Shamorie Ponds

Draft Notes: McDaniels, Ponds, Oni, Nwora, Childs

San Diego State forward Jalen McDaniels, the No. 36 prospect on ESPN’s big board, has elected to forgo his remaining college eligibility by hiring an agent and entering the 2019 NBA draft pool, the school announced this week.

“We appreciate the positive contributions Jalen made to our program and to the University,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “Jalen now has the opportunity to pursue his life-long goal of playing in the National Basketball Association. We wish him and his family well.”

McDaniels, who has a chance to be selected in the first round in June, entered the 2018 draft, but withdrew his name at the 11th hour and returned to the Aztecs for one more year. He averaged 15.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 2.1 APG in his sophomore season.

Here are more updates on early entrants for the 2019 draft:

  • St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds, who tested the draft waters a year ago, will enter his name in the draft pool again this year. This time around, the junior appears more likely to go pro, as he tells Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com (Twitter link) that he’ll hire an agent. Ponds is the No. 51 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
  • Yale junior wing Miye Oni, the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2019, has informed Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com that he’s declaring for the 2019 NBA draft. “I submitted my name to the Undergraduate Advisory Request to legally protect myself and my NCAA eligibility, but I have every intention of staying in the draft,” said Oni, the No. 53 prospect on Givony’s top 100. “I’ll be signing with agent Harrison Gaines of SLASH Sport.”
  • Louisville sophomore Jordan Nwora will test the draft waters, as Givony details at ESPN.com. Nwora, the 76th-rated prospect on ESPN’s top 100, will plan on going pro if he gets positive feedback from teams and evaluators this spring, but is leaving the door open to return to the Cardinals.
  • BYU junior forward Yoeli Childs, who withdrew from the 2018 draft after testing the waters, will once again enter his name in this year’s class, he announced this week (via Twitter). Based on his statement, it sounds like Childs intends to keep his name in the draft and go pro.

St. John’s Shamorie Ponds Returning To College

St. John’s Shamorie Ponds has decided to withdraw his name from the draft prior to Wednesday’s deadline, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets.

The Lakers, Nets, Cavaliers, Jazz and Nuggets were among the teams that worked out the 6’1” guard this month. However, the odds were stacked against him when he didn’t receive an invite to the draft combine.

The sophomore guard put up a 21.6/5.0/4.7 line for the Red Storm this past season. He was ranked No. 61 among ESPN Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 prospects.

Draft Notes: B. Brown, Govan, Lakers, Bulls

Kansas State junior guard Barry Brown will be returning to the Wildcats for his senior year, he confirmed in an announcement today on Twitter.

“Although the process was more than enjoyable, I have decided to withdraw my name from the 2018 NBA Draft,” Brown wrote in a statement. “Thank you to everyone who supported me, and I am looking forward to finishing my senior season as a WILDCAT!”

Brown, who had workouts with the Lakers and Nets, averaged 15.9 PPG, 3.2 APG, 3.1 RPG, and 1.8 SPG for Kansas State in 2017/18. He’ll look to build on those numbers in his senior season before becoming draft-eligible again next spring.

Here are more draft-related notes and updates:

East Draft Notes: Hawks, Wizards, Raptors, Nets

UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday and Villanova floor leader Jalen Brunson headline the list of six players the Hawks will work out on Friday, according to a team press release. Holiday is ranked No. 17 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, while Brunson is rated No. 26 overall.

Gary Clark (Cincinnati), Rawle Alkins (Arizona), Juwan Morgan (Indiana) and Tony Carr (Penn State) are the other players trying to make a favorable impression. The Hawks hosted Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova), Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech), Jalen McDaniels (San Diego State), Markis McDuffie (Wichita State), Doral Moore (Wake Forest) and Brandon Sampson (LSU) on Thursday.

In other draft workouts by Eastern Conference clubs:

Draft Workouts: Jazz, Ball, Ona Embo, Pinson

Armed with the 21st and 52nd overall picks in next month’s draft, the Jazz are taking a look at a wide range of prospects this week, according to the team.

On Tuesday, the Jazz brought in Jaylen Barford (Arkansas), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Dwight Coleby (Western Kentucky), Jock Landale (St. Mary’s), Caleb Martin (Nevada), and Kenneth Ogbe (Utah Valley) for auditions (Twitter links).

The team’s series of workouts continued today with Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), Chimezie Metu (USC), Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s), PJ Washington (Kentucky), Mustapha Heron (Auburn), and Matt Mobley (St. Bonaventure) earning a look from the Jazz (Twitter link).

Here’s more pre-draft workout news from around the league:

  • After a stint in Lithuania, LiAngelo Ball has returned stateside to audition for NBA teams ahead of the 2018 draft. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), Lonzo Ball‘s younger brother interviewed with the Thunder and Suns at the Pro Basketball Combine, and has private workouts on tap with the Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors.
  • A report earlier this week indicated that Tulane’s Ray Ona Embo is expected to withdraw from the draft, but it appears he’s going through with his scheduled workouts before making a final decision. Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) hears from Ona Embo’s brother that the sophomore guard has a workout with the Hornets lined up for Friday.
  • Former UNC wing Theo Pinson has worked out for the Celtics and Timberwolves so far, and will audition for the Rockets on Thursday, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Pinson also has a Knicks workout on his calendar for June 12, Zagoria adds.
  • According to Zagoria (via Twitter), Syracuse early entrant Tyus Battle is working out for the Magic on Wednesday.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Nurkic, O’Neale

While making a decision on Nikola Jokic‘s team option – and possible subsequent free agency – will be the Nuggets‘ top priority this offseason, the club will face several challenges in the coming weeks and months, writes Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (Insider link).

As Marks outlines, one of those challenges will be finding a way to bring back Will Barton next season, since it looks on paper like the Nuggets won’t be able to afford him. Still, with Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, and Darrell Arthur all expected to be on expiring contracts in 2018/19, Denver shouldn’t worry too much about going over the tax line, according to Marks, who points out that the team should be able to cut costs when those veteran contracts expire in the summer of 2019. That would mean avoiding multiple years in tax territory.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Six prospects participated in the Nuggets‘ latest pre-draft group workout, according to Chris Dempsey of Nuggets.com, who provides the list (via Twitter): Tyler Cook (Iowa), Jon Elmore (Marshall), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Mustapha Heron (Auburn), Charles Matthews (Michigan), and Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s).
  • Frank Urbina of HoopsHype examines four potential landing spots for restricted free agent Jusuf Nurkic, identifying the Mavericks, Hawks, Wizards as possible suitors. However, Urbina writes that a return to the Trail Blazers is the most likely outcome for Nurkic.
  • Dakari Johnson didn’t play a whole lot in his rookie season, but he’s still just 22 years old and may still have a place in the Thunder‘s long-term plans, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman.
  • After spending the 2017/18 season with the Jazz as an undrafted free agent, Royce O’Neale called his rookie year a “dream come true,” as Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News details. While O’Neale wasn’t a lock to stick with Utah for multiple years coming into the season, his $1.38MM non-guaranteed salary for 2018/19 looks like a bargain now, McDonald observes.

Draft Notes: DiVincenzo, Spellman, Walker, Bearden

Coach Jay Wright will recommend to Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman that they return to Villanova if it doesn’t look like they’ll be drafted in the first round, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. DiVincenzo goes to the Mavericks at No. 33 in the latest mock draft compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, while Spellman isn’t projected to be taken. Players have until May 30 to make their decisions.

“Omari and Donte are out there to try to prove themselves as first-round picks,” Wright said of his players’ trips to the NBA Draft Combine. “For them, I hope they are. And I think this process has been good for them. I think they will get some good information.”

DiVincenzo met with the LakersMagicTimberwolvesTrail BlazersCavaliersSpursHawks and Grizzlies at the combine and said he received a lot of “positive feedback.” Spellman has upcoming workouts with the Lakers [May 23], Clippers [May 24], Spurs [26] and Jazz [28] that will likely influence his decision, Zagoria adds.

There’s more draft news as the deadline for decisions draws closer:

  • The Sixers may consider Miami guard Lonnie Walker at No. 10, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Walker met with Philadelphia officials Friday and was impressed by the experience. “It went well,” he said. “See a little bit of Elton Brand and all those guys, I felt like a little kid, seeing guys I watched on TV.” Givony has Walker projected at No. 13 to the Clippers.
  • Lamonte Bearden of Western Kentucky will sign with an agent and stay in the draft, tweets ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. The guard averaged 11.8 points and 3.4 assists as a redshirt junior.
  • Kent State’s Jaylin Walker tweeted that he will return to school for his senior season. He averaged 16.6 points per game for the Golden Flashes this season.
  • The Nuggets have pre-draft workouts scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, the team announced in an e-mail. Scheduled to appear at Monday’s session are Tyler Davis of Texas A&M, Cody Martin of Nevada, William McDowell-White of Brose Bamberg, Isaiah Reese of Canisius, Admiral Schofield of Tennessee and Reid Travis of Stanford. Tuesday’s schedule features Tyler Cook of Iowa, Jon Elmore of Marshall, Ethan Happ of Wisconsin, Mustapha Heron of Auburn, Charles Matthews of Michigan and Shamorie Ponds of St. John’s.

Draft Notes: Ponds, Heron, Spellman, Melton

After being passed over for the NBA Draft Combine, Shamorie Ponds of St. John’s is concentrating on team workouts to prove himself, writes Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog. The sophomore guard put up a 21.6/5.0/4.7 line for the Red Storm this season, but wasn’t among the 69 players who received combine invitations.

“For sure, I was most definitely upset,” he said. “I feel I deserved it.”

Ponds worked out today for the Cavaliers and has held a session with the Nets. Cleveland GM Koby Altman spoke with all the participants after the workout, and Ponds said he received positive feedback. “[Altman] said he really likes my game a lot, he really enjoyed watching it,” Ponds added. “There was great energy after the workout.”

Ponds still has workouts remaining with the Jazz, Pistons and Lakers and wants to reschedule sessions with the Knicks and Hawks that he had to cancel because of final exams. He will use the results of those workouts to determine whether to remain in the draft, a decision that has to be made by May 30.

There are more draft-related notes to pass on:

Draft Notes: Ponds, Lakers, Grizzlies, Cavaliers

The NBA draft lottery is still a week away, but teams have already started bringing in prospects for pre-draft workouts. Those workouts are especially important for early entrants who are still testing the waters, since they’re a great opportunity for those players to find out where they stand with NBA teams.

One of those players is St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds, who entered the draft process this spring as a sophomore, and will have until May 30 to decide whether to withdraw and return to school for his junior year. According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link), Ponds has already worked out for the Celtics, and has auditions for the Nets and Cavaliers lined up this weekend.

Here are a few more draft-related updates, with a focus on workouts:

Draft Notes: Combine, Franks, Gates, Vick, Wiggins

Earlier today, we passed along the list of the 69 players expected to attend this month’s NBA draft combine in Chicago, as reported by Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. In his latest Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony takes a closer look at that list, noting that it’s often predictive of which players will be drafted in June.

As Givony notes, Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike, Georgia’s Yante Maten, UCLA’s Jaylen Hands, and Maryland’s Bruno Fernando all received invites to the combine despite not being on ESPN’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects. That’s an indication that NBA teams are more bullish on those players than Givony, who says they’ll be added to his top 100 in the next update.

Meanwhile, Florida’s Jalen Hudson, St. John’s Shamorie Ponds, and Purdue’s Carsen Edwards are among the underclassmen in Givony’s top 100 who weren’t invited to the combine. Those players, along with a few other top-100 prospects, haven’t hired agents and can still withdraw their names from this year’s pool — not receiving an invite to the combine probably means they’re more likely to return to school.

Let’s round up a few more draft-related notes…

  • Following up on his analysis of the combine invitee list, Givony notes in a tweet that Robert Franks (Washington State), Kaiser Gates (Xavier), and Lagerald Vick (Kansas) are among the early entrants who have now hired agents and won’t be returning to school.
  • One intriguing combine invitee is Mitchell Robinson, who didn’t play college ball after being named a McDonald’s All-American. According to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter link), Robinson has signed with veteran NBA agent Raymond Brothers, who says his new client is “easily a top-three talent.”
  • Junior forward Demajeo Wiggins, who averaged a double-double in 2017/18 (13.7 PPG, 10.1 RPG), will be returning to Bowling Green for his senior season, he tells ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link). Wiggins had been testing the draft waters without an agent.
  • Pre-draft team workouts are underway, with the Lakers bringing in six prospects for a look on Thursday. According to Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet (Twitter link), Sedrick Barefield (Utah), Hayden Dalton (Wyoming), Marcus Foster (Creighton), Deng Adel (Louisville), Anas Mahmoud (Louisville), and Ethan Happ (Wisconsin) earned a look from the Lakers.