Niven Hart

Draft Notes: Hart, Hayes, Nnaji, Mamukelashvili

Fresno State guard Niven Hart has decided to keep his name in the 2020 NBA draft, forgoing his remaining college eligibility and going pro, he announced on Twitter.

Hart, who was a freshman in 2019/20, put up modest numbers in his first and only college season, averaging 8.7 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 26 games (17.7 MPG) off the bench for the Bulldogs. He did show some consistency from beyond the arc, knocking down 39.8% of his three-point attempts. However, he doesn’t appear on experts’ big boards for 2020, making him a long shot to be drafted.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Appearing on the Envergure podcast (French video link), agent Yann Balikouzou indicated that his client Killian Hayes will interview with the Timberwolves and Warriors, but doesn’t expect to talk to the Cavaliers, since they’re unlikely to draft a guard (hat tip to Darren Wolfson).
  • Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji had an interview with the Rockets and is meeting with the Warriors this week, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.
  • Adam Zagoria of passes along updates on a pair of draft prospects, writing that Seton Hall forward Sandro Mamukelashvili has met with nearly 20 NBA teams, including the Knicks, and tweeting that Louisville big man Steven Enoch has interviewed with 23 teams, including the Nets and Knicks. Mamukelashvili, who is still testing the draft waters, remains undecided about his plans for 2020/21, Zagoria notes.
  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic takes an early look at the top wings in the 2021 draft class, starting with Oklahoma State commit Cade Cunningham and G League prospect Jalen Green.

Draft Notes: Ado, Hart, Velicka, Mouaha

Following the first round of the NFL’s first ever virtual draft on Thursday, we have a better idea of what that “virtual draft” actually looks like. Which means, as Zach Harper of The Athletic writes, the NBA can evaluate what works and what doesn’t as the league prepares for the possibility that it will have to conduct its 2020 draft in a similar manner.

Harper pointed to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s appearance on the telecast and the presence of prospects’ family members and pets as things that worked, but wasn’t a fan of the national anthem to start the night, commissioner Roger Goodell’s wooden delivery, and the looping videos of fans on a screen behind Goodell.

As we wait to see what exactly the 2020 NBA draft will look like, here are a few updates on players entering the draft pool:

  • Mississippi State center Abdul Ado has entered the 2020 draft, as Joel Coleman of The Starkville Daily News writes. Ado, who averaged 5.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 1.9 BPG as a junior this past season, will be maintaining his college eligibility during the process and will likely end up returning for his senior year in 2020/21 after getting feedback from NBA evaluators, a source tells Coleman.
  • Fresno State freshman guard Niven Hart has announced (via Twitter) that he’ll be testing the draft waters following a 2019/20 season in which he averaged 8.7 PPG with a .398 3PT% in 26 games off the bench for the Bulldogs.
  • Lithuanian point guard Arnas Velicka, who tested the draft waters a year ago, has entered the 2020 draft, as reported by David Hein and confirmed by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links). Velicka, who spent the 2019/20 season on loan to CBet Prienai from Zalgiris Kaunas, has been a standout for Lithuania’s junior national teams in FIBA competitions, Givony notes.
  • Cameroonian guard Aristide Mouaha has declared for the draft, agent Mario Scotti announced on Twitter (hat tip to Sportando). The 19-year-old played this past season for the Roseto Sharks in Italy’s Serie A2 league.