Sharife Cooper

Hawks Sign Sharife Cooper To Two-Way Contract

The Hawks have signed second-round pick Sharife Cooper to a two-way contract, according to the official transactions log at NBA.com.

Cooper, the 48th overall pick in last Thursday’s draft, had a brief college career, playing just 12 games in his freshman year for Auburn before a left ankle injury derailed his season. He looked good in his limited action though, averaging 20.2 PPG, 8.1 APG, and 4.3 RPG in 33.1 minutes per contest for the Tigers.

Signing Cooper to a two-way contract means Atlanta won’t have to save a spot for him on the 15-man regular season roster. He’ll occupy one of the team’s two-way slots instead and will be eligible to appear in up to 50 NBA games while on that contract.

It remains to be seen who will join Cooper on that second two-way deal in Atlanta. The team has a qualifying offer out to Skylar Mays, one of its two-way players from 2020/21, but so far he hasn’t accepted it.

Draft Notes: Cooper, Bezhanishvili, Williams, Johnson

Potential late lottery pick Sharife Cooper has been making the rounds. He’s worked out for the Thunder, Rockets, Warriors, Lakers, Clippers and Celtics, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. As previously noted, Cooper has worked out for the Hornets and has also visited the Pacers. The Auburn point guard is currently ranked No. 17 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft-related intel:

  • Giorgi Bezhanishvili has recently worked out for the Spurs, Hornets and Bulls, Zagoria reports in another tweet. The junior forward who played for Illinois is a potential second-round selection.
  • Ziaire Williams was brought in for a second workout with the Magic, draft expert Chad Ford tweets. The Stanford freshman wing is ranked No. 24 by ESPN, but Ford views Williams as a potential lottery selection. Orlando owns the No. 5 and 8 picks.
  • Jalen Johnson left Duke in mid-February after losing playing time but he brushes aside questions about his character, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes. “Those really aren’t red flags,” Johnson said. “People say a lot of things about me, but they say those things without knowing me. … I don’t like seeing that stuff and I know my parents see that stuff, and I know it hurts them, because at the end of the day these people are making judgments without knowing me, without speaking to me, without saying a word to me.” Johnson is still expected to go in the lottery.

Draft Notes: Garza, Cooper, Pacers, Mock Drafts

The Sixers, who are in the market for a reserve center, worked out a pair of big men today, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Iowa’s Luka Garza, the two-time national player of the year, was in Philadelphia, along with Utah State’s Neemias Queta.

Garza, who is projected to be taken anywhere from the end of the first round to the middle of the second round, has dropped weight since the college season ended in an effort to become more mobile on defense. Queta was named Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference and was a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors.

With Dwight Howard entering free agency, Pompey notes that the Sixers don’t have a reliable backup to Joel Embiid. Philadelphia holds the 28th and 50th selections in next week’s draft.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Draft Workouts: Wizards, Springer, Kuminga, Pacers, Hornets, Bezhanishvili

The Wizards own the No. 15 pick and they’ve been very busy working out players. Guards Chris Duarte of Oregon, Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois and Josh Christopher of Arizona State visited last week, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. They brought in some less heralded prospects on Tuesday, a list that includes Mitchell Ballock (Creighton), D.J. Carton (Marquette), Matt Coleman III (Texas), Ryan Daly (St. Joseph) and Mark Vital (Baylor), according to a team press release.

Potential first-round Jaden Springer (Tennessee) heads the list of prospects who will work out for the club on Thursday, Hughes tweets. They’ll also take a look at Zane Martin (Towson), Asbjorn Midtgaard (Grand Canyon), Eugene Omoruyi (Oregon), Micah Potter (Wisconsin) and Guilherme Santos (Minas-Brazil).

We have more draft workout info:

Southeast Notes: Hornets’ Workouts, Westbrook, Beal, Mosley, McMillan

The Hornets worked out seven draft prospects on Friday, headlined by UConn guard James Bouknight, P.J. Morales of the Charlotte Observer writes. Bouknight is rated as the No. 8 overall prospect on ESPN’s Best Available list. Auburn guard Sharife Cooper (No. 18 on ESPN’s list), Tennessee guard Jaden Springer (No. 27), and Auburn forward JT Thor (No. 28) were some of the other potential first-rounders who visited. The group also included Iowa center Luka Garza, Howard center Makur Maker, and Croatian forward Roko Prkacin (No. 37).

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Not surprisingly, Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are the players most likely to remain on the Wizards‘ roster heading into next season, Fred Katz of The Athletic anticipates. Katz takes a look at every player on the roster and projects the odds they’ll return with Washington for the 2021/22 campaign.
  • Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley was interviewed for the Magic’s head coaching job on Thursday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Orlando’s desire to interview Mosley was previously reported. Mosley is likely to leave Dallas after being passed over for the head coaching job that went to Jason Kidd.
  • Nate McMillan has far exceeded all expectations as the Hawks’ interim coach and Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes how the veteran coach has connected with his players in ways that previous coach Lloyd Pierce failed to do.

Draft Notes: Pelicans, Giddey, Murphy, Duarte, Thor

There’s a belief that the Pelicans won’t be especially eager to add another rookie to an already young roster, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link), who says the No. 10 pick in next month’s draft, currently held by New Orleans, is considered one of the most available in the lottery.

Within his latest mock draft, Givony also provides some intel on some other picks at the top of the draft, confirming that the Pistons are looking hard at Jalen Green and Evan Mobley, though most executives anticipate they’ll select Cade Cunningham. According to Givony, NBA teams don’t have a good feel for which direction the Rockets will go at No. 2, since the new front office doesn’t have an extensive track record. For now, Givony believes Green would be the pick for Houston over Mobley.

Here’s more on the 2021 NBA draft, which is exactly one month away:

  • In a separate Insider-only story for ESPN, Givony and Mike Schmitz break down the winners and losers of last week’s draft combine, noting that Australian prospect Josh Giddey was generating plenty of buzz despite not even attending the event in Chicago. James Bouknight, Sharife Cooper, and Trey Murphy were among the other projected first-round picks receiving positive feedback.
  • Speaking of Murphy, he has worked out for the Celtics and Spurs so far in the pre-draft process, as he told reporters. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington has the story on the Virginia forward whose draft stock is on the rise.
  • The “rumor in Chicago” was that Oregon’s Chris Duarte, who pulled out of the draft combine, has received a guarantee early in the second round, per Marc Berman of The New York Post.
  • Potential first-round pick JT Thor of Auburn is working out for the Pacers, Hornets, Hawks, and Pelicans between now and July 6, as Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report details (Twitter link).

Draft Updates: Combine, Thomas, Bacot, Cunningham, More

As expected, a number of draft-eligible prospects who stood out at the NBA G League Elite Camp that took place from June 19-21 are now receiving invitations to remain in Chicago for this week’s combine.

Maryland’s Aaron Wiggins and Ohio State’s Duane Washington are among the players who have been invited to the combine, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links). Givony also hears from a source that South Carolina’s A.J. Lawson has received an invite, while Jeremy Woo of SI.com reports that Louisville’s Carlik Jones did too (Twitter links).

While scouts should get an extended look at those prospects in Chicago this week, they won’t see LSU’s Cameron Thomas, who has withdrawn from the combine, as we relayed on Monday. According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link), there’s a belief that Thomas may have gotten a first-round guarantee.

Here’s more on the 2021 NBA draft:

  • North Carolina sophomore forward Armando Bacot has decided to withdraw from the 2021 draft and will return to school for the 2021/22 season, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Bacot had been testing the draft waters after declaring this spring.
  • Several more agency Pro Day workouts have been added to the schedule for this week in Chicago, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Jonathan Kuminga and Sharife Cooper are among the players expected to conduct individual workouts.
  • Prospects who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 may have a harder time lining up pre-draft workouts with NBA teams, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who says agents have been encouraging their clients to get vaccinated and some team personnel have “conveyed an annoyance” at dealing with unvaccinated players. “Life is a lot harder,” one agent said. “Teams definitely want guys who are vaccinated.”
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic explores the best possible fits for Cade Cunningham among this year’s lottery teams, making a case for the Raptors, Warriors, and Thunder as the most ideal destinations for the likely No. 1 pick.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic has a much different top-20 list than most draft experts, listing Florida State’s Scottie Barnes at No. 3 and Turkish big man Alperen Sengun at No. 4 on his big board, with Jonathan Kuminga down at No. 8.

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-17.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)

Draft Notes: McBride, Cooper, Livers, Suggs, Duke, Harper, Anderson

West Virginia sophomore point guard Miles McBride will test the draft waters but maintain his college eligibility, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. McBride is currently ranked No. 35 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list and No. 8 among point guard prospects. He averaged 15.8 PPG, 4.9 APG and 1.9 SPG this season. McBride racked up 30 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists against Morehead State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Confirming a report earlier this week, Auburn freshman guard Sharife Cooper is declaring for the draft and will forego his remaining college eligibility by hiring an agent, Givony writes in a separate story. Cooper is ranked No. 17 by ESPN. “This season was a roller coaster filled with many ups and some downs,” Cooper said. “But I wouldn’t trade it for anything, even through the bad times I enjoyed every second at Auburn.” Eligibility issues and an ankle injury limited him to 12 games but he averaged 20.2 PPG and 8.1 APG in those contests.
  • Michigan forward Isaiah Livers underwent surgery on his right foot and will require a minimum of six months to recover, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. Livers, ranked No. 47 by ESPN, missed the NCAA Tournament due to the injury. He averaged 13.1 PPG and 6.0 RPG for the Big Ten regular-season champions.
  • Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs has risen to No. 2 overall behind Cade Cunningham in the latest rankings by The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie. Vecenie notes that Suggs’ “ability to pair powerful athleticism and downhill driving/transition ability with high-IQ passing and legitimate shot-making potential is everything that NBA teams are looking for out of lead ball-handlers in today’s game.”
  • Providence’s David Duke will sign with an agent and enter the draft, Rothstein tweets. The junior guard averaged 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 4.8 APG. He’s listed as the 67th-best prospect by ESPN.
  • Rutgers swingman Ron Harper Jr. will test the waters but maintain his eligibility, Rothstein adds in another tweet. He averaged 14.9 PPG and 5.9 RPG for the Scarlet Knights.
  • Oklahoma State’s Avery Anderson has also declared while keeping his eligibility option open, according to Rothstein (Twitter link). The sophomore guard averaged 12.2 PPG and 4.0 RPG this season.

Draft Notes: Cooper, Guerrier, Bryant, NCAA Tournament

Eligibility issues and an ankle injury limited Sharife Cooper to just 12 games during his first year at Auburn, but the freshman guard still may be prepared to go pro. Sources tell Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link) that Cooper is expected to declare for the 2021 NBA draft.

While Cooper hasn’t confirmed that decision yet, it won’t be a surprise if he decides to forgo his remaining college eligibility. After averaging 20.2 PPG and 8.1 APG in his 12 games with the Tigers, he’s currently the No. 17 player on ESPN’s big board of 2021 prospects, making him a strong candidate to be a first-round pick this summer.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Syracuse sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier will test the draft waters this spring, his former coach and longtime advisor Ibrahim Appiah told Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com. Guerrier, who averaged 13.7 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 28 games in 2020/21, could return to the Orange for at least one more year, depending on the feedback he receives.
  • South Carolina junior forward Keyshawn Bryant is declaring for the draft without hiring an agent, he announced on Twitter. Bryant averaged 14.4 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 18 games (27.0 MPG) in 2020/21.
  • Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN (Insider link) take a closer look at some of this year’s top prospects fared during the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, examining the play of Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, and Franz Wagner, among others.