Kevin McCullar

Draft Notes: Combine, D. Jones, O. Moore, McCullar, Phelps

NBA teams and evaluators were a little underwhelmed by last week’s draft combine in Chicago, per Jeremy Woo of (Insider link). A total of 37 prospects opted not to take part in scrimmages, which resulted in some “watered-down” games, Woo writes, noting that executives felt the level of competition was lower than in most recent years.

The NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement will introduce guidelines that require top prospects to attend and participate in more aspects of the annual combine, but they still won’t be compelled to play in scrimmages. It remains unclear just how much the new CBA will require of prospects — Woo says it’s hard to imagine the league forcing a top-10 prospect to go through combine drills.

For what it’s worth, while Sam Vecenie of The Athletic believes the scrimmages matter and was “dumbfounded” by the fact that certain players opted out of them, he says that medical evaluations and in-person interviews are the aspects of the combine that NBA teams care about the most.

Here’s more on the 2023 NBA draft:

  • Dillon Jones was the big winner of the G League Elite Camp earlier this month, according to Vecenie, who says the Weber State wing has gone from an afterthought to a prospect who has a very real chance to be a second-round pick.
  • San Jose State forward Omari Moore will keep his name in the draft rather than take advantage of his final year of NCAA eligibility, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The No. 69 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Moore isn’t a lock to be drafted, but is highly regarded enough that he could get an opportunity to make an NBA roster, perhaps on a two-way contract.
  • Kansas guard Kevin McCullar, who ranks right behind Moore on ESPN’s board at No. 70, will use his final year of college eligibility, having decided to withdraw from the draft and return to the Jayhawks for his “super-senior” season, according to a press release from the school. He’ll be automatically draft-eligible in 2024.
  • SMU guard Zhuric Phelps will return to school for his junior year, as Joseph Hoyt of The Dallas Morning News writes. Phelps announced in April that he would test the draft waters, but didn’t show up on the NBA’s official early entrant list last month, so there was some confusion about whether or not he actually declared. Either way, he won’t be draft-eligible in 2023.

NBA Reveals Players Expected At 2023 Draft Combine

The NBA has announced 78 players that are expected to attend this year’s draft combine, scheduled for May 15-21 at in Chicago, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets.

Additionally, a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which takes place May 13-14 in Chicago, will be invited to participate in the combine.

Players will have interviews with NBA teams and participate in five-on-five scrimmages, as well as shooting, strength and agility drills. Some top prospects opt out of the scrimmages.

Victor Wembanyama, the projected top pick, is not on the list. His French League season is still ongoing.

The list of invitees is as follows:

Draft Notes: McCullar, Cook, Clingan, Early Entrants

Kansas guard Kevin McCullar announced this week that he’ll enter his name in the 2023 NBA draft pool while maintaining his NCAA eligibility, as Michael Swain of writes.

McCullar, who played his first three college seasons at Texas Tech before transferring to the Jayhawks, averaged 10.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 2.0 SPG in 34 games (30.6 MPG) as a senior in 2022/23, earning spots on the All-Big 12 third team and the conference’s All-Defensive squad.

McCullar has one year of college eligibility left due to COVID-19, but is a candidate to be drafted in 2023 if he decides to go pro. He currently ranks 59th overall on ESPN’s big board.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Junior guard Jalen Cook, who intended to declare for the draft coming off his second consecutive All-AAC season at Tulane, has decided to transfer back to LSU, where he began his college career, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. It sounds like Cook intends to use at least one more season of college eligibility rather than going pro this year.
  • After winning a national championship with UConn as a freshman, center Donovan Clingan will remain at school rather than going pro, he announced on Twitter. Clingan’s numbers as a reserve in 2022/23 were modest (6.9 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 13.1 MPG), but Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) said multiple NBA evaluators believe the big man would’ve been selected in the 25-40 range if he’d entered the draft.
  • The following players have declared for the 2023 NBA draft and will test the waters as early entrants:

Draft Notes: Mohammed, Decisions, 2022 Mock Drafts, More

Georgetown guard Aminu Mohammed, the No. 80 prospect on ESPN’s big board, will remain in the 2022 NBA draft, sources tell Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Mohammed averaged 13.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 31 games (32.2 MPG) as a freshman for the Hoyas, but struggled with his shot, posting a slash line of .379/.310/.722.

Guard Donovan Williams will also stay in the draft, he told Rothstein (via Twitter). Williams put up 12.7 PPG and 3.3 RPG for UNLV last season.

Northern Iowa guard AJ Green is staying in the draft, he told Cole Bair of 1650KCNZ and The Cedar Rapids Gazette (Twitter link). Green was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year for the Panthers.

Former Texas Tech guard Kevin McCullar is withdrawing from the draft and transferring to Kansas, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). McCullar averaged 10.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 1.4 SPG as a junior in 2021/22.

With the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline less than four hours away, here are some more draft-related notes:

  • Former Minnesota guard Payton Willis worked out for the Timberwolves on Tuesday and also has a workout scheduled with the Grizzlies later this week, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). Willis has exhausted his eligibility after spending five seasons in college.
  • Jonathan Givony of ESPN provides his latest mock draft for ’22 (Insider link). He has Michigan’s Caleb Houstan, who just announced he’s staying in the draft, going No. 25 to the Spurs.
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report also released an updated mock draft, with inside information on several prospects. He reports that G League Ignite guard/forward Dyson Daniels could go as high as No. 4, while Ohio State’s Malaki Branham, another draft riser, could be a lottery pick in the Nos. 8-14 range.
  • In a separate article for ESPN (Insider link), Givony explores which ’22 draft prospects are comparable to five breakout players of the ’21/22 postseason. He writes that G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy, projected to go No. 22 in his mock, resembles Golden State’s Jordan Poole as an aggressive scorer with questionable shot selection and defense.

44 Prospects Announced For 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp

The NBA G League has formally announced its field of 44 draft prospects for the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp.

The event, which will take place May 16 and 17 in Chicago, “gives draft prospects an opportunity to display their skills in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives over the course of the camp by playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills.”

The top performers from the camp will be invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which will take place from May 18-22 in Chicago. Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers wing Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

Here’s the list of 44 draft-eligible attendees:

The list of attendees features 13 players on ESPN’s big board, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via Twitter), so some players have a chance to be drafted.

The top-ranked prospect at the camp is Scheierman (No. 69), who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals on .508/.469/.802 shooting this season for South Dakota State (35 games, 33.3 minutes per contest).

MSU’s Gabe Brown Among Early Entrants For 2022 Draft

Michigan State senior wing Gabe Brown will forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility and enter the 2022 NBA draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, who tweets that Brown is signing with Parlay Sports for representation.

The No. 94 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Brown was a full-time starter for the Spartans in 2021/22, averaging 11.6 PPG and 3.8 RPG in 36 games (28.9 MPG). His calling card is his three-point shooting — he knocked down 39.3% of his attempts from beyond the arc over the last two seasons.

Brown’s MSU teammate Marcus Bingham also won’t be back with the Spartans next season, telling Mike Lacett of 13 On Your Side (video link) that he’s going through the NBA draft process. The senior center averaged 9.3 PPG and 6.3 RPG on .534/.415/.747 shooting in 35 games (18.7 MPG) for Michigan State in 2021/22.

Here are a few more players who are entering the 2022 NBA draft:

Expected to forgo remaining NCAA eligibility:

Testing the draft waters:

Our full list of early entrants for the 2022 NBA draft, which will be constantly updated in the next several weeks, can be found right here.