Sharife Cooper

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.

Draft Notes: Cunningham, Top Shooters, Todd, Nix

With the NBA G League season nearly over and the NCAA tournament around the corner, Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham remains atop experts’ big boards for the 2021 NBA draft. The freshman capped off an impressive regular season by being named the Big 12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, as the conference announced in a press release.

Cunningham averaged 19.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game with a .455/.425/.854 shooting line in 22 contests (35.1 MPG) in his first – and almost certainly only – college season. He’ll get a chance to further cement his claim as 2021’s top prospect in this week’s Big 12 tournament and during March Madness. Oklahoma State was banned from the postseason for a year, but their appeal to overturn that penalty is still pending, making the program eligible for the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s more on the 2021 NBA draft:

  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic takes a look at the top shooters in the 2021 draft class, identifying WCC Player of the Year Corey Kispert (Gonzaga) as the No. 1 option. Joe Wieskamp (Iowa), Sam Hauser (Virginia), Isaiah Livers (Michigan), and Trey Murphy (Virginia) round out Vecenie’s top five.
  • The G League Ignite’s season is over, as the NBAGL’s select team – which features projected top-five picks Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga – was knocked out of the single-elimination postseason by the Raptors 905 on Monday. Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link) examines what we learned about the Ignite’s prospects in the G League bubble, writing that Isaiah Todd boosted his stock with his play down the stretch, while Daishen Nix struggled a little. Todd is considered a first-round prospect by many NBA teams, but Nix is looking more like a second-rounder than a potential lottery pick, Givony adds.
  • The most recent big boards from Givony and Mike Schmitz at ESPN and from Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report have plenty of similarities in the lottery, but there are a few notable differences. Connecticut’s James Bouknight is No. 6 on Wasserman’s board and just 11th on ESPN’s, while Tennessee’s Jaden Springer is ranked 12th by Wasserman and all the way down at No. 39 by ESPN. Meanwhile, ESPN ranks Auburn’s Sharife Cooper and Kispert as top-10 prospects, while Wasserman has them 17th and 18th, respectively.

And-Ones: McDonald’s Game Rosters, Cooper, Suggs, More

While the game itself won’t be played this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, McDonald’s formally announced its ceremonial rosters this week for the annual All American Game, a showcase of the nation’s top high school players.

The 24-player boys squad is headlined by a number of prospects who are expected to be lottery selections in the 2022 NBA draft, including Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith, whom ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz had as the top three picks in their first ’22 mock draft in December.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Auburn point guard Sharife Cooper, the No. 9 ranked prospect on ESPN’s big board for the 2021 NBA draft, may have played his last game for the Tigers, writes Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Cooper is in a walking boot after suffering an ankle injury, and ESPN’s Jimmy Dykes said during Tuesday’s Auburn/Florida broadcast that he’d be surprised if Cooper returns this season. “We will see how the week progresses. We never rush guys back,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “He is working to try and get back, but we just don’t know.”
  • NBA teams picking in the top half of the 2021 lottery will have to determine whether Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs – who is the third-leading scorer for the Bulldogs this season – is capable of becoming a primary option at the next level or if he projects to be a star role player, writes Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer. Suggs is the No. 4 prospect on ESPN’s 2021 big board.
  • Johnathan Williams, who recently parted ways with Turkish team Galatasaray, didn’t take long to find a new home, having signed with Niners Chemnitz in Germany for the rest of the season, according to the club. Williams, a 6’9″ forward/center, spent time with the Lakers in 2018/19 and the Wizards in ’19/20, averaging 5.2 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 39 total NBA games.
  • Former first-round pick Jared Sullinger, who hasn’t played professionally since 2019 and hasn’t been in the NBA since 2017, has reportedly agreed to a deal with Anyang KGC in South Korea, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Sullinger spoke last month about his goal of making it back to the NBA.