adidas Nations Saturday Night Recap: Pros Arron Afflalo, Kyle Lowry join the action

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LONG BEACH, California — After playing one round of games during the morning session the attendees at adidas Nations were back at it in the evening, with there once again being for high school games and two college counselor contests. Scott Phillips and Raphielle Johnson were in attendance once again, this time focusing solely on the two college games. Play was more physical, and with Arron Afflalo (Denver Nuggets) and Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors) playing in the games (one on each court) the intensity was raised as well. Below are a few thoughts on Saturday’s evening session.

RELATED: adidas Nations Saturday Morning Thoughts

– Pros Arron Afflalo, Kyle Lowry join the college counselors game and their impact on the level of play was evident from the start.

With Afflalo and Lowry playing in the games, ball movement and player movement improved as a result. And if there was one player who took on the challenge of dealing with Afflalo on both ends of the floor was Arizona freshman Stanley Johnson. The 6-foot-8 wing handled the physical play well, finishing through contact and doing a good job of “locking and trailing” Afflalo through down screens. In speaking with a couple NBA scouts in attendance, they came away from the game impressed with the way in which Johnson competed both offensively and defensively. That will be a key for Stanley as the Wildcats look to account for the loss of the versatile Nick Johnson on the perimeter. (RJ)

Click here for CBT’s coverage from adidas Nations

Kyle Lowry just signed a four-year, $48 million dollar contract with the Toronto Raptors but that didn’t stop him from jumping in with the college counselors and playing hard. Lowry took charges, woofed at officials and was talking some mess to A.J. English at the free-throw line. Lowry got his UCLA teammates the ball and generally upped the level of play against guards like Derrick Walton, English and Zak Irvin. Although Lowry didn’t have any high-profile positional matchups like Stanley Johnson against Arron Afflalo, his intensity resonated with the group and the level of play was significantly increased from the morning session. (SP)

– Tony Parker plays the clean-up roll.

UCLA sophomore big man Tony Parker put together a string of productive efforts on Saturday as he registered a double-double in the night game. Parker didn’t do much with offensive touches in the half court but he did one thing incredibly well in the night game: hit the offensive glass.

Parker posted 11 offensive rebounds and it led to most of his points on Saturday night. Although he struggled with his off-hand and didn’t do much with his post touches, there is something to be said for consistently cleaning up misses and producing points. If Parker can do that for an uptempo UCLA offense this season, Steve Alford will be thrilled. Parker still floats in-and-out of games sometimes, but when he’s fully engaged, he can be very productive. (SP)

– E.C. Matthews working to improve his point guard skills.

As a freshman at Rhode Island, Matthews went from a player who factored into the rotation for head coach Dan Hurley to the Atlantic 10’s best freshman as he was named the league’s Rookie of the Year. Now with Xavier Munford out of eligibility Matthews has been working more on his ball-handling, as he’ll be expected to spend more time at the point guard position in 2014-15. When asked where he made his greatest strides last season, Matthews noted that he had a better understanding of what his role was as the year wore on.

“When the season started I really didn’t know my role,” Matthews told on Friday. “But as the season [wore on] I got better and I knew what my role was, and that was to score and get everyone else involved. I’m looking to be a captain this year and I’ll be playing the one. I have to work on [strengthening] my right hand, but I think I’ll be able to [play the point].”

Through two days at adidas Nations, Matthews hasn’t been spectacular but he’s been solid, spending time at both guard spots on a team that includes LSU point guard Josh Gray. In Saturday’s night cap Matthews used his length well defensively, getting into passing lanes and even getting the game-saving block on a Terry Rozier jump shot attempt. The offense is still a work in progress when it comes to running the show, but his ability to get into the lane and finish was easy to notice. (RJ)

Villanova’s Maalik Wayns to ‘test the waters’ of NBA draft

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The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that Villanova junior point guard Maalik Wayns will enter him name into the 2012 NBA draft but will not yet hire an agent, leaving the door of possibility open for him to return to Villanova for his senior season.

“I want to test the waters at this point to see where I stand,” said Wayns in a statement.

Wayns is a graduate of Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic High School and led Villanova with over 17 points and four assists per game in 2011-12, earning him the honor of being named to the All-Big East second team.

Reports are that Villanova coach Jay Wright was expecting the move, and Daily News sources indicate that there is a strong possibility that Wayns remains in the draft, though he likely will not be a first-round pick.

“I think this is a smart decision for Maalik at this stage of his career,” said Wright in a press release. “I look forward to working with him as we go through this process.”

If he does not hire an agent and maintains his amateur status, Wayns can withdraw his name from the draft by April 10 and return to Villanova.

Recent Villanova guards Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher, and Corey Stokes now continue their careers overseas, and former Jay Wright guards Randy Foye and Kyle Lowry are enjoying solid NBA careers.

New NCAA rules concerning declaring for the draft have made the situation more complex. Players must decide whether they want to be in or out by April 10, but the NBA early-entry deadline is April 29.

As Jonathan Givony of Draft Express explains,  “NBA teams can’t work out or interact with underclassmen until the early-entry list comes out a few days after the deadline (around May 1st).”

This would seem to render the April 10 NCAA deadline insignificant because players have until the 29th to submit their names, without the NCAA’s ability to “hold players back,” if you will, from entering the draft. If Player X were to enter the draft on, say, April 21st, the NCAA has no way to keep that from happening. That would only mean that Player X would not be able to return to school.

The difference this year is that players will not be able to go through the work out process with NBA teams, gauge their value, and decide, as that cannot take place until after about May 1st.

Trust that this discussion won’t go away, as players continue to throw their hats into the ring for the 2012 draft.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_