NBA releases the official early entry list

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The NBA released their official early entry list on Wednesday, and while there were no relevant surprises — Marcus Smart didn’t slide his name into the NBA Draft pool when no one was paying attention — but there were a handful of names that hadn’t made their way into the headlines. Here are the NBA Draft’s seven biggest surprises:

Nurideen Lindsey, Rider: Lindsey’s basketball career has been a long and winding road, going from Philly to a JuCo in Oklahoma to St. John’s and, finally, to Rider. But Lindsey opted to enter his name in the draft in part because he wants to help take care of his sick mother.

Trevis Simpson, UNC-Greensboro: After averaging 18.8 points as a junior for the Spartans, Simpson made the decision to bypass his senior season and begin a career as a professional. It’s not likely that Simpson will get drafted, but he’s talented enough that he should be able to make enough money to support his wife and daughter playing the game. Simpson may be best known for breaking a rim putting on a dunking clinic against Miami:

Tahj Tate, Delaware State: Tate left the MEAC school earlier this month with the intention of entering the NBA Draft in large part because he believes that he’ll be “a better NBA player than a college player”. Tate averaged 16.7 points as a freshman, but his production dropped to 12.8 points as a sophomore.

Adrien Coleman, Bethune-Cookman: Coleman will pass up his senior season at B-CU, where he averaged 17.8 points and 7.4 boards as a junior. But Coleman, who began his career at Nebraska and sat out one season as a redshirt, will graduate with a degree in May.

Christian Kabongo, Morgan State: Kabongo averaged 14.6 points as a sophomore at New Mexico State before transferring to Southern Miss and, then, Morgan State, where he never set foot on the court. Kabongo is best known for an, ahem, “obscene gesture” that got him suspended after a game at UTEP. He in Myck Kabongo’s cousin.

John Taylor, Fresno Pacific: Taylor averaged 27.5 points this season and scored 50 in an NCCAA tournament game. That’s the National Christian College Athletic Association tournament.

Joshua Simmons, Spartanburg Methodist: That’s a JuCo. He’s not even listed on the roster.

Here’s the entire list:

  • Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
  • C.J. Aiken, Saint Joseph’s
  • Anthony Bennett, UNLV
  • Vander Blue, Marquette
  • Lorenzo Brown, NC State
  • Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
  • Trey Burke, Michigan
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
  • Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
  • Adrien Coleman, Bethune-Cookman
  • Allen Crabbe, California
  • Dewayne Dedmon, USC
  • Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
  • Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
  • Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
  • Grant Jerrett, Arizona
  • Christian Kabongo, New Mexico State
  • Myck Kabongo, Texas
  • Shane Larkin, Miami (Fl.)
  • Ricky Ledo, Providence
  • Alex Len, Maryland
  • C.J. Leslie, NC State
  • Nurideen Lindsey, Rider
  • Amath M’Baye, Oklahoma
  • Ray McCallum, Detroit
  • Ben McLemore, Kansas
  • Tony Mitchell, North Texas
  • Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
  • Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
  • Victor Oladipo, Indiana
  • Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
  • Norvel Pelle, Los Angeles College Prep Academy
  • Otto Porter, Georgetown
  • Marshawn Powell, Arkansas
  • Phil Pressey, Missouri
  • Andre Roberson, Colorado
  • Joshua Simmons, Spartanburg Methodist (JC)
  • Trevis Simpson, UNC-Greensboro
  • Tony Snell, New Mexico
  • Tahj Tate, Delaware State
  • John Taylor, Fresno Pacific
  • Adonis Thomas, Memphis
  • Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
  • BJ Young, Arkansas
  • Cody Zeller, Indiana

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Marquette lands Fordham grad transfer Joseph Chartouny

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Marquette pulled in a quality graduate transfer commitment on Friday as Fordham guard Joseph Chartouny pledged to the Golden Eagles.

The 6-foot-3 Chartouny was a three-year starter for the Rams as he should help offset the loss of guard Andrew Rowsey to graduation. While Chartouny isn’t nearly the perimeter threat that Rowsey was, he should be able to help significantly on the defensive end for Marquette. Chartouny put up 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game last season as he was one of the more productive all-around players in the Atlantic 10.

One of the nation’s leaders in steals the past three seasons, Chartouny has much better size to play alongside Markus Howard in the Marquette backcourt than Rowsey (5-foot-11) had. Since Howard is also 5-foot-11, Chartouny can now guard the bigger and more athletic perimeter matchup as Marquette tries to improve its porous defense from last season.

Marquette still has an open scholarship for next season as they’ve been investigating other transfer options to bolster the roster. Returning most of last season’s roster, the expectation will be for the Golden Eagles to make it back to the NCAA tournament next season.

Syracuse’s Tyus Battle to test NBA draft waters

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Syracuse announced on Friday afternoon that sophomore guard Tyus Battle will be declaring for the NBA draft without signing with an agent, giving him until the NCAA’s May 30th deadline to withdraw from contention and return to school.

Battle averaged 19.2 points as a sophomore for the Orange, who made a surprising run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

He is a projected late-first round or early-second round pick given his size, shooting ability and skill with the ball in his hands.

Losing Battle would be a massive blow to a Syracuse team that is already going to be without Matthew Moyer, who transferred out of the program, and Dareus Bazley, who is heading to the G League instead of enrolling in college.

Maryland’s Kevin Huerter declares for NBA draft, won’t hire agent

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Maryland wing Kevin Huerter announced on Friday afternoon that he will be declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, giving him the option of returning to school by May 30th.

“This will be a great experience for Kevin to get honest feedback from NBA teams and executives,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “Taking advantage of this opportunity will allow Kevin and his family to make an informed decision about his future.”

Huerter is a 6-foot-7 wing known for his ability to shoot from the perimeter. He averaged 14.8 points and shot 42 percent from three as a sophomore.

He is also the third player from Maryland to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft. Justin Jackson, a borderline first round pick who missed time last season with a shoulder injury, has signed with an agent while Bruno Fernando is testing the waters. Maryland, who has an excellent recruiting class coming in, will be a preseason top 20 team if Huerter and Fernando both return to school.

Huerter is a borderline first round pick.

Michigan’s Charles Matthews to test NBA draft waters

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Michigan guard Charles Matthews announced on Friday that he will be declaring for the NBA draft, but that he does not intend to sign with an agent, meaning he has until May 30th to withdraw from the draft and return to school.

“After careful consideration with my parents and coaching staff, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft without hiring an agent,” said Matthews. “I give thanks to the Lord for this amazing opportunity, as well as the entire University of Michigan for their support. Go Blue!”

Matthews, a redshirt sophomore that averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 boards for the national runners-up, was a four-star prospect coming out of Chicago and spent his freshman season at Kentucky.

Matthews is a likely second round pick with the potential to climb into the first round should he prove to be a more consistent three-point shooter. He shot just 31.8 percent from beyond the arc this past season.

Virginia’s Hunter to return to school for sophomore season

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De’Andre Hunter announced on Friday afternoon that he will not be entering his name into the NBA draft and will return to Virginia for his redshirt sophomore season, a decision that will have as much of an impact on the 2018-19 college basketball season as any that is made this spring.

Hunter, now a potential top ten pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, was one of the breakout stars of the 2017-18 season. A 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Hunter averaged 9.2 points and 3.5 boards while shooting 38.2 percent from three in just under 20 minutes a night for a Virginia team whose pace severely limits the kind of numbers a player like him can put up.

Throw in his ability to defend on the perimeter and in the paint, and Hunter is precisely the kind of player that NBA teams are looking to land as basketball becomes more and more built on positional versatility and the ability to space the floor.

And it’s that versatility that will make Hunter so important for the Cavaliers next season.

Let’s go beyond the simple fact that he is going to be the only guy on the Virginia roster that can create his own shot against length and athleticism and that there is a chance that he could end up being an all-american next season if things play out the right way. What makes Hunter so important to Virginia his that his defensive versatility is what allows Virginia to matchup with teams that want to try and play small-ball against them.

That’s precisely what UMBC did in the first round of the NCAA tournament, a game that Hunter missed with a broken wrist. We all know how that played out, and I’m not even dumb enough to pin all the blame of a 20-point loss to a No. 16 seed on a guy that played less than 20 minutes a night.

Virginia choked once they realized that there was a chance this could happen, but I would argue that a major reason they couldn’t ever truly assert their dominance was because they were unable to matchup with UMBC’s four-guard lineup without Hunter.

With Hunter back, Virginia is the No. 6 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25. If he had declared for the draft and signed with an agent, I’m not sure I would have had the Wahoos in the top 20.

He takes Tony Bennett’s club from simply being good to once against being a contender for the ACC regular season title.