4 starters from UConn males’s basketball’s nationwide championship group had been among the many over 120 gamers invited to Chicago subsequent week to work out in entrance of NBA and G League scouts of their respective combines.
The official checklist of NBA Draft Mix invitees launched Tuesday included UConn’s “Huge Three:” Jordan Hawkins, Adama Sanogo and Andre Jackson. These exercises will happen at Wintrust Area, dwelling of DePaul and the WNBA Chicago Sky, and the Chicago Marriott Marquis from Might 15-21.
Level guard Tristen Newton was amongst about 45 gamers invited to the G League Elite Camp on Might 13-14. He might play his method to an invitation for the NBA Draft Mix later that week.
Newton and Jackson have each left the choice on the desk to return to UConn for an additional season and could have till Might 31 to decide.
“There isn’t a draw back (to gamers testing professional waters whereas retaining faculty eligibility). There isn’t one,” Jay Bilas, an ESPN faculty basketball analyst, informed The Courant.
“They will attempt it and see how they’re evaluated, it’s good expertise for them, so I don’t see the draw back. But when you realize – like Kyle Filipowski at Duke – if you realize you’re coming again, possibly he simply doesn’t need to do it. Why threat damage – something can occur. However general, it’s nothing however a constructive for my part,” Bilas mentioned.
Filipowski, one in all Duke’s 7-footers, is in the same place draft-wise to UConn’s Donovan Clingan. Each have determined to return to varsity for a sophomore season and ought to be projected as excessive draft picks in 2024.
Bilas shared his ideas on UConn’s professional prospects with The Courant:
A sophomore guard, Hawkins’ biggest ability is well-documented. The Gaithersburg, Maryland, native has the most effective capturing strokes within the draft, and will discover a excellent slot in a league that enormously values capturing capability .
“I believe he’s maybe the perfect prospect proper now [from] that UConn group due to his capturing,” Bilas mentioned.
Hawkins made almost three 3-pointers per sport throughout the 2022-23 nationwide championship season. He upped his proportion from past the arc from 33.3% as a freshman to 38.8% final season, whereas ending second on the group in scoring at 16.2 factors per sport. Hawkins placed on a present throughout the NCAA Event run, capturing the three at a 50% clip (21-for-42 over six video games).
“Perhaps as a result of they wore the identical uniform in faculty, he does remind you a bit of bit – it’s not an ideal comparability – however he conjures up pictures of Ray Allen with the way in which he shoots and he strikes nicely with out the ball. And the standard of pictures that he takes is actually excessive, I believe it’s 85% of his pictures are categorized as ‘excessive worth’ – he doesn’t take unhealthy ones,” Bilas mentioned.
“He’s a terrific shooter and I believe he’ll show that that will likely be very useful, not solely within the draft, however in his future NBA years.”
So, when will ‘Hawk’ be chosen?
“He strikes me as extra of a middle-of-the-first-round participant,” Bilas mentioned, although he mentioned he hasn’t but solidified his draft projections. “He’s definitely a first-round expertise and he’s not one in all these loopy athletes. There’s so many guys which might be popping out which might be lottery picks, that you’d classify as world-class athletes – that’s not his power.
“His power is is the ability of having the ability to actually shoot the ball – and that’s an extremely useful ability. I imply, so many gamers within the NBA are specialists. And I’m not speaking about simply the highest line superstars, that goes past specialists – however, I believe that Jordan’s received the power to shoot it, shoot it with vary, and he could make mid-range pictures. He’s a useful piece due to that capturing capability.”
Hawkins is ranked the Thirteenth-best participant obtainable within the draft by ESPN.
UConn head coach Dan Hurley lately in contrast Sanogo, the Most Excellent Participant on the Remaining 4, to Golden State Warriors’ heart Kevon Looney.
The 2 every stand at 6-foot-9, although Sanogo is about 30 kilos heavier, and play the same, conventional fashion down low. Looney, not a 3-point shooter, stood out within the Warriors’ first spherical playoff sequence towards the Sacramento Kings and in Recreation 1 of the Western Convention Semifinals as he averaged greater than 18.8 rebounds per sport over a six-game stretch.
— Dan Hurley (@dhurley15) April 30, 2023
“I do know these entrance workplaces get caught up in ‘What do you measure at?’ ‘What’s your vertical?’ and all of the analytics, however there are gamers like Kevon Looney that, I don’t know the place he can be drafted in at present’s NBA world, however he’s a useful member of a group that possibly goes to win a championship,” Hurley mentioned in Might.
Sanogo led the Huskies with greater than 17 factors and seven.2 rebounds per sport throughout the 2022-23 season. Within the NCAA Event, Sanogo tallied 19.7 factors and 9.8 rebounds per sport with 4 double-doubles.
Bilas thinks the comparability is truthful.
“(On the mix) they’re going to take a look at his general productiveness and I believe definitely how he operates towards gamers with size, as a result of he’s going to see plenty of these within the mix,” Bilas mentioned. “I believe he’s received plenty of capability and a few actual upside there as a result of he’s such a dominant presence within the low-post on the faculty stage. UConn runs what I might name a pro-style offense, so it shouldn’t be too huge of an adjustment. I believe typically guys go to the mix pondering they need to do one thing totally different, present one thing totally different, and I’m not essentially positive if that’s true with Adama Sanogo. I believe if he goes and simply performs the way in which he usually performs, folks will see that he’s received nice worth in impacting successful.”
ESPN has Sanogo ranked because the 87th-best participant obtainable within the draft and the ninth-best heart.
Andre Jackson Jr.
One of the vital eye-grabbing gamers in faculty basketball final season, Jackson proved himself as an elite athlete who can have an effect on the sport in a number of other ways.
His solely knock, nonetheless, is a well-documented wrestle capturing the ball from deep (his 3-point capturing proportion dropped from 36% as a sophomore to twenty-eight% as a junior) – nearly vital in at present’s NBA world.
“There could also be a spot, nevertheless it’s not as strong a spot as a participant that may shoot,” Bilas mentioned. “Andre Jackson brings plenty of issues to the desk. He’s a superb defender, he’s the most effective transition passers in faculty basketball, so he’s received plenty of instruments that he can carry, and he can guard a number of positions. So he’s a useful piece, however his worth can be considerably larger if he might reliably knock down a fringe shot.
“As a result of he may be performed for a drive and also you don’t have to increase to him, you’ll be able to get better late. So that may be a limiting issue as an offensive participant. And so any participant that may shoot and you’ll play five-out with them on the ground – I imply, Draymond Inexperienced’s an instance proper now. He’s not a dependable shooter – I really thought he was a extra dependable shooter earlier in his professional profession than he’s now – it doesn’t imply he’s not a really useful piece, he’s, however he’d be much more useful if he was extra of a fringe scoring menace.”
Jackson is ranked ESPN’s Thirtieth-best participant obtainable within the draft, and is projected to go late within the first spherical or early within the second spherical in a number of mock drafts.
After placing collectively a formidable 19-point double-double within the most essential sport of his faculty profession, Newton was invited to the G League Elite Camp to check his professional probabilities.
In his one and solely 12 months at UConn after transferring in from East Carolina, Newton immortalized himself as the one participant in UConn basketball historical past, males’s or ladies’s, to file a number of triple-doubles in the identical season. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound level guard completed the 12 months having averaged 10.1 factors, 4.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds per sport. He shot 37.4% from the sector, 36.6% from past the 3-point line and turned the ball over 3.4 occasions per sport.
Bilas thinks Newton might “completely” make a G League roster, however that will not be sufficient for him to forego an extra season in faculty the place he can be a veteran, fifth-year participant.
“There are a variety of gamers who can do this (make a G League group), however I don’t assume that’s in the end the place he needs to be,” Bilas mentioned. “It’s good enterprise to declare for the draft after which see the way you do within the mix. Should you do nicely, then possibly you keep in, or if not, you’ll be able to all the time return. So I don’t assume there’s any draw back in looking at it.”