Paolo Banchero

And-Ones: Kerr, 2022 Draft, Mitchell, 10-Day Contracts, Kings

Warriors coach Steve Kerr is pushing for fouls committed to prevent fast breaks to be upgraded to technicals, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. That would mirror the FIBA rule regarding transition-stopping take fouls. “It’s terrible,” Kerr said. “It’s terrible for the game. It’s terrible for the fans.”

Kerr added that the NBA is “very serious” about changing its current rule. The league’s competition committee has discussed an increased penalty for take fouls.

We have more from around basketball world:

  • The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie has posted his latest mock draft and the first player taken doesn’t play for Gonzaga of Duke. He projects Auburn forward Jabari Smith going off the board first due to his superior shooting ability for a big man, giving him a slight edge over Duke’s Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren.
  • Smith is also No. 1 on the latest rankings from Chad Ford of NBABigBoard.com. Ford even goes as far to say that’s he’s a consensus No. 1 among scouts and GMs he’s talked to, with Holmgren ranking No. 2.
  • Former Pistons forward Tony Mitchell is signing in Uruguay with Club Trouville, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. The 29-year-old last played in Venezuela. He saw action in 21 NBA games with Detroit during the 2013/14 season.
  • What has it been like for NBA executives to try to bring in players when members of their 15-man roster enter protocols? ESPN’s Brian Windhorst takes an in-depth look at the frenzy of free agent signings on 10-day deals to fill in for players who test positive.
  • The Kings have been fined $50K for violating league rules prohibiting team owners and executives from interacting with scorer’s table personnel during game play, NBA Communications tweets.  Assistant GM Wes Wilcox was fined $15K.

Draft Notes: Banchero, Holmgren, Smith, Ivey, NCAA

Tonight’s highly anticipated matchup between between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 5 Duke features the top two prospects on most 2022 draft boards — freshmen Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren.

Sam Vecenie of The Athletic recently shared his third mock draft for 2022, with Banchero, a 6’10” forward for Duke, at No. 1, and Holmgren, a 7’0″ center for Gonzaga, at No. 2. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report currently has the two players flipped, with Holmgren’s elite shot-blocking and offensive versatility slightly outranking Banchero’s physical tools and high skill-level.

Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated thinks that Holmgren has more at stake in Friday’s marquee matchup, because it might be his only opportunity to prove he can physically compete against two strong, NBA-bodied big men in Banchero and Mark Williams (No. 31 on Vecenie’s board). Holmgren has a huge 7’6″ wingspan, but weighs just 195 pounds.

The game will also feature three other projected draft picks, per Vecenie’s board: No. 12 A.J. Griffin (Duke), No. 17 Trevor Keels (Duke) and No. 44 Drew Timme (Gonzaga).

The two 6-0 teams face off at 9:30 PM CT on ESPN in what is likely to be the most heavily-scouted game of the men’s college basketball season.

Here are some more 2022 draft-related notes:

  • Some scouts viewed Banchero and Holmgren in a tier of their own for 2022. However, freshman Jabari Smith of Auburn has been turning heads with his strong play, and Wasserman writes that he could be a future star as well. Vecenie has Smith third on his board, while Jeremy Woo has him second in his initial mock draft, ahead of Holmgren. Smith, who’s six months younger than Banchero and a year younger than Holmgren, is a 6’10” forward with an intriguing mix of skills, and is viewed as the best shooter of the projected top three picks.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic breaks down 10 potential draft picks — two sophomores and eight upperclassmen. The players range from projected high lottery picks (Jaden Ivey of Purdue, number five on Vecenie’s board) to fringe second-rounders (Scotty Pippen Jr. of Vanderbilt, not currently on Vecenie’s board).
  • Jake Fisher of Bleacher Report wonders whether the NCAA is still the best path to the NBA for top prospects. He explores the pros and cons of the NCAA and alternatives such as G League Ignite, Overtime Elite, and playing internationally.

And-Ones: Howard, Banchero, UAE, Underperforming Teams

The University of Michigan has agreed to a long-term contract extension with men’s basketball head coach Juwan Howard, the program announced on Tuesday in a press release. Howard’s new deal will run through the 2025/26 season, locking him up for the next five years.

Howard has been identified as a potential NBA head coaching candidate in recent years, but the former Heat assistant has repeatedly shot down rumors that he’d be interested in returning to the league. If he changes his mind during the next five years, Howard could probably negotiate an exit from his deal with the Wolverines. But the fact that he agreed to that extension in the first place suggests he doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Duke’s Paolo Banchero, a projected top-two pick in the 2022 NBA draft, was arrested on Sunday for aiding and abetting DWI, according to Steve Wiseman of The Raleigh News & Observer. Blue Devils guard Michael Savarino, who was driving a vehicle registered to Banchero, was charged with DWI. Both players have December court dates.
  • NBA games will be played in the United Arab Emirates for the first time next fall, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, who reports that the league will schedule two exhibition games in Abu Dhabi in October 2022. The NBA has previously played exhibitions in the Middle East in Israel, but this will be the league’s first trip to the UAE.
  • A handful of ESPN writers took a closer look at some underperforming teams to assess how concerned those clubs should be about their slow starts. The Hawks, Bucks, and Celtics are among the teams that shouldn’t be too worried quite yet, but the panic meter is already high for the Pelicans.

And-Ones: M. Gasol, I. Thomas, 2022 Draft, Sharpe

After reuniting with Pau Gasol last season, FC Barcelona is attempting to recruit his brother Marc Gasol, team manager Juan Carlos Navarro confirmed this week (link via Mundo Deportivo; hat tip to Sportando).

Navarro classified the team’s discussions with Gasol as “conversations” rather than “negotiations,” but suggested that the Spanish center hasn’t ruled out the possibility. Gasol, who was traded from the Lakers to the Grizzlies and then was waived during the offseason, decided to return home to Spain rather than continue his career in the NBA. It remains to be seen if he’ll play on either side of the Atlantic in 2021/22.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In a documentary-style YouTube video called ‘For The Love of The Game,’ free agent guard Isaiah Thomas says he nearly signed with an NBA team during the summer. “This offseason I worked out for three teams and got very positive feedback from every organization,” Thomas said, per Marcus Kwesi O’Mard of NESN.com. “There was one team that I was basically very close to signing (with), then it didn’t happen.” The 32-year-old is attempting to make an NBA comeback after spending just 10 days on a roster last season.
  • In the first draft of his big board for the 2022 NBA draft, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic contends that Duke forward Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren are in their own tier at the top of the ’22 class. According to Vecenie, there are a lot of question marks beyond the top two at this point.
  • Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 1 prospect in ESPN’s ranking of the 2022 recruiting class, announced on Tuesday (via Twitter) that he’ll be enrolling at Kentucky in January. Sharpe won’t be eligible for the 2022 draft because he didn’t graduate high school before the NBA’s 2021/22 season began, notes ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link).

And-Ones: USA Basketball, Scariolo, OTE, 2022 Draft

Martin E. Dempsey has been reelected as the USA Basketball chairperson for 2021-24, the program announced on Monday in a press release. Dempsey, a retired U.S. General, was first named to the role in 2016.

USA Basketball also expanded its Board of Directors from 11 individuals to 15. Kevin Durant, Harrison Barnes, Sue Bird, and NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum are among the most notable members of the board. The board of directors is responsible for overseeing the program and making major USA Basketball decisions, such as naming Grant Hill the managing director of the national men’s team.

We’re still waiting on Hill to announce who will replace Gregg Popovich as the Team USA men’s coach for the next four-year cycle, which will include the 2023 FIBA World Cup and the 2024 Olympics. Steve Kerr is rumored to be the frontrunner.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In an interesting interview with Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com, former Raptors assistant and current Virtus Bologna head coach Sergio Scariolo spoke about the challenges that European coaches face when trying to get high-level opportunities in the NBA. “I don’t recall many European coaches being there, which is something to think over,” Scariolo said. “‘We want you here, we want you to help, but we’re extremely cautious in giving front-of-the-bench responsibilities to European coaches.'”
  • Scouts came away from Overtime Elite’s Pro Day impressed by how the new developmental program is operating, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who says it’s clearly being run professionally and the level of investment is “substantial.” Among OTE’s prospects, 2022 draft-eligible forward Kok Yat was a standout during the Pro Day scrimmages and figures to show up on more experts’ top-100 lists going forward, Hollinger says.
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report recently released updated versions of their NBA mock drafts for 2022. Vecenie has Duke freshman Paolo Banchero as his No. 1 pick, while Gonzaga freshman Chet Holmgren is atop Wasserman’s mock.

And-Ones: Kilpatrick, Bennett, Bates, Mahmoud, 2022 Draft, Baker

Israel’s Hapoel Jerusalem continued its push to sign former NBA players, adding Sean Kilpatrick and Anthony Bennett to its roster, according to the team’s social media feed (Twitter links). Kilpatrick played in Turkey last season and hasn’t appeared in an NBA contest since 2018. Bennett, a former No. 1 overall pick, had his contract with a Puerto Rican franchise terminated last month. He hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2016/17 season. As previously noted, Hapoel Jerusalem also announced the signing of Pistons and Cavaliers big man Thon Maker.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Emoni Bates, considered the best high school prospect in the country, has committed to the University of Memphis, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. He reclassified into the Class of 2021  but still won’t be eligible for the NBA draft until 2023 because his 19th birthday isn’t until January 2023. A 6’9″ small forward from Ypsilanti, Michigan, Bates committed to Michigan State last summer, but he de-committed in April.
  • Anas Mahmoud played with the Raptors in the Las Vegas summer league and is looking to become the first homegrown Egyptian player to make the NBA. Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes a closer look at the 7-footer, who could be ticketed to the G League if he doesn’t gain a spot on the Toronto roster. “I’ll probably be the first Egyptian coming out of the Egyptian league,” Mahmoud said. “I was a little different (from other Egyptians who have made the NBA) because I only got here right (before) college and went back to play in the (Egyptian) league. It’s a pleasure and it’s an honor.”
  • Gonzaga power forward Chet Holmgren, Duke power forward Paolo Banchero and G League Ignite shooting guard Jaden Hardy top ESPN Jonathan Givony’s initial top-100 list for the 2022 draft. Givony also explores a number of storylines surrounding next year’s projected draft class, including the lack of point guard depth.
  • Former NBA guard Ron Baker quietly retired last year and he’s got a new job, according to Shelby Kellerman of the Wichita Business Journal. Baker has been hired as a project manager in Ascension Via Christi’s strategy and business development department. Baker, 28, appeared in 96 games during his NBA career, including a combined 15 with the Knicks and Wizards during the 2018/19 season.

And-Ones: Colangelo, Love, Irving, 2022 Draft, Bleijenbergh

Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball, admitted that adding Cavaliers big man Kevin Love to the 12-man roster was a mistake, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports. Speaking to reporters this week, Colangelo was blunt in his assessment of Love, stating that the 2012 gold medalist was not in shape when he showed up to camp. Love eventually withdrew from Team USA before the squad headed to Tokyo.

“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play,” Colangelo said. “He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. And on the basis of that, we’re looking at someone with international experience who at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball. You know, being like a 12th man on a roster. Well, it didn’t work out. He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out. So you move on. Call it a mistake.”

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Nets guard Kyrie Irving has fired Roc Nation as his representative, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. It’s unclear why Irving, who can opt out of his contract after next season, made the move. He did rip Nike on social media for its shoe design and marketing of the upcoming Kyrie8 brand.
  • Just hours after the completion of this year’s draft, Jonathan Givony of ESPN released his 2022 mock draft. Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren heads the list, followed by Duke’s Paolo Banchero and the G League Ignite’s Jaden Hardy.
  • Belgian guard Vrenz Bleijenbergh was a candidate to be a second-round pick, but went undrafted on Thursday. Bleijenbergh explained on Twitter that none of the teams interested in selecting him were willing to offer a guaranteed contract and thus, he couldn’t get out of his European deal. “I had multiple teams offering me two-way deals. But because of my contract in Europe, I wasn’t be able to sign them, it was against the rules,” he wrote. “The only option was a guaranteed contract, I didn’t receive it. It really hurts, I was really close.”

And-Ones: Maldonado, Holmgren, Banchero, Fieldhouse

Team Dynasty Academy guard Emmanuel Maldonado has decided to sign with the Overtime Elite League, he announced on social media.

Maldonado, who stands at 6’4″, is the sixth player to sign with the league thus far, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). He’s also a candidate to represent Puerto Rico at the FIBA U19 World Cup in July.

The Overtime Elite league serves as an alternative pathway for players to turn pro. Top recruits Matt and Ryan Bewley became the first prospects to commit to the league last month, as we relayed in a separate story.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Top 2022 prospect Chet Holmgren has been named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, ESPN’s Myron Medcalf writes. Holmgren, a Gonzaga commit, averaged 20.8 points, 12.6 rebounds and 4.7 blocks last season for Minnehaha Academy. As Medcalf notes, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and several other high-profile players have won the award in the past.
  • Paolo Banchero is unable to join Italy for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament this summer, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter links). Banchero, a Duke prospect, will reportedly miss the tournament due to school-related issues despite receiving his passport.
  • Renovations are ongoing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Pacers and the WNBA’s Fever, Scott Agness of FieldhouseFiles tweets. As a result, the Fever will be forced to play the remainder of their season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum — the original home of the ABA Pacers.

And-Ones: Nets Security, Zipser, Mannion, Mozgov, TBT

A Nets security official who made contact with Bucks forward P.J. Tucker during a Game 3 skirmish has been barred by the NBA from working any more games in Milwaukee for the rest of the series, according to Joe Vardon, Eric Nehm and Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. The official, Antjuan Lambert, also won’t be allowed at courtside during the games in Brooklyn.

Lambert is employed by the team, but he has also been working for Kevin Durant since the star forward signed with Brooklyn in 2019. When Durant had an altercation with Tucker in the third quarter of Game 3, Lambert intervened and bumped into Tucker.

“In the heat of the moment you know people are coming to de-escalate things and try to get things under control and not bump and escalate and have things become a problem than what we’re trying to address or de-escalate,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. “And, in the 24-48 hours since, if it’s a Nets security guy and he’s bumping our player and things like that, that doesn’t seem like that’s the protocol and what we’d expect from any type of security.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former Bulls forward Paul Zipser had to undergo emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage this week, writes Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Zipser is now playing for FC Bayern in Germany.
  • Warriors guard Nico Mannion will be part of the Italian team for the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament in Belgrade, notes Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. Duke prospect Paolo Banchero, who received an Italian passport several months ago, hasn’t made a final decision on whether he’ll join Mannion.
  • Former NBA center Timofey Mozgov is expected to represent Russia in its upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament, Borghesan adds in a separate piece. Injuries limited Mozgov to six games this season for his Khimki team, but he recently returned to action.
  • Veteran NBA big man Amir Johnson will participate in The Basketball Tournament this summer, tweets J.D. Shaw of Hoops Rumors. Also playing will be Bruno Caboclo, who appeared in six games for the Rockets this season (Twitter link).

Draft Notes: G. Brown, Stewart, Mikhailovskii, Hollatz, More

Texas forward Greg Brown is going pro after a single college season, announcing on Instagram that he has decided to enter the 2021 NBA draft and has signed with BDA Sports for representation.

Brown put up relatively modest numbers as a freshman for the Longhorns in 2020/21, averaging 9.3 points and 6.2 rebounds in 26 games (20.6 MPG). However, his athleticism and his long-term upside make him an intriguing prospect — ESPN ranks him at No. 29 on its big board for 2021.

Here are several more draft-related notes and updates:

  • After initially testing the draft waters, Mississippi State sophomore wing D.J. Stewart has decided to hire an agent and remain in the draft, according to Paul Jones of Gene’s Page. Stewart comes in at No. 86 on ESPN’s top-100 list.
  • Russian wing Nikita Mikhailovskii, who sneaks onto ESPN’s big board at No. 94, is entering the draft, agent Arturs Kalnitis tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). The 20-year-old averaged 8.5 PPG on .468/.418/.811 shooting in 24 games (18.3 MPG) for BC Avtodor this season.
  • German guard Justus Hollatz has also declared for the draft, according to agent Dragan Jankovski of BeoBasket (Twitter link). Hollatz currently plays for the Hamburg Towers in Germany.
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report passes along some of the latest buzz he has heard on this year’s draft-eligible prospects, identifying Joshua Primo and JT Thor as potential risers on NBA teams’ boards.
  • Looking ahead to the 2022 NBA draft, Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link) provides his impressions of some of the top prospects who participated in the Iverson Classic over the weekend, including Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero.