Where do the undecided prospects from the 2016 NBA Draft Combine stand?

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CHICAGO — The 2016 NBA Draft Combine had more than a dozen players who are still trying to decide whether or not to return to college basketball or go pro immediately.

CBT caught up with many of them and also watched workouts at the combine and spoke to a handful of NBA scouts to get a feel for where each prospect stands as the May 25th deadline approaches. While some players have already officially signed with an agent or opted to go back to school, many others are still weighing their options for next season.

Already leaving

Cheick Diallo, Kansas – After a freshman season that only saw him play 201 total minutes, the former McDonald’s All-American has signed with an agent and will stay in the draft. With the way he played at the combine, this is probably the best decision for Diallo.

Chinanu Onuaku, Louisville – Rick Pitino is expecting his sophomore center to stay in the draft. The 6-foot-10 big man is having a minor heart procedure on Monday and will likely keep his name in the draft. At the combine, Onuaku measured well and showed that he can be a solid rotational big man in the NBA thanks to his ability to score around the basket, rebound his area and defend.

Malachi Richardson, Syracuse – Richardson signing with an agent and staying in the draft doesn’t come as much of a surprise, since the freshman wing had opted not to play in the combine. The 6-foot-6 Richardson will have a great chance to be a first-round pick if he works out well for a few teams.

Already returning to school

Justin Jackson, North Carolina – The sophomore is returning to North Carolina after a so-so showing at the combine. Jackson told NBCSports.com that he interviewed with 11 teams at the combine and got a lot of feedback regarding his shooting and ability to put on strength. Jackson could have been a second-round selection this year, but with another year of work on those problem areas, maybe he tries to test again next year.

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Players who should go

Ben Bentil, Providence – Showing at the combine that he didn’t need Kris Dunn to be productive, Bentil was very good after an outstanding sophomore season. One of the more productive players in the camp’s scrimmages, Bentil hit shots from the perimeter, scored inside and also measured at a solid 6-foot-8 with a 7-1.5 wingspan. Providence could be in for a rebuilding year and Bentil won’t have Dunn making life easier on him, so it might be time for him to leave school.

Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson – One player who will likely make a late decision is Blossomgame, as the junior forward was very solid at the combine as he has a week of important workouts ahead. Blossomgame told reporters at the combine that he’s hoping to stick somewhere in the 25-to-40 range, and that’s very possible after he measured well and showed some good traits during combine scrimmages. With the way Blossomgame performed at the combine, a lot of NBA teams have positive things to say about him and he might be in position to be a late first-round pick.

Marcus Lee, Kentucky – It was not a good camp for the Kentucky junior big man, as he wasn’t productive in scrimmages and didn’t impress that much in athletic testing. Since Lee needs to add weight and increase his skill level, returning to Kentucky might seem like the obvious option. But is Lee going to get that many minutes when Bam Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel, Isaac Humphries, Tai Wynyard, Sasha Killeya-Jones and, potentially Marques Bolden, are all on the roster? Lee probably won’t be drafted, but he might as well get paid to sit on the bench and develop rather than sit a lot during his senior season.

Malik Newman, Mississippi State – One of the draft’s most intriguing players is Newman, a freshman guard who was up-and-down in his first year under Ben Howland. Many have believed that Newman would always be a one-and-done player but he’s seriously considering returning to school with a Mississippi State roster that is much better next season. Newman performed okay at the combine, as he showed he can take (and make) tough jumpers, but he wasn’t great in any one facet. With Mississippi State’s backcourt looking crowded next season, Newman might be best served to leave now if a team really likes him.

Pascal Siakam, New Mexico State – The junior big man is in a solid spot after the combine as Siakam measured in with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and showed that he can be a high-motor big man with a developing skill set. Since his former head coach, Marvin Menzies, is now at UNLV and Siakam is already 22 years old, he might be best served to leave now while his stock is the highest.

Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall – While the consensus seems to be that Whitehead will stay in the draft, he told reporters at the combine that he’s still deciding on things as his decision will come on Thursday. With his ability to score and distribute a bit, Whitehead is an attractive guard for some teams who want a boost off the bench while others don’t want to deal with the potential headaches of a bad decision maker. Since Whitehead is coming off of a big sophomore season — in which the Big East produced two expected lottery picks and the national champions — I’m not sure his stock is going to get any higher if he returns and has another good year.

Players who should stay:

Josh Hart, Villanova – The defending champion and Wildcat junior guard told NBCSports.com that he’s “50/50” right now with his decision. I went a lot more in-depth on Hart and Villanova’s situation here. Given the way Hart struggled to adapt at the combine scrimmages, another year of building his offensive skills would help a lot.

Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin – Wisconsin junior forward Nigel Hayes has already played in two Final Fours and a Sweet 16, but he’s also trying to get a feel for what his draft stock is. “All the teams are asking, ‘why are you here?’ They want to see if they’re wasting their time speaking to me and evaluating me and if I’m here to have fun or go on to the next level and be prepared,” Hayes said. With the way he passively went through combine scrimmages, it would be surprising to see Hayes stick in the draft. But this is a good learning experience for next year when Hayes is a senior.

Dedric Lawson, Memphis – One of the combine’s youngest players, Lawson didn’t look prepared at all for this setting as he was completely overmatched during most of the scrimmages. With Lawson’s brother and father still around at Memphis next season, a return to play for a year under Tubby Smith — at the very least — seems like a wise decision for Dedric’s NBA prospects.

Caleb Swanigan, Purdue – Because of a calf issue, Swanigan has been working through therapy and had to cancel a couple of team workouts. He told NBCSports.com that he’s about 85 percent at the moment and he didn’t look particularly great at the combine. Swanigan was sluggish at times and didn’t do much to help his own offense. He still hasn’t decided on next season, but he’d be wise to consider returning to a solid Purdue team. “I haven’t really thought about [signing with an agent or not]. Just focused on playing and enjoying the process,” Swanigan said.

Melo Trimble, Maryland – One of the more intriguing decisions left is from Maryland sophomore guard Melo Trimble. Since Trimble would be the only returning starter for the Terps, it gives him a unique perspective. “It makes it a lot harder. You’re not going to have any starters come back at all. For me, being the only starter coming back, it would be very difficult,” Trimble said. “If I went back to Maryland I also have people that have been there since I’ve been there — Damonte [Dodd], Jared [Nickens] and Dion Wiley — and everyone keeps getting better. That’s just how it is. The NBA is new faces all the time. It’s tough to think about how [last year’s starters around me are] not going to be back.” With the way he measured poorly, didn’t look in great shape and didn’t play well in scrimmages, another year of Trimble showing he’s a developing lead guard wouldn’t hurt.

Troy Williams, Indiana – It wasn’t a great week at the combine for the Indiana junior wing, but he’s still weighing his options for the future. “I would say I’m in the middle still. I’ll most likely make my decision after this week. Sometime next week, I go back to Indiana, I’ll talk to my family then,” Williams said. Williams shot the ball poorly, was reckless with the ball in his hands and didn’t show that great of a basketball IQ at the combine. I’m not sure Williams has a ton to gain by returning to Indiana, but he would have a potentially great team to play on in Bloomington.

College basketball broadcaster Billy Packer dies at 82

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Billy Packer, an Emmy award-winning college basketball broadcaster who covered 34 Final Fours for NBC and CBS, died Thursday. He was 82.

Packer’s son, Mark, told The Associated Press that his father had been hospitalized in Charlotte for the past three weeks and had several medical issues, and ultimately succumbed to kidney failure.

Packer’s broadcasting career coincided with the growth of college basketball. He worked as analyst or color commentator on every Final Four from 1975 to 2008. He received a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio and Sports Analyst in 1993.

“He really enjoyed doing the Final Fours,” Mark Packer said. “He timed it right. Everything in life is about timing. The ability to get involved in something that, frankly, he was going to watch anyway, was a joy to him. And then college basketball just sort of took off with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and that became, I think, the catalyst for college basketball fans to just go crazy with March Madness.”

Packer played three seasons at Wake Forest, and helped lead the Demon Deacons to the Final Four in 1962, but it was his work as an analyst that brought him the most acclaim.

He joined NBC in 1974 and called his first Final Four in 1975. UCLA beat Kentucky in the title game that year in what was John Wooden’s final game as coach.

Packer was also part of the broadcast in 1979 with Dick Enberg and Al McGuire when Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team beat Larry Bird’s Indiana State squad in the title game. That remains highest-rated game in basketball history with a 24.1 Nielsen rating, which is an estimated 35.1 million viewers.

Packer went to CBS in the fall of 1981, when the network acquired the rights to the NCAA Tournament. He remained the network’s main analyst until the 2008 Final Four.

In 1996 at CBS, Packer was involved in controversy when he used the term “tough monkey? to describe then-Georgetown star Allen Iverson during a game. Packer later said he “was not apologizing for what I said, because what I said has no implications in my mind whatsoever to do with Allen Iverson’s race.?

Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, said Packer was “synonymous with college basketball for more than three decades and set the standard of excellence as the voice of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.”

“He had a tremendous impact on the growth and popularity of the sport.” McManus said. “In true Billy fashion, he analyzed the game with his own unique style, perspective and opinions, yet always kept the focus on the game. As passionate as he was about basketball, at his heart Billy was a family man. He leaves part of his legacy at CBS Sports, across college basketball and, most importantly, as a beloved husband, father and grandfather. He will be deeply missed by all.”

Packer was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale took to Twitter as word of Packer’s death spread. “So sad to learn of the passing of Billy Packer who had such a passion for college basketball,” Vitale tweeted. “My (prayers) go out to Billy’s son Mark & the entire Packer family. Always had great RESPECT for Billy & his partners Dick Enberg & Al McGuire-they were super. May Billy RIP.”

College basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla tweeted: “We fell in love (with) college basketball because of you. Your voice will remain in my head forever.”

Packer was viewed as a controversial figure during his broadcasting days, often drawing the ire of college basketball fans, particularly on North Carolina’s “Tobacco Road.”

“As a kid, I was a big NC State fan growing up, and I would watch a game and the next day I’d be like, `Boy you sure have it out for NC State, don’t you?’ And he would just laugh,” Mark Packer said.

The younger Packer, who is the host of ACC PM on the ACC Network, said it didn’t matter what school – most fans felt the same way about his father.

“He would cover North Carolina game and Tar Heels fans would be like, `you hate North Carolina,”‘ Mark Packer said. “Wake (Forest) fans would be like, `you hate us.’ And Billy just sort of got a kick out of that.”

Mark Packer said that while most fans will remember his father as a broadcaster, he’ll remember him even more for his business acumen. He said his father was a big real estate investor, and also owned a vape company, among other ventures.

“Billy was always a bit of a hustler – he was always looking for that next business deal,” Packer said.

Clemson starter Galloway will miss time after surgery

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson starter Brevin Galloway is expected to miss games for the 24th-ranked Tigers after having surgery on his groin area Thursday.

The 6-foot-3 Galloway has started 20 of 21 games after transferring from Boston College this past offseason.

Galloway posted on social media that he’d had the surgery. Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that Galloway had the operation.

Galloway said in his post he will be in uniform soon. He is not expected to play at Florida State on Saturday.

A fifth-year player, Galloway has averaged 10.6 points a game this season. He’s second on the Tigers with 55 assists and 18 steals.

The Tigers (17-4) lead the Atlantic Coast Conference at 9-1 in league play.

Clemson is already down two experienced players due to injury.

Point guard Chase Hunter, who started the team’s first 18 games, has missed the past three with a foot injury.

Guard Alex Hemenway, in his fourth season, has missed the past nine games with a foot injury. Hemenway was the team’s leading 3-point shooter (27 of 54) before getting hurt.

Zach Edey has 19 points, No. 1 Purdue beats Michigan 75-70

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Zach Edey had 15 of his 19 points in the first half and Fletcher Loyer finished with 17 points to help No. 1 Purdue hold off Michigan 75-70 on Thursday night.

The Boilermakers (20-1, 9-1 Big Ten) had a 15-0 run to go ahead 41-28 lead in the first half after there were 10 lead changes and four ties, but they couldn’t pull away.

The Wolverines (11-9, 5-4) were without standout freshman Jett Howard, who missed the game with an ankle injury, and still hung around until the final seconds.

Joey Baker made a 3-pointer – off the glass – with 5.9 seconds left to pull Michigan within three points, but Purdue’s Brandon Newman sealed the victory with two free throws.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said Michigan slowed down Edey in the second half by pushing him away from the basket.

“They got him out a little more, and got him bottled up,” Painter said.

The 7-foot-4 Edey, though, was too tough to stop early in the game.

“He’s one of the best in the country for a reason,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “He’s very effective, especially if he’s 8 feet and in.”

With size and skills such as a hook shot, the junior center from Toronto scored Purdue’s first seven points and finished the first half 7 of 12 from the field and 1 of 2 at the line.

“He did a great job in the first half, going to his right shoulder and using his left hand,” Painter said. “He made four baskets with his left hand which is huge.”

Freshman Braden Smith had 10 points for the Boilermakers.

Purdue’s defense ultimately denied Michigan’s comeback hopes, holding a 22nd straight opponent to 70 or fewer points.

Hunter Dickinson scored 21, Kobe Bufkin had 16 points and Baker added 11 points for the Wolverines, who have lost four of their last six games.

Dickinson, a 7-1 center, matched up with Edey defensively and pulled him out of the lane offensively by making 3 of 7 3-pointers.

“Half his shots were from the 3, and that’s a little different,” Painter said. “His meat and potatoes are on that block. He’s the real deal.”


The Boilermakers got the top spot in the AP Top 25 this week after winning six games, a stretch that followed a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 3 that dropped them from No. 1 in the poll. Purdue improved to 7-2 as the top-ranked team.


Purdue: Edey can’t beat teams by himself and he’s surrounded by a lot of role players and a potential standout in Loyer. The 6-4 guard was the Big Ten player of the week earlier this month, become the first Boilermaker freshman to win the award since Robbie Hummel in 2008.

“Fletcher is somebody who has played better in the second half, and on the road,” Painter said.

Michigan: Jett Howard’s health is a critical factor for the Wolverines, who will have some work to do over the second half of the Big Ten season to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Howard averages 14.6 points and is the most dynamic player on his father’s team.


The Boilermakers were away from home for 12 of 23 days, winning all five of their road games. They won at Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan for the first time since the 1997-98 season and beat the Spartans and Wolverines on their home court in the same season for the first time in 12 years.


Purdue: Hosts Michigan State on Sunday, nearly two weeks after the Boilermakers beat the Spartans by a point on Edey’s shot with 2.2 seconds left.

Michigan: Plays at Penn State on Sunday.

Miller scores 23, No. 10 Maryland tops No. 13 Michigan 72-64

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Diamond Miller scored 23 points, and No. 10 Maryland closed the first quarter with a 13-2 run and led the rest of the way in a 72-64 victory over No. 13 Michigan on Thursday night.

Abby Meyers contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins (17-4, 8-2), who won for the 10th time in 11 games. Lavender Briggs scored 14 points and Shyanne Sellers added 13.

Maryland gained a measure of revenge after losing twice to Michigan last season – including a 20-point rout in College Park.

Leigha Brown led the Wolverines with 16 points.

Michigan (16-5, 6-4) led 13-9 in the first quarter before a three-point play by Miller started Maryland’s big run. Briggs and Faith Masonius made 3-pointers during that stretch.

The Terps pushed the lead to 16 in the third quarter before the Wolverines were able to chip away. Miller sat for a bit with four fouls, and Michigan cut the lead to seven in the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines still wasted too many possessions with turnovers to mount much of a comeback.

Michigan ended up with 24 turnovers, and Maryland had a 25-5 advantage in points off turnovers.

Miller fouled out with 2:19 remaining, but even after those two free throws, the Terps led 65-57 and had little trouble holding on.

Michigan lost for the second time in four days against a top-10 opponent. No. 6 Indiana beat the Wolverines 92-83 on Monday.


Michigan: Whether it was against Maryland’s press or in their half-court offense, the Wolverines turned the ball over too much to score consistently. This was a lower-scoring game than the loss to Indiana, but the margin ended up being similar.

Maryland: While Miller clearly led the way, the Terps had plenty of offensive contributors. They also held Michigan to 13 points below its season average entering the game.


The Wolverines have appeared in 48 straight AP polls, and although a two-loss week could certainly drop them, the quality of their opponents could save them from a substantial plunge.

Maryland is tied for 10th with an Iowa team that beat No. 2 Ohio State on Monday night. Now the Terps can boast an impressive victory of their own.


Michigan: The Wolverines play their third game of the week when they visit Minnesota on Sunday.

Maryland: The Terps host Penn State on Monday night.


Boum, Jones lead No. 13 Xavier over No. 19 UConn, 82-79

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STORRS, Conn. – Souley Boum scored 21 points, Colby Jones added 20 and No. 13 Xavier went on the road and held off No. 19 Connecticut 82-79 Wednesday night.

The win was the 13th in 14 games for the Musketeers (17-4, 9-1 Big East) and it gave them a season sweep over the struggling Huskies (16-6, 5-6).

Jack Nunge had 12 points and Jerome Hunter added 11 for Xavier, which led by 17 in the first half and 39-24 at halftime.

Jordan Hawkins scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for UConn, leading a comeback that fell just short.

Tristen Newton added 23 points for the Huskies, who won their first 14 games this season but have dropped six of eight since.

The Musketeers never trailed but had to withstand UConn runs that cut the lead to a single point four times in the second half.

A three-point play from Hawkins made it 78-77 with 2:40 left. But a second-chance layup from Nunge put the lead at 80-77 just over a minute later.

Newton was fouled with two seconds left by Desmond Claude, but his apparent attempt to miss his second free throw went into the basket.

Boum then hit two free throws at the other end, and Newton’s final attempt from just beyond halfcourt was well short.

Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead as UConn missed its first nine shots.

A 3-pointer from Zach Freemantle gave the Musketeers their first double-digit lead at 20-9, and another from Jones pushed it to 35-18.


Xavier: The Musketeers lead the Big East, and the win over UConn was their ninth conference victory this season, eclipsing their total from last season.

UConn: The Huskies came in with a 17-game winning streak at Gampel Pavilion dating to February 2021. They fell to 1-4 against the four teams in front of them in the Big East standings. The lone win came at Gampel against Creighton.


Xavier: The Musketeers continue their road trip with a visit to Creighton on Saturday.

UConn: Doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, when the Huskies visit DePaul.