Ron Harper Jr.

Raptors Sign Justin Champagnie To Two-Year Contract

The Raptors have signed Justin Champagnie to a two-year contract, Blake Murphy of Sportsnet tweets.

It’s a minimum-salary deal with a $325K partial guarantee for the first year, Murphy adds.

The structure of the contract means Champagnie will still be competing for a roster spot in camp. D.J. Wilson got a similar deal from Toronto last week.

They will compete with Armoni Brooks and David Johnson for the remaining roster openings. Rookie Ron Harper Jr. holds one of the two-way contract spots. That signing is now official, according to the NBA transactions log.

Champagnie held a two-way slot at the end of last season and received a qualifying offer, which made him a restricted free agent. The size of his new partial guarantee makes him ineligible for a two-way slot with Toronto this season, Murphy adds in another tweet.

Champagnie fractured his thumb during Summer League practices, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets, but is expected to fully recover by training camp,

The undrafted wing, who turned 21 last month, appeared in 36 regular-season games last season. He averaged 2.3 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 7.8 MPG.

Ron Harper Jr. Agrees To Two-Way Deal With Raptors

Rutgers guard Ron Harper Jr. will join the Raptors on a two-way contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The son of an NBA player, Harper spent four seasons with the Scarlet Knights before deciding to forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the draft. He averaged 15.8 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 39.8% from three-point range as Rutgers returned to the NCAA Tournament after making its first appearance in 30 years last season.

Harper, an honorable mention All-American, also declared for the draft in 2021, but elected to return to school. He is eighth on ESPN’s list of the top undrafted players.

Draft Workout Notes: Kings, Wizards, Wolves, Jazz, More

The Kings hosted several prospects for pre-draft workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team announced (Twitter links).

The Tuesday group featured Trey McGowens, Ziga Samar, Ron Harper Jr., Brady Manek and Dallas Walton. Wednesday’s group was Jacob Gilyard, Fatts Russell, Yoan Makoundou, Karlo Matkovic, Yannick Nzosa and Kai Sotto.

The Kings control the fourth, 37th and 49th picks in the 2022 draft, and a handful of those players could be targets with one of those second-round picks. Nzosa, Samar, Harper and Matkovic are ranked between 53rd and 58th on ESPN’s big board.

Here are more workout-related notes from around the NBA:

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Magic, Wizards

The Hornets hosted a pre-draft workout with six prospects on Monday, the team tweets. That group included Keon Ellis (Alabama), Michael Foster Jr. (G League Ignite), Kellan Grady (Kentucky), Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers), Brandon Horvath (Utah State) and Žiga Samar (Fuenlabrada/Spain).

We have more from the Southeast Division:

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Etienne, Harper, Draft

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, who was hired in 2020, wanted Rick Brunson on his staff from the beginning, one source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. However, some members of upper management had concerns about the circumstances of Brunson’s departure from Minnesota, Berman’s source said. The former Timberwolves assistant resigned after being accused of improper conduct toward women, though he and his lawyer denied any wrongdoing.

Although Brunson is now set to join Thibodeau’s staff in New York, it doesn’t sound like he intends to put the full-court press on his son Jalen Brunson, an unrestricted free agent this summer, to join him. According to Berman, Rick recently told a confidant that he just wants his son to sign the best deal he can, one representative of his market value.

Marc Stein reported today on Substack that there’s “no grave concern bubbling” in Dallas about the Knicks’ hiring of Rick Brunson, and Berman essentially says the same thing in his story. According to Berman, a source who recently spoke to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he’d be “shocked” if Dallas doesn’t re-sign Jalen Brunson.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

Draft Notes: Banchero, Harper, Withdrawals, Boeheim, Combine, Mock Drafts

Paolo Banchero is expected to be among the first names off the board in next month’s draft, and the Duke star did some campaigning to be the No. 1 overall pick in an interview with ESPN following Tuesday’s lottery (video link).

Banchero earned second-team All-America honors during his freshman season with the Blue Devils, averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 39 games. Possessing exceptional passing skills and offensive versatility for his 6’10” size, Banchero told the ESPN crew he patterns his game after players such as LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Carmelo Anthony and said he’ll be ready to contribute right away to whichever team drafts him.

“From day one, they’ll get versatility for sure,” Banchero said. “There’s not a position on the court where I’m not comfortable, with the ball in my hands or the ball off my hands. I’m going to be all right. I’m going to be an immediate impact because I’m ready physically and I’m ready mentally. I am ready to get to work.”

There’s more on the draft:

  • Rutgers forward Ron Harper Jr. has signed with Roc Nation Sports, officially ending his college career, according to Brian Fonseca of NJ.com. The senior earned honorable mention All-America honors, was a two-time all-Big Ten selection and helped the Scarlet Knights reach the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons after a 30-year absence.
  • Kyle Lofton, formerly of St. Bonaventure, has decided to withdraw from the draft, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. He will transfer to Florida for next season.
  • Andre Kelly, who played the last four years for California, is also taking his name out of the draft, Rothstein adds (Twitter link). He will use his extra year of eligibility to transfer to UC Santa Barbara.
  • Hofstra’s Aaron Estrada also plans to exit the draft and return to school, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim has worked out for the Knicks, Kings and Warriors and had an impressive showing at the G League Elite Camp, per Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Boeheim will hold a Pro Day in Chicago today.
  • Seven players from the Elite Camp were able to earn spots at the NBA’s draft combine, the G League announced on Twitter. They are LSU’s Darius Days, Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Lofton Jr., Connecticut’s Tyrese Martin, Seton Hall’s Jared Rhoden, Houston’s Marcus Sasser, Texas Tech’s Bryson Williams and Kansas’ Jalen Wilson.
  • Auburn forward Jabari Smith is number one on the list of top 20 prospects by John Hollinger of The Athletic. Banchero is the only other prospect in Hollinger’s top tier, and he ranks Purdue guard Jaden Ivey and Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren right below them.
  • Several new mock drafts were released after Tuesday’s lottery. Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic both have Smith going to the Magic at No. 1, followed by Holmgren to the Thunder at No. 2 and Banchero to the Rockets at No. 3. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has Holmgren going to Orlando, Smith to Oklahoma City and Banchero to Houston.

Full List Of 2022 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 76 players who have been invited – and who are expected to attend – next week’s draft combine in Chicago. The combine workouts will take place from May 18-20.

Over the course of the week, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft likely won’t participate in scrimmages, those top prospects are still expected to attend. That group includes Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey.

A handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp could be invited to participate in the combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 76 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link):

  1. Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas (senior)
  2. Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee (freshman)
  3. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke (freshman)
  4. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  5. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  6. Hugo Besson, G, Australia (born 2001)
  7. Malaki Branham, G/F, Ohio State (freshman)
  8. Christian Braun, G, Kansas (junior)
  9. Kendall Brown, F, Baylor (freshman)
  10. John Butler Jr., F/C, Florida State (freshman)
  11. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (junior)
  12. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  13. Max Christie, G, Michigan State (freshman)
  14. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois (junior)
  15. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  16. Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin (sophomore)
  17. JD Davison, G, Alabama (freshman)
  18. Moussa Diabate, F, Michigan (freshman)
  19. Ousmane Dieng, F, Australia (born 2003)
  20. Khalifa Diop, C, Spain (born 2002)
  21. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (freshman)
  22. Tari Eason, F, LSU (sophomore)
  23. Keon Ellis, G, Alabama (senior)
  24. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  25. Collin Gillespie, G, Villanova (super-senior)
  26. AJ Griffin, F, Duke (freshman)
  27. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  28. Ron Harper Jr., F, Rutgers (senior)
  29. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (freshman)
  30. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford (freshman)
  31. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (sophomore)
  32. Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana (junior)
  33. Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia (born 2003)
  34. Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA (junior)
  35. Ismael Kamagate, C, France (born 2001)
  36. Trevor Keels, G, Duke (freshman)
  37. Walker Kessler, F/C, Auburn (sophomore)
  38. Christian Koloko, C, Arizona (junior)
  39. Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest (junior)
  40. Justin Lewis, F, Marquette (sophomore)
  41. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State (junior)
  42. Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona (sophomore)
  43. Matthew Mayer, F, Baylor (senior)
  44. Bryce McGowens, G, Nebraska (freshman)
  45. Leonard Miller, F, Canada (born 2003)
  46. Josh Minott, F, Memphis (freshman)
  47. Aminu Mohammed, G/F, Georgetown (freshman)
  48. Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State (junior)
  49. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  50. Wendell Moore, F, Duke (junior)
  51. Keegan Murray, F, Iowa (sophomore)
  52. Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
  53. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt (junior)
  54. Gabriele Procida, G/F, Italy (born 2002)
  55. Orlando Robinson, F/C, Fresno State (junior)
  56. David Roddy, F, Colorado State (junior)
  57. Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo (sophomore)
  58. Dereon Seabron, G, NC State (sophomore)
  59. Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  60. Jabari Smith, F, Auburn (freshman)
  61. Terquavion Smith, G, NC State (freshman)
  62. Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor (freshman)
  63. Matteo Spagnolo, G, Italy (born 2003)
  64. Julian Strawther, G/F, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  65. Dalen Terry, G, Arizona (sophomore)
  66. Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  67. Jabari Walker, F, Colorado (sophomore)
  68. TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. Peyton Watson, G/F, UCLA (freshman)
  70. Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame (freshman)
  71. Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest (super-senior)
  72. Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara (junior)
  73. Jaylin Williams, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  74. Mark Williams, C, Duke (sophomore)
  75. Trevion Williams, F/C, Purdue (senior)
  76. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)

Ron Harper Jr., Others To Enter 2022 NBA Draft

Rutgers senior forward Ron Harper Jr. is declaring for the 2022 NBA draft and will go pro rather than taking advantage of his final year of NCAA eligibility, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

“I’m ready to put myself out there to get myself in the best position possible to be drafted,” Harper said. “I’m going all-in.”

Harper projects as a potential second-round pick, according to Givony, who has the 6’6″ wing ranked 65th on ESPN’s big board. Harper Jr., the son of former NBA guard and five-time champion Ron Harper Sr., tells ESPN that he envisions himself becoming a Robert Covington-esque three-and-D role player in the NBA.

“The NBA is more spaced-out basketball; there are different defensive rules,” he said. “I had to take a lot of contested 3-pointers this year. Those will be open ones in the NBA. The biggest thing NBA teams will see is I’m more athletic than a lot of people realize. I’m going to get my body in the best shape possible to help with that, including improving my eating habits.”

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

  • A former teammate of Harper who transfered from Rutgers to Bryant in 2020 is also declaring for the draft, according to Adam Zagoria of NJ.com (Twitter link), who hears from a source that senior guard Peter Kiss is entering his name in the 2022 pool. It’s unclear if Kiss – the top D-1 scorer this season with 25.2 PPG – is just testing the waters or if he intends to go pro.
  • UConn senior guard Tyrese Martin will forgo his extra year of NCAA eligibility and enter the 2022 NBA draft, he announced on Instagram. Martin averaged 13.6 PPG and 7.5 RPG on .449/.430/.689 shooting in 29 games (32.1 MPG) for the Huskies in 2021/22.
  • Utah State senior forward Justin Bean will give up his final year of NCAA eligibility and declare for the 2022 draft, he announced on Twitter. Bean was a two-time All-Defensive player in the Mountain West Conference and made the All-MWC Second Team this season after averaging 17.4 PPG and 9.9 RPG in 34 games (35.4 MPG).
  • Kansas State guard Nijel Pack, who just completed his sophomore season, will put his name in the 2022 draft pool, he announced on Instagram. The wording of Pack’s statement suggests he’s just testing the waters for now. He averaged 17.4 PPG with a .436 3PT% for the Wildcats in 2021/22.

NBA Announces 88 Early Entrants Withdrawing From Draft

The NBA issued a press release today announcing that 88 prospects who declared for the 2021 draft as early entrants earlier this year have withdrawn their names from the draft pool.

We’ve passed along updates on most of these players in recent weeks, but the following names on today’s list are ones that we hadn’t written about yet. They’ve pulled out of the 2021 NBA draft and will retain their NCAA eligibility for at least one more year:

  1. Josiah Agnew, G, Denmark Technical College (SC) (freshman)
  2. Dalonte Brown, F, Miami (Ohio) (senior)
  3. D.J. Burns Jr., F, Winthrop (sophomore)
  4. Lydell Elmore, F, High Point (senior)
  5. Patrick Greene Jr., G, National Park College (AR) (sophomore)
  6. Ron Harper Jr., G/F, Rutgers (junior)
  7. Trevor Hudgins, G, NW Missouri State (junior)
  8. David Jean-Baptiste, G, Chattanooga (senior)
  9. Jalen Johnson, F, Mississippi State (senior)
  10. Jaizec Lottie, G, Flagler (FL) (senior)
  11. Loudon Love, F, Wright State (senior)
  12. Issa Muhammad, F, Daytona State (FL) (sophomore)
  13. Jordan Phillips, G/F, UT Arlington (junior)
  14. Antonio Reeves, G, Illinois State (sophomore)
  15. Shawn Royal Jr., G/F, Victory Rock Prep (FL) (post-graduate)
  16. Maleek Taylor, F, Allen University (SC) (senior)
  17. Alonzo Verge Jr., G, Arizona State (senior)
  18. Richard Washington Jr., G/F, San Jose State (senior)
  19. Keith Williams, G, Cincinnati (senior)

Our unofficial list of early entrants is now up to date, to the best of our knowledge. While the NCAA’s early entrant withdrawal deadline came and went this past Wednesday, the NBA’s own deadline is on July 19, so there will still be a number of early entrants removing their names from the draft in the next nine days — especially international prospects, since the NCAA deadline didn’t apply to them at all.

We’ll continue updating our list of early entrants through the NBA’s withdrawal deadline on July 19, and will eventually provide an official list of this year’s draft-eligible early entrants.

Draft Notes: Juzang, Abmas, Last-Minute Decisions

After leading UCLA to the Final Four, Johnny Juzang will withdraw from the NBA draft and return for his junior season. Juzang announced his decision on Twitter about an hour before the NCAA’s Wednesday deadline of midnight Eastern Time for early entrants to pull out of the draft and retain their eligibility.

“Going through the draft process has been an amazing experience,” he wrote. “I was blessed to connect with great people, learn and grow, and get a feel for life at the next level. I want to thank everyone who has helped me in this process including my family, trainers, school and especially my dad who helped me for countless hours!”

There was talk that Juzang might be a first-round pick after an outstanding performance in the NCAA tournament, but a disappointing showing at the combine hurt his status, according to Chad Ford (Twitter link), who speculates that he could be back in first-round consideration next year.

There’s more on last-minute draft decisions: