s Mike Schmitz and Kevin Pelton discuss the 2019 NBA Draft prospects whose stock rose or fell over the weekend, beginning with Croatian forward Luka Samanic, whose performance in his first game at the combine was good enough for him to shut himself down and put his name squarely within the first-round conversation.

The other players who impressed scouts and improved their stock include Florida State’s Terance Mann, Georgia’s Nicolas Claxton, Nebraska’s Isaiah Roby, and LSU’s Tremont Waters. Pelton was particularly impressed by Waters’ ability to knock down the NBA-three-pointer from off the dribble, an important skill in today’s NBA for a point guard.

As for those prospects who may have lowered their value, the list begins with two very productive All-American college big men – Tennessee’s Grant Williams and Kansas’ Dedric Lawson. Per the ESPN scribes, both may have put too much emphasis on their developing outside games during 5-on-5 action.

Additionally, Western Kentucky big man Charles Bassey and Utah State big man Neemias Queta both underwhelmed, with Schmitz saying both need improvement in different areas of the game (e.g. skill, fluidity, motor) before being ready to contribute at the NBA level.

There’s more from the lead-up to this year’s NBA Draft this afternoon:

  • If the Wizards are interested in a high risk-high reward option with the No. 9 overall selection, Oregon’s Bol Bol may be an intriguing pick, writes Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington.
  • Despite struggling at the combine, Grant Williams does not regret playing in the 5-on-5 sessions, telling Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that he’s “not just trying to show I can shoot, I’m showing I can defend… Be out there and be that guy who was there to win, and cheering on his teammates… I know that defensively I could have been a little better contesting shots. Being analytical — like I normally am — I play different guys certain ways, and that bit me a little bit.” Williams was dinged a bit for only measuring in at 6’6” and potentially being caught up in the “tweener” label.
  • The Celtics have three first-round picks, and while they may not end up keeping all of them, one prospect to keep an eye on for one of their selections is Kentucky guard Tyler Herro. Herro spoke with Boston brass at the combine and said they will be among the handful of teams he will workout for leading up to the draft, per A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
  • LSU freshman guard Javonte Smart is withdrawing his name from the 2019 NBA Draft and returning for his sophomore season in Baton Rouge, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

Northwest Notes: Westbrook, Barton, Rubio, Jazz Workouts

Russell Westbrook dealt with significant pain in his left hand for approximately six weeks before the Thunder were eliminated from the postseason, Brett Dawson of The Athletic reports.

Westbrook, who shot 36% from the field during the opening round, and fellow Thunder All-Star Paul George underwent surgical procedures this week. Westbrook had a ligament repaired in his left hand as well as arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. George had a tendon repaired in his right shoulder and will soon undergo surgery to address a small labrum tear in his left shoulder.

It’s difficult to know how the injuries might impact the Thunder next season, though Westbrook should be ready in plenty of time for training camp, Dawson continues. Expected roster changes over the next four months will have a bigger impact, Dawson adds.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Trail Blazers traded Will Barton to the Nuggets four years ago but Barton downplays the significance of trying to eliminate his former team, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Barton is averaging 9.2 PPG and 4.9 RPG this postseason. “I’m past that. That was a long time ago in my career,” Barton said. “They just happen to be the opponent that we’re playing against and I just want to beat them, not because I used to play with them, just because they’re in our way for trying to advance. That’s the only thing I’m thinking about. I can’t try to make it personal or anything like that.”
  • The Pacers, Bulls and Suns are the most likely landing spots for Ricky Rubio if he doesn’t remain with the Jazz, Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype opines. Rubio could come at a lower cost than other point guard options for Indiana, while he could give Chicago and Phoenix a veteran presence while also grooming a younger player at the position, Urbina adds. Rubio will be an unrestricted free agent after making nearly $15MM this season.
  • The Jazz brought in six draft prospects on Wednesday, according to a tweet from the team’s media relations department. Power forwards Mamadi Diakite (Virginia) and Dewan Hernandez (Miami, Fla.), wings Tyus Battle (Syracuse) and Brandon Randolph (Arizona) and guards Matt Mooney (Texas Tech) and T.J. Gibbs (Notre Dame) were the visitors. Big men Neemias Queta (Utah State), Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State), Silvio De Sousa (Kansas) and Australian Harry Froling and guards Payton Pritchard (Oregon) and Devon Dotson (Kansas) are coming in on Saturday, according to another Jazz tweet.

Full List Of 2019 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 66 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 May 15-19.

While a small handful of top prospects often skip the event, that won’t be the case this year — Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are on the league’s list of 66 names, along with R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver, Darius Garland, De’Andre Hunter, and many more. Of course, those top prospects may not participate fully in all of the workouts and scrimmages at the combine.

A few more names figure to be added to this list, as a select number of the 40 draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp earlier in the week are expected to receive invites to the combine.

Here’s the full list of 66 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech (sophomore)
  2. R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke (freshman)
  3. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (freshman)
  4. Darius Bazley, F, Princeton HS (OH) (N/A)
  5. Bol Bol, C, Oregon (freshman)
  6. Jordan Bone, G, Tennessee (junior)
  7. Brian Bowen, F, USA (born 1998)
  8. Ky Bowman, G, Boston College (junior)
  9. Ignas Brazdeikis, F, Michigan (freshman)
  10. Moses Brown, C, UCLA (freshman)
  11. Brandon Clarke, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  12. Nicolas Claxton, F, Georgia (sophomore)
  13. Jarrett Culver, G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  14. Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  15. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas (freshman)
  16. Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue (junior)
  17. Bruno Fernando, F, Maryland (sophomore)
  18. Daniel Gafford, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  19. Darius Garland, G, Vanderbilt (freshman)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Kansas (freshman)
  21. Kyle Guy, G, Virginia (junior)
  22. Jaylen Hands, G, UCLA (sophomore)
  23. Jaxson Hayes, F/C, Texas (freshman)
  24. Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  25. Jaylen Hoard, F, Wake Forest (freshman)
  26. Talen Horton-Tucker, G, Iowa State (freshman)
  27. De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia (sophomore)
  28. Ty Jerome, G, Virginia (junior)
  29. Cameron Johnson, G, UNC (senior)
  30. Keldon Johnson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  31. Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State (sophomore)
  32. Louis King, F, Oregon (freshman)
  33. Romeo Langford, G, Indiana (freshman)
  34. Dedric Lawson, F, Kansas (junior)
  35. Jalen Lecque, G, Brewster Academy (NH) (N/A)
  36. Nassir Little, F, UNC (freshman)
  37. Charles Matthews, G, Michigan (junior)
  38. Jalen McDaniels, F, San Diego State (sophomore)
  39. Ja Morant, G, Murray State (sophomore)
  40. Zach Norvell Jr., G, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  41. Jaylen Nowell, G, Washington (sophomore)
  42. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville (sophomore)
  43. Chuma Okeke, F, Auburn (sophomore)
  44. KZ Okpala, F, Stanford (sophomore)
  45. Miye Oni, G/F, Yale (junior)
  46. Eric Paschall, F, Villanova (senior)
  47. Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John’s (junior)
  48. Jordan Poole, G, Michigan (sophomore)
  49. Jontay Porter, F, Missouri (sophomore)
  50. Kevin Porter Jr, G, USC (freshman)
  51. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (freshman)
  52. Cam Reddish, F, Duke (freshman)
  53. Naz Reid, C, LSU (freshman)
  54. Isaiah Roby, F, Nebraska (junior)
  55. Luka Samanic, F, Croatia (born 2000)
  56. Admiral Schofield, G, Tennessee (senior)
  57. Simisola Shittu, F, Vanderbilt (freshman)
  58. Killian Tillie, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  59. PJ Washington, F, Kentucky (sophomore)
  60. Tremont Waters, G, LSU (sophomore)
  61. Quinndary Weatherspoon, G, Missippi State (senior)
  62. Coby White, G, UNC (freshman)
  63. Kris Wilkes, G, UCLA (sophomore)
  64. Grant Williams, F, Tennessee (junior)
  65. Zion Williamson, F, Duke (freshman)
  66. Dylan Windler, G, Belmont (senior)

Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga) and Matisse Thybulle (Washington) are among the potential first-round picks who aren’t on the NBA’s list of combine participants, as noted by Jeremy Woo of SI.com and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links).

Kansas’ Devon Dotson To Enter NBA Draft

Freshman guard Devon Dotson has submitted paperwork to make himself eligible for the 2019 NBA draft, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Dotson, a 2018 McDonald’s American and the No. 72 overall prospect by ESPN, has made it clear that this decision is in order to gauge the NBA’s interest in him and that he may very well still return to Lawrence next season.

“After careful consideration with my family and coaches, I have decided to test the waters and enter into the 2019 NBA draft process.” Dotson told ESPN. “I feel it’s a great opportunity to obtain feedback from NBA personnel… I would like to thank God, my family, coach [Bill] Self, the entire coaching staff and teammates, along with the fans of the University of Kansas for their continued support.”

In his first – and possibly only – season at Kansas, Dotson became the Jayhawks’ starting point guard and averaged 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 32 minutes per game. He was named Third-Team All-Big 12 and to the All-Freshman team. Per Givony, the 19-year-old has outstanding quickness and perimeter defense skills, which should earn him an invite to an NBA combine.

Here are several more NBA draft decisions:

  • Markus Howard, G, Marquette (junior), has decided to return to Milwaukee for his senior season with the Golden Eagles (Twitter link via Howard). Howard was ranked the No. 87 overall prospect by Givony on ESPN.
  • Brandon Randolph, G, Arizona (sophomore), will enter his name into the 2019 NBA Draft (Instagram link via Randolph).
  • Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (freshman), will test the NBA Draft waters, per an official release from the Aggies.
  • Keith Braxton, G, St. Francis (PA) (junior), has declared for the 2019 NBA Draft, per an official release from his college program.