Sagaba Konate

Atlantic Notes: Udoka, Knicks, Celtics

As we relayed earlier this week, new Sixers coach Ime Udoka is replacing Monty Williams as lead assistant coach under head man Brett Brown. Unlike Williams, however, Idoka will also be tasked with being the team’s new defensive coordinator next season, writes Rich Hofmann of The Athletic.

Udoka has interviewed unsuccessfully for some head coaching positions over the last couple offseasons in Cleveland, Toronto, Detroit, Charlotte and Orlando, but this new position for the Sixers will still be a promotion for him, as Ettore Messina is the lead assistant in San Antonio.

Getting the opportunity to be a lead assistant may very well increase Udoka’s chances of landing a head coaching role in the near future, especially considering the success that Brown’s other assistants for the Sixers like Lloyd Pierce (Hawks) and Williams (Suns) have had when they had the opportunity to interview for top jobs.

In the meantime, Udoka will oversee a defense that largely underperformed during the 2018/19 season given the talent on the Sixers’ roster.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division this afternoon:

Southeast Notes: Heat, Hawks, Jerome, Vucevic

The Heat probably don’t have enough to offer to trade into the top 10 of the draft, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald opines. Miami has the No. 13 pick and would likely have to get a third party involved in order to move up, Chiang continues, noting that the Heat can’t combine their first-rounder with their 2020 or 2022 first-round pick under current rules. Miami might be able to secure a future protected first-rounder if it trades down in the first round. If the club trades the pick without getting a first-rounder in return, the incentive would be to dump a big contract, Chiang adds.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks worked out six prospects on Friday, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. The group included guards Jalek Felton (BC Nokia), Joshua Obiesie (Oliver Wurzburg) and Charles Matthews (Michigan), forwards Daulton Hommes (Point Loma) and Nikola Miskovic (Mega Bemax) and center Sagaba Konate (West Virginia).
  • Shooting guard Ty Jerome, a mid- to late first-round prospect, worked out for the Magic on Friday, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Jerome is ranked No. 25 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. The Magic hold the No. 16 pick in the first round.
  • The Magic worked out Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke on Wednesday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Clarke is ranked No. 13 overall by Givony. Forwards Paul Eboua (Italy), Miskovic and Grant Williams (Tennessee) visited on the same day as well as point guards Chris Clemons (Campbell) and Jeremiah Martin (Memphis).
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic will be highly coveted on the free agent market but he’ll strongly consider staying put in Orlando, Stefan Djordjevic of Eurohoops.net relays. “I’m satisfied in Orlando. This was our best season since I arrived,” Vucevic said. “Everything clicked with the arrival of the new coach. We advanced to the playoffs surpassing all expectations and everything’s fine on that side. I’ve also been reading that many are interested but to be honest, I don’t know which teams want me. When I see all the offers, I’ll think and decide.”
  • Taking on a bad contract or two in order to add draft picks might be a prudent strategy for the Heat next summer, Winderman writes in a commentary.

Draft Decisions: Konate, King, Enoch, Queta, More

We rounded up a series of draft decisions by early entrants this morning, but with the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline (May 29) looming, we’ve already got many more decisions to pass along.

Here’s the latest:

  • West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate plans to remain in the 2019 NBA draft and will forgo his final year of college eligibility, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Louisville junior forward V.J. King is also keeping his name in the draft, he announced today (via Twitter). However, the Cardinals will get another key player back, as Steven Enoch‘s father told 93.9 The Ville that his son is “looking forward to next season” in Louisville (Twitter link).
  • Utah State center Neemias Queta announced today (via a Twitter video) that he’ll return to school for his sophomore season.
  • Three Xavier prospects who tested the draft waters as early entrants – Paul Scruggs, Tyrique Jones, and Naji Marshall – are headed back to the Musketeers, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Texas A&M guard Savion Flagg tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) that he’ll remove his name from the draft and rejoin the Aggies for his junior season.
  • Providence junior guard Alpha Diallo is also expected to withdraw from the draft and go back to school, agent Javon Phillips tells Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Dayton forward Obi Toppin announced in an Instagram post that he’ll pull out of the draft and head back to school for his sophomore year.
  • Keith Braxton, a junior guard out of St. Francis (PA), has elected to withdraw from the draft after testing the waters, tweets Rothstein.

NBA Announces 80 Players For G League Elite Camp

The NBA has announced in a press release that 80 players are set to participate in its G League Elite Camp next week in Chicago from May 12-14. The event will include 40 prospects who are eligible for this year’s draft, as well as 40 standout prospects from the 2018/19 G League season.

Heading into this spring, the NBA revamped its G League Elite Camp, which in past years has simply showcased some of the NBAGL’s top performers.  That aspect of the event will still exist, but G League players will only participate in the first two days of the event.

The second half of the event will feature 40 draft-eligible prospects who aren’t among the 60 prospects invited to the actual draft combine. The list of participants was determined by an NBA team vote, and those prospects will work out and scrimmage during the final two days of the event — there will be no overlap with the G League portion of the event.

As this week’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating l in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which takes place from May 15-19 in Chicago.

Here are the list of draft-eligible prospects who are expected to participate in the 2019 G League Elite Mini Camp, per the NBA:

  1. Tyus Battle (Syracuse)
  2. Bennie Boatwright (USC)
  3. Phil Booth (Villanova)
  4. Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
  5. Bryce Brown (Auburn)
  6. Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State)
  7. Chris Clemons (Campbell)
  8. Amir Coffey (Minnesota)
  9. Tyler Cook (Iowa)
  10. Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
  11. Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida)
  12. Javin DeLaurier (Duke)
  13. Mamadi Diakite (Virginia)
  14. CJ Elleby (Washington State)
  15. Tacko Fall (UCF)
  16. Robert Franks (Washington State)
  17. Jared Harper (Auburn)
  18. Ethan Happ (Wisconsin)
  19. Dewan Hernandez (Miami)
  20. Amir Hinton (Shaw (NC))
  21. DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa)
  22. Sagaba Konate (West Virginia)
  23. Matur Maker (Mississauga Prep (Canada))
  24. Terance Mann (Florida State)
  25. Caleb Martin (Nevada)
  26. Cody Martin (Nevada)
  27. Luke Maye (North Carolina)
  28. Trey Mourning (Georgetown)
  29. Andrew Nembhard (Florida)
  30. James Palmer Jr. (Nebraska)
  31. Josh Perkins (Gonzaga)
  32. Reggie Perry (Mississippi State)
  33. Jalen Pickett (Siena)
  34. Myles Powell (Seton Hall)
  35. Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech)
  36. Marial Shayok (Iowa State)
  37. Max Strus (DePaul)
  38. Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State)
  39. Kenny Wooten (Oregon)
  40. Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra)

Here are the 40 G League players set to participate in the G League Elite Camp:

  1. Josh Adams (Raptors 905)
  2. Jaylen Barford (Greensboro Swarm)
  3. Amida Brimah (Austin Spurs)
  4. Jared Brownridge (Delaware Blue Coats)
  5. Antonius Cleveland (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  6. Charles Cooke (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  7. Cody Demps (Stockton Kings)
  8. Aaron Epps (Northern Arizona Suns)
  9. Abdul Gaddy (Oklahoma City Blue)
  10. John Gillon (Greensboro Swarm)
  11. Kaiser Gates (Windy City Bulls)
  12. Isaac Haas (Salt Lake City Stars)
  13. Johnny Hamilton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  14. Dusty Hannahs (Memphis Hustle)
  15. Zak Irvin (Westchester Knicks)
  16. Peter Jok (Northern Arizona Suns)
  17. Matt Jones (Stockton Kings)
  18. Marcus Lee (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  19. Zach Lofton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  20. Tahjere McCall (Long Island Nets)
  21. Brandon McCoy (Wisconsin Herd)
  22. MiKyle McIntosh (Raptors 905)
  23. Jordan McLaughlin (Long Island Nets)
  24. Jaylen Morris (Erie BayHawks)
  25. Mychal Mulder (Windy City Bulls)
  26. Malik Newman (Canton Charge)
  27. Retin Obasohan (Northern Arizona Suns)
  28. Chinanu Onuaku (Greensboro Swarm)
  29. Norvel Pelle (Delaware Blue Coats)
  30. Darel Poirier (Capital City Go-Go)
  31. Billy Preston (Texas Legends)
  32. Desi Rodriguez (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario)
  33. Kenneth Smith (Grand Rapids Drive)
  34. Richard Solomon (Oklahoma City Blue)
  35. Emanuel Terry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  36. Juan Toscano-Anderson (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  37. Dakarai Tucker (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  38. Andrew White III (Maine Red Claws)
  39. Thomas Wimbush (Long Island Nets)
  40. Todd Withers (Grand Rapids Drive)

Draft Updates: Lecque, Konate, Bowman

North Carolina State recruit Jalen Lecque has submitted paperwork to expore entering the 2019 NBA draft, his father Derrick tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com. Lecque and his father believe the 6’4″ guard should be draft-eligible because he’s in his fifth year of high school and after meeting the NCAA requirements to graduate high school in 2018.

“We’re waiting to hear if he’s eligible or not,” Derrick Lecque told Givony. “We’re waiting for them to evaluate the transcripts.”

As Givony details, NBA scouts have attended Lecque’s games at Brewster Academy to evaluate him in the event that he becomes eligible. He appears to have a strong case for inclusion in the 2019 draft class, Givony notes, but he’ll have to wait for an official decision before he submits his early-entrant paperwork. He currently ranks No. 76 on Givony’s big board for 2019 prospects.

Here are a few more of Tuesday’s draft-related updates:

  • West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate tells Jon Rothstein of SI.com (Twitter link) that he’ll enter the 2019 NBA draft now that his junior year is over. According to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter), Konate is testing the waters and keeping his options open, but is focusing on the draft for now. The No. 83 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Konate averaged 13.6 PPG and 8.0 RPG in an injury-shortened 2018/19 season.
  • The 84th overall prospect on ESPN’s top 100, Boston College guard Ky Bowman, has also decided to enter the draft, writes Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com. Bowman, who will hire an agent, put up 19.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 4.0 APG in his junior year in 2018/19.
  • Earlier today, we published our running list of early entrants for the 2019 NBA draft. That list, which will be updated multiple times daily leading up to the April 21 entry deadline, now includes both Konate and Bowman.

Draft Notes: Doncic, Maye, Roach, Konate

While he has long been considered a strong candidate to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Luka Doncic no longer appears to be a lock to even be a top-three selection, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link). While it’s hard to know what to believe at this time of year, Givony explains to Kevin Pelton that the Kings, Hawks, and Grizzlies didn’t send anyone to watch the EuroLeague Final Four in person last week, and several NBA evaluators seem to have cooled on Doncic.

Givony believes those evaluators are overthinking matters, but admits “the skepticism is a lot more prevalent than expected.” As ESPN’s draft guru explains, some people around the league have concerns about Doncic’s athleticism – or lack thereof – and his ability to keep improving. However, Givony points to Doncic’s incredible workload over the last 18 months, along with European teams’ relative inattention to players’ diets and conditioning, as reasons why the young star may have not looked quite as impressive in recent months as he did last fall. On an NBA schedule, working with NBA coaches, those issues could be addressed.

Ultimately, Givony and Pelton both believe that Doncic is worthy of the No. 1 pick, with Givony writing that the 19-year-old is “too productive, too skilled, too smart and too good a fit in the modern game to pass up.” However, it remains to be seen how many teams at the top of the draft will agree with that assessment.

Here’s more on the 2018 NBA draft:

  • UNC forward Luke Maye has decided to return to the Tar Heels for his senior year after testing the draft waters, he announced today on Instagram. Maye, who earned a spot on the All-ACC First Team and was named the conference’s Most Improved Player, averaged a double-double (16.9 PPG, 10.1 RPG) in 2017/18.
  • Texas guard Kerwin Roach II has withdrawn his name from the 2018 draft and will head back to the Longhorns for his senior year, the school announced in a press release. “I’m hungry for the opportunity to make a career in the NBA, but I realize I have to improve in so many areas on the court,” Roach said in a statement. “I’m also on pace to earn my degree, and that is a big deal for me and my family.”
  • After testing the draft waters without an agent, West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate will head back to school for his junior year, he confirms to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Sean Deveney of The Sporting News and the staff at Basketball Insiders are among those who have released new mock drafts this week.

Draft Updates: Washington, Wilkes, Happ, Konate

Kentucky forward PJ Washington will test the draft waters after his freshman year, he announced on Tuesday (via Twitter). In his statement, Washington stressed that he loves the Kentucky program and isn’t in a hurry to decide on going pro, but was encouraged by coach John Calipari to get feedback on where he stands.

In the view of ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Washington is the No. 47 prospect in this year’s class, which would give him a good chance of being drafted this spring. The 6’7″ forward is coming off a freshman season in which he averaged 10.8 PPG and 5.7 RPG for the Wildcats.

Here are a few more of the latest draft updates:

  • UCLA forward Kris Wilkes will enter the 2018 NBA draft without hiring an agent, he tells Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). The No. 68 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Wilkes posted 13.7 PPG and 4.9 RPG as a freshman for the Bruins in 2017/18.
  • The University of Wisconsin announced on Tuesday (via Twitter) that junior big man Ethan Happ will test the draft waters. “The underclassmen rule allows Ethan and others to participate in workouts with teams and potentially the NBA combine,” coach Greg Gard said of the junior forward/center, the 77th player on ESPN’s top 100. “This experience will be invaluable for him and will ultimately make him a better player.”
  • West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate will also test the draft waters, per a report from The Associated Press. In his sophomore year, Konate averaged 10.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and an impressive 3.2 BPG in just 25.4 minutes per contest.
  • Iowa redshirt sophomore Isaiah Moss has declared for the 2018 NBA draft but won’t hire an agent, retaining his NCAA eligibility for now, the program announced in a press release. The 6’5″ guard averaged 11.1 PPG on .420/.386/.879 shooting in 2017/18. Like other underclassmen who aren’t hiring an agent, Moss will have until May 30 to withdraw his name in order to retain his NCAA eligibility.