The NBA Draft is on June 26th, meaning that there are less than two weeks until the next crop of potential NBA all-stars find out where they will be headed to begin their professional basketball careers. Over the course of the next few days, we will be using the expertise that we’ve gained from watching far too much college basketball to give you our insights on some of these prospects.
Raphielle Johnson: “He didn’t see much time at the point due to the presence of Kyle Anderson and Bryce Alford. Play the ‘blame game’ if you want about this (especially when concerning Alford, as some have done), but that’s a concern especially given where LaVine has been projected to go in the draft.”
Terrence Payne: “Elite athleticism and the ability to knock down shots make him intriguing for front office executives, but it will be an uphill battle for him to move into a lead guard role.”
Rob Dauster: “Zach LaVine is an absolute freak athletically. He can also shoot the ball from three. But he’s a long way away from being capable on contributing at the next level.”
2. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Projections: DX (No. 4), CF (No. 8)
Scott Phillips: “Marcus Smart’s sophomore-year shooting chart makes me gag. He’s a mediocre catch-and-shoot player and didn’t get much better in between seasons at Oklahoma State. Smart’s shooting percentages are very average, he doesn’t get easy baskets for other players as often as he should and his physicality around the hoop won’t take him as far in the NBA as it did in college.”
RJ: “I’m not worried about the temper at all. What I am worried about is the perimeter shooting, whether it’s on the catch or off the dribble in pick and roll situations.”
TP: “The ex-Oklahoma State guard has incredible physical tools, and he likely makes an impact right away on the defensive end of the floor. However, he failed to improve his jumper after returning for a sophomore season.”
3. Mitch McGary, Michigan
Projections: DX (No. 30), CF (No. 2nd round)
RD: “McGary had one good month at the collegiate level, and he was successful because he was bigger, stronger and outworked opposing big men. He can’t rely on that in the NBA. He’s also 22 and already has a bad back.”
RJ: “The back is fine, but how much work is there to do from an offensive skill set standpoint? Will he be able to get points with his back to the basket? That will take some time.”
SP: “Between the back injury and his advanced age — he’s already 22 years old, which is ancient for a NBA rookie — it doesn’t look good for McGary’s draft stock. McGary might have been a lottery pick after his freshman season, but it was based off of a NCAA Tournament run and not an entire season of consistent production, which he never showed at the college level.”
4. Jerami Grant, Syracuse
Projections: DX (No. 27), CF (No. 25)
SP: “I still don’t know what he does well or how it translates to the NBA? Grant is a tremendous athlete with some upside, but his skill level is mediocre and he doesn’t have a fit in the NBA. Grant is far away from being a solid all-around player or even a rotational player with some skill that will earn him minutes.”
RJ: “Given Syracuse’s lack of scoring one would think his offensive skill set would have expanded last year. Not sure that was the case, and that’s a concern.”
5. Doug McDermott, Creighton
Projections: DX (No. 8), CF (No. 9)
SP: “I can see Doug McDermott having a nice, long NBA career, but a top-10 pick in a draftlike this? I just don’t see it. McDermott has struggled a bit with length in his career and there’s still the question of who he defends at the next level? That’s not taking away from McDermott’s prolific college career or his natural scoring acumen, but he has a long ways to go to be a well-rounded pro forward.”
RD: “I can see McDermott turning into some combination of Danny Green, Jason Kapono and Mike Miller. I think he’ll have a long career as a role player in the NBA. I’m not sure he should be a top ten pick.”
Drexel sets Division I record with 34-point comeback
A Drexel basket brought the score to an innocuous 5-3 in the first two minutes of its game against Delaware. The next 38 minutes were a lot more interesting.
The Blue Hens went on a 48-16 run to take a 34-point first-half lead on the Blue Hens, only to cough it up as Dragons outscored them 66-30 the rest of the way to complete the largest comeback in Division I history in an 85-83 victory.
Once down by 34 points (53-19), Drexel defeated Delaware tonight 85-83. It is the largest comeback in Division I MBB history, breaking a record that stood since 12-30-1950 (Duke beat Tulane after trailing by 32).
Arizona junior guard Allonzo Trier has been declared ineligible by the NCAA due to a second positive test for a banned substance, it was announced Thursday. The school is appealing the decision, claiming the positive test was leftover from of a substance that was found in Trier’s system in 2016.
Trier was tested in late January and the test “revealed the reappearance of a trace amount of a banned substance,” Arizona said in a statement. “The amount detected was miniscule by scientific standards and appears to be a remnant of a substance, which the NCAA agreed, Allonzo had unknowingly taken in 2016.
“The University is appealing the decision and is hopefully that Allonzo will regain his eligibility soon.”
This is a potential massive blow for a Wildcats team that began the season as one of the top national championship contenders, but has spent much of this season dealing with disappointment and distraction, from their part in the FBI corruption investigation to inconsistency on the floor and now this regarding one of its top players.
Trier is averaging 19.6 points and shooting 54.1 percent from the floor, including 43 percent from the 3-point range.
The Wildcats play at Oregon State tonight and at Oregon Saturday before finishing the regular season at home against Stanford and Cal.
Attention will now turn to the NCAA appeals process – how quickly can it move and what determination will it make? Trier’s status will impact one of the most talented teams in the country, which by extension means it will impact the national championship race next month.
For a team that’s been in the center of controversy all season, and somehow has added another layer to a wild season.
Bubble Banter: Will the Pac-12’s bubble picture gain some clarity?
As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Thursday.
It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:
Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus
The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.
YET TO PLAY
Duke’s Bolden undergoes surgery to repair nasal bone
Duke sophomore Marques Bolden underwent surgery Thursday to repair a fractured nasal bone, the school announced.
Bolden is not expected to miss any time for the Blue Devils, who host Syracuse on Saturday.
The 6-foot-11 forward is averaging 4.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per night. Bolden has already missed time this season with a knee injury and has recently been playing through the pain of his fractured nose.
A five-star prospect coming out of Texas in the Class of 2016, Bolden hasn’t been a major presence for the Blue Devils the last two years, but has given Blue Devils good minutes since returning from that knee injury over the last month.
After hosting Syracuse this weekend, Duke, which is 23-5 overall and 11-4 in the ACC, plays at Virginia Tech and then welcomes North Carolina to Durham to finish off the regular season.
Michael Porter, Jr. cleared to return to basketball activities
Missouri may be adding a lottery pick to its roster for the stretch run.
Michael Porter, Jr., who began the year projected as a potential No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, has been medically cleared to return to basketball activities after missing the entire season with a back injury, a source confirmed to NBC Sports.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein was the first to report the news.
The 6-foot-11 freshman played the opening minutes of the Tigers’ opening game against Iowa State to start the year, but has been sidelined ever since. It is currently unclear if he’ll move from being cleared to play to actually hitting the floor for the Tigers.
It seemed unlikely that Porter would ever play college basketball because of the injury, but throughout the season he has never ruled out the possibility. Now that he has reportedly been cleared to play, the question undoubtedly will become should he?
Even without playing another second of college hoops, Porter will be a top pick in June’s draft. Some teams may even consider him for the top pick, if his health screenings check out, just based on workouts and the track record of his dominating play on the AAU circuit for years.
Still, if he’s healthy enough to play and wants to play, it’s unquestionable that it is a decision that is completely his. And it would make Missouri one heck of an interesting team.
The Tigers are 18-10 overall and 8-7 and appeared poised to make the NCAA tournament in coach Cuonzo Martin’s first year in Columbia. For their next game, they play – of course they do – Kentucky on Saturday. Talk about added intrigue for that game.