Introducing ’14 PG Lourawls Nairns Jr., the Bahamian ‘Tum Tum’?

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lourawls Nairn Jr. may have the most interesting name in the country, but its origin is actually quite mundane: Sunrise Christian Academy’s point guard and the No. 61 player in the Class of 2014 was simply named after his father.

His grandparents named Lourawls Sr. after — you guessed it — Lou Rawls, a soul and R&B singer back in the ’60s and ’70s.

But Junior’s nickname is a pop culture reference that’s all his own, as he’s known to friends and family as “Tum Tum”, a reference that most children of the ’90s will recognize instantly. It’s the name of the youngest brother in ‘3 Ninjas’ movies, who was known more for his ability to eat than his skills as a ninja.

“When I was little I used to eat everything,” Nairn told NBCSports.com during a break in the action at last weekend’s Nike Global Challenge. “So they called me Tum Tum.”

While the nickname has managed to stick — those pesky family names always seem to, don’t they? — Nairn no longer looks like a “Tum Tum”. He’s a 5-foot-10, 170 lb rock of a point guard that lists offers from the likes of Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, Memphis, Minnesota, and Creighton. He may be the fastest player in the country with the ball in his hands, a nightmare to try and keep out of the paint, particularly in transition.

Nairn has work to do on his perimeter shot, however, and he’s still learning the nuances of playing the point guard position, but that’s understandable. Six years ago, Nairn — who turns 19 in October — wasn’t a basketball player, he was a sprinter in the Bahamas, a nation where track and field is much more relevant that hoops.

“The Bahamas is a track nation, so everybody ran track,” Nairn said. “Ever since I touched a basketball, I knew it was me. I stopped running track immediately and just played.”

“I started playing basketball seriously at 12, almost 13. The first year I got serious with it, the next year I went to America.”

And that’s where Nairn’s journey started. He spent a couple years in Florida playing at South Florida Prep Christian Academy in Ft. Lauderdale before enrolling at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, KS. Sunrise has become something of a pipeline for Bahamian basketball players. Buddy Hield, who Nairns calls his “best friend”, played at Sunrise last season before heading off to Oklahoma. Three other Bahamians — senior Andre Sands and juniors Travis Mullings and Nathan Bain — currently populate Sunrise’s roster.

The Bahamas is turning into a somewhat fertile recruiting ground for colleges and prep schools alike. Former LSU and Louisiana Tech big man Magnum Rolle, who was a second round NBA draft pick in 2010, is Bahamian. Houston’s ‘Chicken’ Knowles, Maryland’s Shaquille Cleare, UCLA signee Wanaah Bail, Wichita State’s Kadeem Coleby and former Texas Tech signee Michael Carey all hail from the islands most of us consider paradise.

“The thing is, we don’t have a lot of guys that’s really good, it’s just raw talent,” Nairn said. “The guys you see coming over from the Bahamas is guys that really have a chance to do something in the United States, because there’s way more opportunities here than there is back home.”

And the opportunities that Nairn is looking for aren’t just on the court.

“Free education is the most important thing. Basketball is basketball, but obviously, you gotta get the free education when you go to school,” Nairn said. His goal after basketball? To be a real estate agent. “I just think that’s me. I’m good with people, I can talk about anything.”

And it’s true. Nairn, who is quick to flash a smile and crack a joke with a voice that will remind you more of Marvin Gaye than Lou Rawls, says that there is only one thing he doesn’t like about moving from the tropics to the Midwest. “I hate the weather in Kansas,” he said. “Everything else is perfect. I go to a Christian school, people love basketball, give me opportunities to succeed.”

He also said he doesn’t miss home — No beaches? No problem. “I go to the pools.” — or the home-cooking, which is surprising considering the origins of his nickname. But it also makes sense, as his favorite meal back home consists of “barbecue chicken, peas and rice, coleslaw, potato salad, some mixed vegetables.” Sounds like something you can get in Wichita.

Nairn said he never ate much seafood back home, only on special occasions. He also said that, despite growing up on an island, he’s never been fishing.

“A lot of people ask me that, but I’ve never been fishing in my life. I never had the opportunity,” he said, which is one of the biggest reasons he came to the States.

“But I will. Once everything’s done here.”

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Adam Silver on lowering NBA Draft age minimum: ‘It’s on the table’

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver joined Dan Patrick this morning and was again questioned about the potential of the NBA changing the age limit to declare for the draft.

“If you’d asked me that a year ago, I would have said ‘if I didn’t have to negotiate this with the union, I would have raised the age minimum to 20 from 19,'” Silver told Patrick. When pressed on it, Silver said, “It’s a possible option. It’s on the table,” adding that it will be discussed by the union and in an owner’s meeting, and that he still doesn’t know what he thinks the best answer is.

But the big news is that he’s actively considering a change.

I wrote a long piece about the one-and-done rule and why the topic of what’s best for the kids is incredibly complicated. Owners don’t want to pay teenagers millions of dollars to develop; they’d rather let them develop in college and have an extra season or two on the back-end, when the player is in his prime. The players don’t want to spend a year in college, but the marketing and branding opportunities for them — not to mention to booster money that is floating around on a college campus — makes going to college a better option that going to the G-League, and that’s to say nothing of the fancy dorms, private flights and perks of being a celebrity on a college campus.

The truth is probably this: The NBA is trying to take control of basketball’s feeder systems. And I’m not just talking about making the G-League a better option than the collegiate ranks.

“It’s no longer an issue of 19 to 18 or 19 to 20,” Silver said. “I think it means that we as the NBA need to do something that we’ve avoided, which is getting more involved in youth basketball. If you sit with the folks from Nike or Under Armour or Adidas, they can tell you who the top 100 14 year olds are in the world, and there’s a fairly close correlation between the top 100 at 14 and the top 100 at 18.”

“Then I look at some of the players coming in internationally who are becoming full time professional basketball players, as we see in soccer, at 16 years old,” he added. “And they’re on a better development program and a more holistic one, in terms of injury prevention and monitoring in terms of control over them.”

This is a really nuanced decision, and again, if it interests you, I would encourage you to read what I wrote last week before listening to the hot take mafia work this story line over.

Because the fact of the matter is that there is a lot more to consider here than simply whether or not high school seniors should be allowed to go directly to the NBA.

Washington lands four-star forward Hameir Wright

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Washington and new head coach Mike Hopkins snagged another talented piece on Saturday as four-star forward Hameir Wright committed to the Huskies.

The reigning New York State Gatorade Player of the Year, Wright had was originally supposed to be a member of the Class of 2018, but he will skip his scheduled season at Brewster Academy to join Washington for the 2017-18 season.

The 6-foot-7 Wright was being pursued by a solid list of high-major programs this summer as Washington was able to land another talented player from upstate New York for next season. Wright joins wing Naz Carter, the nephew of Jay Z, as recent commits who can come in and play next season for the Huskies.

Hopkins has used his former connections as a Syracuse assistant to get his roster two immediate pieces that could be four-year players. It’s a really positive start for the first-year head coach as he has a lot of holes to fill on the Washington roster.

VIDEO: Luke Maye continues hitting big shots this summer for North Carolina

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Luke Maye became a local hero during North Carolina’s 2017 NCAA tournament run after making the game-winning jumper to get past Kentucky in the Elite Eight.

Maye has received standing ovations in class, he’s been recognized at baseball games and he’s become a celebrity since returning to Chapel Hill.

The legend of Maye will continue to grow after the junior forward knocked down another game-winning jumper against former North Carolina players during the summer Roy Williams Basketball Camp.

With a sizable camp crowd watching, Maye knocked down a top-of-the-key three last week to get the win. Theo Pinson knows the shot is good right after it leaves Maye’s hands and watching his reaction might be my favorite part of this.

North Carolina is hoping that Maye’s confidence and shooting carries into next season since they’ll need him to play a much larger part with the departures of Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks and Tony Bradley.

(H/t: Jeremy Harson)

Clemson lands three-star Class of 2018 guard John Newman

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
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Clemson was able to land a commitment from three-star Class of 2018 shooting guard John Newman on Friday night.

The 6-foot-4 Newman selected the Tigers over his other finalists that included Providence, Virginia and Wake Forest. Newman is coming off of a solid spring with Team CP3 in the Nike EYBL and he also had a good showing at the NBPA Top 100 Camp last week at the University of Virginia.

An aggressive perimeter threat who can score or distribute, Newman can not only put up points in bunches but he’s also pretty efficient in terms of his shooting splits.

Newman put up 11.5 points per game at Top 100 Camp on 55 percent shooting and 53 percent three-point shooting as he looked like one of the more confident scorers in the camp.

The first commitment for Clemson in the Class of 2018, Newman is an important start for what could be a very big recruiting class for the Tigers.

Notre Dame gets commitment from four-star guard

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Mike Brey’s 2018 recruiting class just got stronger Thursday.

Notre Dame added its second four-star prospect, Robby Carmody, a 6-foot-4 guard from Pennsylvania.

“The recruiting process has been a humbling and exciting experience!” Carmody wrote on social media. “My sincerest appreciation goes out to all the coaches and schools that invested time getting to know me throughout the process.

“Today I am blessed and excited to announce that I am committing to the University of Notre Dame!”

Carmody, who just recently visited the Fighting Irish and Purdue,  joins Prentiss Hubb as the first two pieces of Brey’s 2018 class. Hubb is a 6-foot-2 guard from Washington, DC and a top-75 ranked player nationally.

The Irish will need some major pieces in 2018 after losing the likes of Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell to graduation after this upcoming season. Notre Dame has won at least one NCAA tournament game in each of the last three seasons, making two Elite Eights during that time.