Cormac Ryan

Draft Notes: Shannon, Dante, Blazers, Magic, Antoine

Illinois guard Terrence Shannon has been found not guilty of all charges at his criminal trial in Kansas, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Shannon was facing felony charges of first-degree rape and sexual aggravated battery.

According to Givony, NBA teams have been closely monitoring Shannon’s legal situation. At one point he was a projected first-round pick, Givony notes, but he’s currently ranked No. 33 on ESPN’s big board.

Here are some more draft-related notes:

  • Oregon center N’Faly Dante, who is ranked No. 75 on ESPN’s board, appealed to the NCAA for an extra year of college eligibility, but that request has been denied, sources tell Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • The Trail Blazers hosted a pre-draft workout on Thursday featuring Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, Serbian guard Nikola Djurisic, Duke big man Kyle Filipowski, Memphis guard David Jones, Arizona guard Pelle Larsson and Maryland guard Jahmir Young, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. Portland controls four picks in the upcoming draft: a pair of lottery picks (Nos. 7 and 14) and two second-rounders (Nos. 34 and 40). Da Silva (No. 17 on ESPN’s board) and Filipowski (No. 21) are considered probable first-rounders.
  • The Magic held a pre-draft workout on Wednesday that featured Purdue’s Lance Jones, Syracuse’s Judah Mintz and North Carolina’s Cormac Ryan, according to Cody Taylor of Rookie Wire (Twitter link).
  • Radford guard Bryan Antoine, a McDonald’s All-American in High School, has a workout on Thursday with the Nets, a league source tells Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link). The Knicks will host Antoine for a workout next week, Zagoria adds.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Hurley, Beal, Suns, Hield, Clippers, Warriors

Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up (YouTube link) on Friday, Brian Windhorst stressed that Dan Hurley coaching the Lakers is far from a sure thing, despite UConn’s head coach being open to L.A.’s advances.

“I know that this has momentum as (Adrian Wojnarowski) talked about, but it’s been emphasized to me that this is not a done deal,” Windhorst said (hat tip to RealGM). “That there is still relationship building and conversations that need to take place that are probably going to take place over the next couple of days.”

A source tells Jeff Goodman of Field of 68 (Twitter link) that Hurley was going into today’s meeting with the Lakers “completely open-minded” and is expected to fly back home and weigh his decision over the weekend.

Here are a few more notes from around the Pacific:

  • Suns guard Bradley Beal underwent a follow-up procedure on his nose shortly after the team was eliminated from the playoffs this spring, reports Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Beal, who initially had a procedure performed on his nose after breaking it in January, said in March that he still had to get his septum “realigned,” adding that it would likely happen after the season.
  • Responding to a report that claims the Suns will be among the teams to watch for Buddy Hield this offseason, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 tweets that he doesn’t expect Phoenix to have any interest in the veteran sharpshooter. Barring significant cost-cutting moves, the Suns won’t be able to offer more than the veteran’s minimum to free agents or to acquire them via sign-and-trade, so Hield is probably an unrealistic target to begin with.
  • The Clippers hosted four senior guards as part of a pre-draft workout on Thursday, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that Xavier Johnson (Southern Illinois), Tristen Newton (UConn), Cormac Ryan (UNC), and Tyler Thomas (Hofstra) took part in the session. None of those prospects ranks higher than No. 68 (Newton) on ESPN’s big board, but they could be in the second-round mix. The Clippers’ lone 2024 draft pick is 46th overall.
  • The Warriors have officially named Jon Phelps their senior director of basketball strategy and team counsel, confirming the front office addition in a press release (Twitter link). Anthony Slater of The Athletic reported last week that Golden State would be hiring Phelps away from the Pistons following his decade-long stint in Detroit.

Draft Decisions: Bona, J. James, Da Silva, More

College players who declared for the 2023 NBA draft as early entrants while maintaining their NCAA eligibility have until the end of the day on Wednesday to either withdraw from the draft or forgo their remaining eligibility. Players who take the latter route could still technically pull out of the draft before the NBA’s June 12 deadline, but wouldn’t have the option of returning to school if they miss the NCAA’s May 31 deadline.

As a result, we’re getting a flurry of updates today on prospects who had been testing the draft waters.

UCLA’s Adem Bona, for instance, has decided to remove his name from the draft pool and rejoin the Bruins for his sophomore year, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Bona, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, had been the No. 48 player on ESPN’s 2023 big board.

Tennessee wing Josiah-Jordan James, the No. 77 player on ESPN’s board, has also decided to pull out of the 2023 draft and will take advantage of his final year of college eligibility, he announced on Twitter. Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva – ESPN’s No. 83 prospect – will head back to school too, as he tells Givony.

While most players announcing decisions today are withdrawing from the draft, that’s not the case for everyone. Memphis forward Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu, for instance, has opted to keep his name in the draft and go pro, agent Scott Nichols tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

In our latest batch of updates, however, Akobundu-Ehiogu is a rarity. Here are several more early entrants who are withdrawing from the draft:

South Carolina’s GG Jackson Among Players Declaring For Draft

South Carolina freshman Gregory “GG” Jackson II announced on Friday that he has decided to forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility and declare for the 2023 NBA draft, per a press release from the school.

A 6’9″ forward, Jackson averaged 15.4 points and 5.9 rebounds on .384/.324/.677 shooting in 32 games (31.9 MPG) for the Gamecocks in his first and only college season. He earned a spot on the SEC’s All-Freshman team, but has proven to be a difficult player for NBA scouts to evaluate, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

As Givony explains, Jackson was the youngest player in college basketball and wasn’t ready to be a featured option as a freshman, as his shooting percentages show. While he exhibited flashes of brilliance, Givony says NBA evaluators have concerns about his decision-making, his effort on defense, and his body language when things aren’t going well. The 18-year-old also criticized his own coaches in an Instagram Live session last month.

Jackson currently comes in at No. 28 on ESPN’s big board, though Givony had him ranked as a borderline lottery pick earlier in the college season.

Here are a few of the other players who have recently declared for the 2023 NBA draft:

  • Colorado State senior guard Isaiah Stevens announced today on Twitter that he’ll test the draft waters while leaving the door open to return for one more year. Stevens has averaged 15.2 PPG and 5.3 APG with a .390 3PT% in 117 career college games (34.7 MPG).
  • Rutgers junior center Clifford Omoruyi is entering his name in the 2023 draft pool while maintaining his remaining NCAA eligibility, he announced on Instagram. Omoruyi nearly averaged a double-double in 2022/23, with 13.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 2.1 BPG in 34 appearances (30.3 MPG).
  • Notre Dame senior guard Cormac Ryan has entered the transfer portal while also declaring for the 2023 draft, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Ryan could withdraw his name from the draft and play one more college season, but it sounds like it won’t be with the Fighting Irish.
  • Butler forward Manny Bates is testing the draft waters following his senior season, he tells Rothstein (Twitter link). Bates began his college career at NC State before transferring to the Bulldogs last season.
  • Niagara senior guard Noah Thomasson is entering the draft without forgoing his final year of eligibility, according to an announcement from the school. He’s coming off a breakout year in which he averaged a team-leading 19.5 points per game on .481/.386/.667 shooting.
  • Syracuse senior guard Joseph Girard is entering both the draft pool and the transfer portal, he announced on Twitter. Girard put up 16.4 PPG and 3.0 APG with a .381 3PT% for Syracuse in 2022/23.