Vrenz Bleijenbergh

And-Ones: Colangelo, Love, Irving, 2022 Draft, Bleijenbergh

Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball, admitted that adding Cavaliers big man Kevin Love to the 12-man roster was a mistake, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports. Speaking to reporters this week, Colangelo was blunt in his assessment of Love, stating that the 2012 gold medalist was not in shape when he showed up to camp. Love eventually withdrew from Team USA before the squad headed to Tokyo.

“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play,” Colangelo said. “He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. And on the basis of that, we’re looking at someone with international experience who at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball. You know, being like a 12th man on a roster. Well, it didn’t work out. He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out. So you move on. Call it a mistake.”

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Nets guard Kyrie Irving has fired Roc Nation as his representative, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. It’s unclear why Irving, who can opt out of his contract after next season, made the move. He did rip Nike on social media for its shoe design and marketing of the upcoming Kyrie8 brand.
  • Just hours after the completion of this year’s draft, Jonathan Givony of ESPN released his 2022 mock draft. Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren heads the list, followed by Duke’s Paolo Banchero and the G League Ignite’s Jaden Hardy.
  • Belgian guard Vrenz Bleijenbergh was a candidate to be a second-round pick, but went undrafted on Thursday. Bleijenbergh explained on Twitter that none of the teams interested in selecting him were willing to offer a guaranteed contract and thus, he couldn’t get out of his European deal. “I had multiple teams offering me two-way deals. But because of my contract in Europe, I wasn’t be able to sign them, it was against the rules,” he wrote. “The only option was a guaranteed contract, I didn’t receive it. It really hurts, I was really close.”

Central Notes: Bulls, Pistons, Pacers Workouts

After the Bulls mortgaged their long-term future to nab 2021 All-Star center Nikola Vučević in a deadline deal with the Magic, they still missed out on a play-in tournament appearance. The club is understandably anticipated to be seeking roster upgrades this summer, especially at the point guard position, writes Matt Moore of the Action Network.

Moore suggests that free agent point guards Kyle Lowry, Dennis Schröder, Lonzo Ball, and Spencer Dinwiddie are among Chicago’s preferred targets. Given the ages of the Bulls’ two best players – 30-year-old Vučević and 25-year-old All-Star Zach LaVine – 35-year-old veteran Lowry may not be a long-term fit, but would certainly raise the team’s floor for the 2021/22 season.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will get to choose from a handful of highly-touted NBA prospects with the top selection of the 2021 draft. Where Detroit opts to go in the second round of the draft is less clear. In a new piece, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic examines several possible draft-and-stash prospects the Pistons could pursue in the second round. Detroit has the Nos. 37, 42 and 52 picks in the second round. Edwards examines the fits of several draft candidates, including Zalgiris Kaunas guard Rokas Jokubaitis, Minas wing Guilherme Santos, Paris Basketball guard Juhann Begarin, and Antwerp Giants forward Vrenz Bleijenbergh.
  • Among 2020/21 season holdovers, the Pistons will face some interesting roster decisions in the summer, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Langlois notes that restricted free agents Hamidou Diallo and Frank Jackson, forward Josh Jackson, deep-bench center Jahlil Okafor, 2019 draft selections Sekou Doumbouya and Deividas Sirvydis, and guard Tyler Cook all could move on during the offseason.
  • The Pacers are set to hold their sixth round of pre-draft workouts Tuesday, per a team press release. The club possesses the No. 13 pick in the 2021 draft, as well as the No. 54 and No. 60 picks in the second round. Indiana will work out Kansas guard Marcus Garrett, South Carolina guard A.J. Lawson, Alabama guard John Petty Jr., Tennessee forward Yves Pons, Mississippi State guard D.J. Stewart Jr., and Clemson forward Aamir Simms.

Draft Notes: Early Entrants, Bleijenbergh, Sengun, Hurt, Reaves

Senegalese center Ibou Badji and German big man Ariel Hukporti have withdrawn from the 2021 NBA draft, according to a pair of reports from Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links).

Both players were considered potential second-round picks, ranking 59th and 63rd respectively on ESPN’s big board of 2021 prospects. However, Givony notes that Hukporti – like a number of international players who withdrew before today’s deadline – wasn’t interested in being a draft-and-stash prospect. It’s unclear if Badji felt the same way, but both players will be looking to boost their stock ahead of the 2022 draft.

Another potential second-round pick, Senegalese big man Amar Sylla, will be keeping his name in the draft, Givony tweets. The 19-year-old, who ranks 81st on ESPN’s board, is a strong draft-and-stash candidate, Givony adds.

Here’s more on the 2021 draft:

  • Belgian wing Vrenz Bleijenbergh, another one of the international prospects keeping his name in the draft, indicated (via Twitter) that he completed a workout with the Mavericks and has a meeting with the Raptors up next.
  • Turkish League MVP Alperen Sengun, who visited the Kings over the weekend, had a workout this morning with the Spurs and is on his way to meet with the Magic, reports Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). Sengun could be a lottery pick next Thursday.
  • Duke forward Matthew Hurt worked out for the Sixers today and has the Clippers, Nets, and Magic on tap later this week, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), who adds that Hurt also recently impressed in workouts with the Rockets and Bucks.
  • Oklahoma guard Austin Reaves is keeping busy during the pre-draft process — Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that Reaves is working out for a total of 18 NBA teams, including the Hawks, Knicks, Sixers, Nets, and Hornets.

Hawks Notes: Prunty, J. McMillan, Workouts, Collins

Joe Prunty and Jamelle McMillan are expected to become part of Nate McMillan‘s revamped coaching staff with the Hawks, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

Prunty, who began working as an NBA assistant in 1996, has spent time with a total of seven different teams and briefly served as the interim head coach of the Bucks during the 2017/18 season. Prunty, who last coached in the NBA in 2018/19 as a Suns assistant, was the head coach of the Team USA squad that played in the AmeriCup qualifiers earlier this year. He and Nate McMillan worked together in Portland from 2008-10.

Jamelle McMillan, who is Nate’s son, has spent most of his career with the Pelicans, including several years as an assistant under Alvin Gentry. He joined the Suns for a season in 2018/19 before rejoining the Pelicans, but was let go in 2020 when Stan Van Gundy was hired by New Orleans.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

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:

California Notes: Camper, Terrell, Bleijenbergh, Lakers

The Kings have a workout scheduled for this Tuesday with Siena College swingman Manny Camper, writes Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. Camper averaged 14.1 PPG and 9.7 during 2020/21, his senior season.

Anderson notes that Camper was the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. Camper was also a two-time All-MAAC First Team honoree during his NCAA tenure. According to Anderson, Camper has been described by coaches and staff at Siena as a “high character individual” and a “consummate selfless team leader.”

The Kings currently possess the No. 9 overall pick and the No. 39 pick in the 2021 draft. While he’s not expected to be drafted this season, Camper could make for an intriguing addition to the Kings’ Summer League roster, Anderson writes.

There’s more out of California:

  • The Kings worked out Sacramento native Christian Terrell, a Sacramento State alum who also attended Sacramento High School, per Sean Cunningham of ABC10 (KXTV) Sacramento (Twitter link). “It felt good to work out for your home team,” Terrell, a 6’5″ guard, said. “Just getting to experience what it’s like being inside Golden1 was a blessing and I am super grateful the Kings organization reached out to me and allowed me to work out.”
  • Intriguing Belgian pro Vrenz Bleijenbergh is scheduled to work out with the Kings on Monday, as Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee details. The 6’11” swingman most recently played for the Antwerp Giants, and Anderson notes that the league currently views him as a potential second-round prospect. Anderson adds that Bleijenbergh was recently honored as a Pro Basketball League Rising Star selection.
  • More recent Los Angeles championship pedigree is arriving for the Lakers. Dodgers owners Mark Walter and Todd Boehly have officially bought out minority owner Phil Anschutz‘s 27% stake in the club, per a team press release. Under the stewardship of Walter and Boehly, the Dodgers won their first title in 32 years during the 2020 MLB season.

Kings Notes: Haliburton, Draft Workouts, Wagner

Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton is enjoying his experience with the U.S. Select Team, which is giving him a chance to test his skills against some of the NBA’s best players, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Haliburton had previous experience in the international format as part of the USA under-19 National Team while at Iowa State.

Haliburton has fully recovered from the hyperextended left knee that brought an early end to his first NBA season. Although he played just 58 games, he was an All-Rookie First Team selection and finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. He has been working out in Sacramento for the past month and now gets to see how his expanded game fares against elite competition.

“For me to get out and use that stuff against other guys and see it work against them in live action, it helps a lot,” Haliburton said. “And just kind of seeing what other guys are working on at the same time, how other guys are improving. Just taking bits and pieces of that, putting that into my training and things like that.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

Draft Notes: Early Entrant Decisions, Bleijenbergh, K. Johnson

July 7 is the deadline for college early entrants who declared for the 2021 NBA draft to withdraw and maintain their NCAA eligibility. The NBA’s own withdrawal deadline for early entrants is July 19, but a college player who removes his name from the draft after today wouldn’t be able to play college ball next season.

With that in mind, we’re expecting several more updates before the end of the day on which players are going pro and which are returning to college.

Italian wing Gabriele Procida, Marquette forward Dawson Garcia, Southern Utah guard John Knight III, and Louisiana forward Dou Gueye are among the players withdrawing from the draft, according to reports from Jonathan Givony of ESPN, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, and Jeff Goodman of Stadium (all links go to Twitter). Garcia may transfer, with UNC, Arizona, and Illinois in the mix for his services, per Rothstein.

Conversely, Boston College forward Steffon Mitchell tells Rothstein (Twitter link) that he intends to remain in the draft, forgoing his final year of NCAA eligibility. Loyola Maryland forward Santi Aldama will also go pro rather than returning to college, a source tells Rothstein (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Belgian wing Vrenz Bleijenbergh will keep his name in the draft, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Bleijenbergh, who will take part in the upcoming group workout in Minnesota, also has auditions lined up with the Thunder, Grizzlies, Kings, Hornets, and Mavericks, Givony reports.
  • Givony is joined by ESPN colleagues Mike Schmitz and Bobby Marks for an in-depth look at where things stand with the draft. The trio discusses how much trade action we should expect in the first round and suggests that Keon Johnson is one of the most polarizing prospects in this year’s class. Some teams have Johnson in the second tier of prospects alongside Jonathan Kuminga and Scottie Barnes, while others view him as a middle-to-late first-round flier, Givony writes.
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report has shared a new version of his 2021 mock draft.

Draft Notes: Monyyong, Hornets, Bleijenbergh, Castleton

Little Rock big man Ruot Monyyong is set to work out for the Kings on July 8, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic. Jones adds that the 6’10” Monyyong was the 2020 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year and was twice named to the All-Sun Belt team during his college career. Monyyong averaged 11.9 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 1.5 APG, and 0.9 SPG across his two NCAA seasons.

There’s more on the draft:

  • The Hornets tweeted their draft prospect workouts for Saturday, July 3. The club took a look at the following players: Western Kentucky center Charles Bassey, Marquette guard D.J. Carton, Oregon guard Chris Duarte, Tennessee guard Keon Johnson, Kentucky forward Isaiah Jackson, and Alabama guard Joshua Primo. Charlotte currently possesses the No. 11 and No. 56 picks in the upcoming 2021 draft.
  • 6’10” Belgian wing Vrenz Bleijenbergh has pre-draft workouts scheduled with the Thunder, Grizzlies, Pistons and Kings, tweets Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Wasserman notes that the oversized small forward is thought of as a solid play-maker and shooter.
  • Florida power forward Colin Castleton plans to return to school for the 2021/22 season, and will accordingly withdraw from the 2021 NBA draft, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium. The 6’11” Castleton averaged 12.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 1.1 APG last season.

Jared Butler, Others Enter 2021 NBA Draft

Ahead of Sunday’s early entry deadline, Baylor junior guard Jared Butler announced (via Twitter) that he was declaring for the 2021 NBA draft. While his announcement doesn’t explicitly state that he’s forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, it strongly suggests he intends to go pro.

While it took a while for him to make it official, Butler was always considered a good bet to enter this year’s draft following an impressive 2020/21 campaign in which he averaged 16.7 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 2.0 SPG on .471/.416/.780 shooting in 30 games (30.3 MPG) for the eventual national champs.

A consensus first-team All-American, Butler was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player after the Bears defeated Gonzaga in the championship game. He’s the No. 23 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a strong candidate to be a first-round pick in July.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Fresno State sophomore guard Deon Stroud is testing the draft waters while maintaining his NCAA eligibility, according to an announcement from the school (Twitter link). Stroud, who began his college career at UTEP, averaged 12.2 PPG on .482/.357/.613 shooting in 23 games (23.1 MPG) in 2020/21.
  • Italian wing Gabriele Procida has declared for the draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that the 18-year-old is a projected second-round pick.
  • Givony also published a series of tweets listing several more international players who have entered the 2021 NBA draft pool. Those players are as follows (the countries listed represent where they last played, not where they were born):
  • Since the NBA’s early entry deadline has now passed, we should get a full, official list of early entrants from the league on Tuesday. In the meantime, our unofficial tracker is here.