NBA

June 28: Dream Team debut here and Tyson takes a bite out of Holyfield

June 28: Dream Team debut here and Tyson takes a bite out of Holyfield

I've been bumping around this business for a long time. Too long, many of you might say. During that time, I've seen some pretty good stuff. Unforgettable stuff.

And it just so happens that a couple of those things happened on this date -- June 28.

The first one was in 1992 right here in Portland, the very first game played by the greatest basketball team ever assembled -- the Dream Team -- in Memorial Coliseum. We had no idea what to expect but the results of all the team's games were more one-sided than we expected. And what I remember most was the introduction of the entire roster before the very first game (June 28) vs. Cuba. It was overwhelming to hear the names of all those great players on one squad making their debut in our arena before heading off to the Olympics.

The assembled crowd went nuts, but the biggest ovation? For Clyde Drexler, of course. And it seemed to go on and on and on -- to the point when Clyde flashed an almost embarrassed grin. The event was called The Tournament of the Americas and it has to be the most impressive show ever staged in Portland, including those trips to the NBA Finals,

But it wasn't the most memorable event I ever covered on a June 28. That came five years later, on June 28, 1997 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. You guessed it -- the Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield fight, best known for Tyson biting Holyfield's ears.

It was the craziest event and the craziest aftermath I've ever been around.

When Tyson landed the first bite I couldn't tell exactly what happened and neither could anyone else in the area where I was sitting. It looked as if Holyfield got stung by a bee. Finally, when it happened again, referee Mills Lane stepped in and called the fight a draw. The press room after the fight was chaos and it was difficult to get a clear picture of what happened until after Lane spoke.

But while I was writing my column for The Oregonian, all sorts of mayhem was playing out in the adjoining casino and hotel. People were upset about the mysterious outcome of the fight and rampaging through the casino -- some of them even stealing chips off tables. Gunshots were heard, although that was never confirmed. I did see the local police department outside the hotel, though, with guns drawn.

Later it was revealed to me that among those caught on security tapes stealing chips off tables was a group of NBA players, who were made to pay back what they stole. The casino was closed for an hour -- which had to cost the establishment upwards of a million bucks.

Me? I didn't get back to my room until the wee hours of the morning, having been waved outside the lobby to the street by some cops who looked as if they meant business. It makes for a great story years later but on June 28, 1992, it was frightening.

This could be the very night, though, when that well-known tourist axiom "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" was born. The next day in the local newspaper, there was a tiny story buried near the back of the main section about a little ruckus at the MGM Grand after the fight, mentioning that people thought they heard gunshots but it was merely the sound of champagne corks. Oh sure.

So today, by the way, I'm just sitting around waiting to see what will happen on this June 28. But so far, Phil Jackson getting fired or Tim Quarterman being traded to Houston just don't move the needle.

NBCS Northwest has you covered for Blazers Summer League

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NBCS Northwest has you covered for Blazers Summer League

2018 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas gets underway this weekend. The tournament runs from July 6th to July 17th, featuring rookies, young NBA players and, of course, free agents looking to prove they belong on a NBA roster.

Games will once again be held at Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus and, for the first time since Summer League debuted in 2004, all 30 NBA teams will be competing in Vegas.

Summer League features both a preliminary round where teams will play three games and then tournament play begins where teams are guaranteed at least two more games. The tournament comes to an end on July 17th with the championship game being played at Thomas & Mack Center.

Last season, the Trail Blazers reached the championship game, before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Blazers tip-off Summer League play on Saturday in Cox Pavilion at 12 p.m. when they take on the Utah Jazz.

Portland announced its official Summer League roster on Monday, which features center Zach Collins and rookies Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr.

The Blazers had its first official SL practice on Tuesday.

 

 

NBC Sports Northwest will have full coverage throughout Summer League. You’ll get the latest interviews, postgame videos, and news at NBCSNorthwest.com. Plus, be sure to check out “The Bridge” with live interviews at 6pm weekdays on NBCS Northwest.

We will also have postgame coverage on “The Scoop” live stream with Chris Burkhardt and Jamie Hudson at Facebook.com/NBCSNorthwest.

Here’s the Trail Blazers pool play schedule:

Saturday 7/7 at Cox 12 p.m. – Portland vs. Utah
Sunday 7/8 at TM 2:30 p.m. – Portland vs. Boston
Tuesday 7/10 at Cox 1 p.m. – San Antonio vs. Portland

You can check out the full schedule for all teams at NBA.com.

NBA Offseason Part Two – Examining playoff teams

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NBA Offseason Part Two – Examining playoff teams

BY JARED WRIGHT

Welcome to Part Two of my NBA Season Review/Offseason Preview/Hybrid Thingy. Part One is here, if you love the sweet, fresh smell of hopeless futility and broken dreams as much as I do.

Without further ado, let’s get stuck into it.

 

Not Exactly the Plan Going In

Washington Wizards: The path was open for the Wiz this year. The Eastern Conference was as ripe for the picking as it ever had been this decade. After a strong showing in the 2017 playoffs, Washington was a sleeper pick to make the Eastern Finals, and maybe even THE Finals if they got a couple breaks (figuratively and/or literally).

The Cleveland Cavaliers had traded Kyrie Irving. The Boston Celtics, who’d loaded up by trading for Irving and signing Gordon Hayward, lost Hayward to a gruesome broken ankle. The Toronto Raptors were, well, the Raptors. Everyone else either didn’t have the talent or the experience the Wiz could boast. So, what went wrong? Why was this team eighth in the East?

Chemistry, my friends. Chemistry.

I won’t go into the details, for it’s both silly and uncomfortable at the same time, but in this modern age of superteams, bromances, and knowing everyone since the age of 10 thanks to the AAU, there are some NBA teams that still have toxic chemistry. Injuries played a part in Washington’s decline, sure, but they only exposed the real issues with this team.

The worst part is, most of these guys have contracts too large to move without giving up assets the Wizards lack. Washington is capped out as badly as the Portland Trail Blazers are (cue the tasteless joke about a D.C. team not being able to handle a budget), and they’ll have to keep their core players and just ride it out.

 

Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokoumnpo may be the do-it-all unicorn alien mutant that may dominate the league in five years, but right now, he can’t actually do it all for Milwaukee. Despite leading the Bucks in all five traditional counting stat categories (points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals) for a whole season, and being in the top 20 league-wide in those stats, the Greek Freak will need help from his teammates if he wants to butt his way into the conversation in the East, which is dominated by Philly and Boston.

20 years ago, Giannis could probably have gotten away with being a one-man show. Unless the likes of Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe, Thon Maker, or Jabari Parker (if he’s brought back) join Khris Middleton in being useful parts of the team, and unless they stay healthy, the Bucks will not get to where they want to go. As fun as the Greek Freak Show is to watch (and also terrifying to experience; in the two games he played versus Portland last year, he dominated in a way I’ve rarely seen before), it’s a show that is doomed to end every April until a reliable supporting cast is assembled.

 

Stuck in Neutral, Is There a Reverse Gear?

Miami Heat: Owing Hassan Whiteside, a pouty rim-running center that hasn’t done as much rim protecting or rim-running as Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra would like, $75 million over the next three years has tossed a wrench into any plans to bring another top free agent to South Beach, this time to lead a scrappy band of overachievers and pseudo-stars. It’s a shame, really; a guy like Paul George or Demarcus Cousins (provided he makes a reasonable recovery from Achilles surgery) would be an ideal tentpole for a team this versatile and well-coached.

Instead, thanks to Whiteside, Dion Waiters, and Tyler Johnson soaking up about 40% of the cap between them, Miami has to miss out on the latest free-agent derby. They will be a tough out in the first round, but they will be an out. Pour one out for Spo, the best coach no one is talking about. (The man survived as LeBron James’ coach for four full seasons, and survived his departure. That alone should speak volumes about Spolestra’s abilities.)

 

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Oklahoma City Thunder: If I were Paul George, and I had a choice of where to sign in free agency, I would choose the blank slate of the Los Angeles Lakers, or the exciting young nucleus in Philadelphia, rather than commit the prime years of my career to a team showcasing the biggest ball hog to ever hog a ball, Russell Westbrook.

It’s not that George had a bad year, or a bad time playing with Westbrook; PG’s the kind of player that can oscillate between being the primary option and taking a supporting role. George having to play the supporting role too often was an issue for the Thunder, as he’d join his teammates in standing around on the perimeter while Westbrook did his thing, which could be summed up as “consumer of all possessions.” Westbrook averaged a triple-double (double-digit totals of points, rebounds, and assists per game) in consecutive seasons, the only guy in NBA history to do that, but he had to use up a Wilt Chamberlain-esque level of possessions to do it, as well as shamelessly steal rebounds. It was so bad, his teammates tried to make good-natured jokes about Westbrook being a blatant stat-chaser and rebound thief.

Westbrook is his generation’s Wilt, but that will likely come at the same Wiltian price: a lack of postseason success compared with the rest of his transcendent peers. Chamberlain won a title in the one year Bill Russell’s legendary Celtics teams had a letdown in the 1960s, then another in 1972 as the NBA was at a very weak state after Russell’s retirement, but his frenemy won 11 championships while playing much more inspired defense; in the run-n-gun sixties, Bill Russell was the only true defensive terror, and I just provided you with all the evidence you need. All the success Westbrook’s ruthless numerical dominance has gotten him in the playoffs are first-round exits, to teams that have (on paper) inferior talent to the Thunder.

As for George, if he does re-sign with OKC this summer, he’ll either see something in the franchise nobody else would, or he has a strong masochistic streak.

 

San Antonio Spurs: The news over the weekend that superstar forward Kawhi Leonard wanted out of San Antonio was shocking, and yet unsurprising. Unsurprising, because Leonard and the Spurs have been at odds over the management of his tendinopathy for months, to the point that Leonard left the team and sought medical advice on his own, without input from the team—you know, the guys that are paying him eight figures to dribble a ball.

It is also shocking, however, because the Spurs are the most stable, open-minded, player-friendly organization in the NBA, and maybe in all of professional sport. Professionalism defines this franchise, and the men running it, to a T, and has since I was a pudgy teenager eating a carrot a day to lose weight. And Kawhi Leonard would have been voted the “player least likely to start **** with his team” every year since San Antonio acquired him to serve as the heir to the immortal Tim Duncan. Stoic and emotionless almost to a fault, Leonard carried out his business with the precision, excellence, and professionalism expected of a Spur.

It’s stunning, sad, and disappointing that Leonard is reportedly seeking a trade, but all things in this world must end. Even the Spurs’ run of incredible play. Maybe Leonard felt the pressure of having to replace one of the best of all time in Duncan too much. Maybe he was hurting too much and felt the Spurs didn’t do everything in their power to help him. Maybe he felt slighted that his teammates kept pressuring him to play through his pain. I don’t know, and it isn’t my place to ask.

All I know is, Kawhi Leonard won’t be a Spur for very long, and seeing a basketball institution like the Spurs crumble is yet another change in my life, at a time where everything is changing.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs are the third team with a superstar wing player that’s a flight risk, but where the Thunder were an experiment gone wrong, and the Spurs are an aging giant about to enter its death throes, Cleveland is one of two teams that have made four consecutive NBA Finals, a feat not done since Magic Johnson was running the break for the Showtime Lakers, not sitting at a desk for them, wanting to steal away LeBron James.

There is always a chance James stays home in Cleveland, preferring the easier path to the Finals in the East (even with the Celtics and Sixers developing into legitimate challengers) to the annual charnel house that is the West. It would be a difficult sell, though; after the frustration of the 2018 Finals, LeBron would only choose to stay through some weird blend of sentimentality and masochism. He’d be nuts to willingly put his legacy in the hands of J.R. Smith.

Whether he goes to the Lakers, sets up shop in Philly, somehow worms his way onto the Houston Rockets, or chooses to go in another direction, the odds are that he’d have the best chance of winning more titles, and continuing the Chase of MJ, outside of northeast Ohio. And in case you’re the kind of person that values loyalty in athletes (especially hometown athletes), LeBron already won one for the Land. He owes Cleveland nothing.

 

Hanging on By a Thread

Minnesota Timberwolves: On the surface, the Timberpups are set for the future; Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler are a great one-two punch when Towns gives a crap about defense. There are two huge issues with this young, seemingly up-and-coming team, though.

One is Andrew Wiggins’ monstrous contract. Five years, $151 million, set to start in October, for a player who’s never shot above 35% from three-point range, is inconsistent on defense (at least by Butler’s elite expectations, and coach Tom Thibodeau’s exacting demands), and is viewed by the wider NBA community as an inefficient chucker who struggled to blend in with similarly, or more, talented teammates. While I would be inclined to say that it was just one year, and that Wiggins is young and has his prime in front of him, the combination of that five-year max contract and Thibs’ crushing demands means the learning curve gets very steep, very quick. It’s already sink-or-swim time for Wiggins, and the Wolves might sink with him.

Two, Thibodeau’s coaching style, roster usage, and roster construction as the Wolves’ president of basketball operations have combined to create a seven-man rotation that is getting run right into the dirt. Butler, who played for Thibodeau in Chicago, may be used to it now, but it’s way too easy to see a potential Luol Deng situation with Butler, where he’d get run absolutely ragged by Thibs and end up washed and a shell of himself well before his time. Minutes per game are a concern as well; no starter played below 33 minutes per game for Minnesota, and 38-year-old Jamal Crawford played almost 21 MPG, at an age when he should be a mentor instead of the top bench guy.

With Denver lurking and the Lakers looking to make drastic improvements, the Timberpups, who had to beat the Nuggets on the last day of the regular season just to qualify for the playoffs, will have to continue to dodge major injuries (only Butler missed significant time for them last season) and see if they can get anything more from Wiggins, as well as praying that one of the young guys earns enough trust from the notoriously prickly Thibodeau to get onto the court consistently.

 

The Playoff Rank and File

Portland Trail Blazers: While getting home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and seeing Damian Lillard become the first Blazer to make the All-NBA First Team since Clyde Drexler in 1992 was awesome, taking off the rose-colored glasses and digging deeper into the Blazers’ achievements in 2017-18 shows a different story.

For one, Lillard making the First Team was less a reward for all the work he did for Portland (last season was the first of Peak Lillard, so expect at least two or three more seasons like his last one) and more a referendum on the players above him in the point guard pecking order. Stephen Curry didn’t play enough games and shares the court with Kevin Durant. Chris Paul spent the first part of the season chilling in a banana boat somewhere. Kyrie Irving had his knee fall apart on him after the All-Star Break. Everyone felt dirty for giving Russell Westbrook the 2017 MVP, and overcompensated for their sins.

So, it wasn’t that Lillard outperformed all those gentlemen last season. It’s mostly that he was the only one left. His First Team nod felt like an FU to Westbrook from the media more than anything.

As for where the Blazers finished, it literally was three games between having the third seed, and sitting at home watching the playoffs and munching Cheetos. The Blazers did their usual “catch everyone off guard during the dog days of the season” schtick, and parleyed that seven-week hot streak into a playoff seed that they might have barfed away if the Spurs had Leonard, or the Wolves had Butler, or the New Orleans Pelicans had Demarcus Cousins, or the Thunder had a clue. The Blazers were closer to the tenth-place Los Angeles Clippers than the second-place Golden State Warriors, and that’s with the Warriors punting a solid 15 games to stay fresh for the playoffs.

Portland isn’t in the contending tier yet. And time’s running out on their chance to make that jump, if it hasn’t already.

 

Utah Jazz: I went to see the Jazz play the Blazers live last February, and it was part pleasure and part horror story. The horror came courtesy of guard Donovan Mitchell, a gem the Jazz drafted at the butt end of the 2017 lottery. Mitchell led the Jazz in scoring last season, and looks to be the kind of tentpole player Utah needed after Gordon Hayward left for Boston last summer. He was the catalyst behind a complete ass-kicking, which ended up galvanizing Portland into an epic 17-game winning streak.

As a Blazer fan, I’m not totally bummed that Portland didn’t draft Mitchell; they already have two star guards, and Zach Collins might end up being the reason the Blazers won’t have to pay Jusuf Nurkic $80 million to be the world’s biggest d*** tease. I bet there are plenty of other teams that wish they had scouts as good as Utah’s, though.

 

New Orleans Pelicans: As devastating as Demarcus Cousins’ Achilles injury was, it might be a two-fold blessing in disguise for the Pelicans. The fit on the court was slightly awkward with Cousins, especially defensively without Anthony Davis on the floor. Boogie has an infamous tendency to drift on defense, both physically and mentally, a habit picked up during his Sacramento Kings days, when he was the alpha and omega on offense for them. He had no such problems with the Pelicans, but he still lazed around more than he should have.

When Cousins went down, New Orleans traded for Nikola Mirotic, a streaky-shooting big man, and when they replaced the injured Boogie with the new guy, they became a different team. A better team. The Blazers can attest to this; they were the victims of perhaps the most one-sided beatdown in a first-round series I’ve ever seen that wasn’t a 1-8 matchup. Davis was fully unleashed at the center position, and no one in the NBA, including the Warriors, has an answer for him. Heaven help the league once Davis gets more talent around him.

Even before suffering an injury that cripples NBA careers, Cousins was a candidate for the Ewing Theory of addition by subtraction. Now, I’d be stunned if New Orleans brought him back for the max. Or if he gets the max at all.

 

Indiana Pacers: These guys went from being dismissed by everyone with a keyboard, to coming within aniiiinnncchhhh of being the first team to defeat LeBron James in the East in eight years, and in the first round EVER. Even in the NBA, it’s never safe to make assumptions.

The Pacers are young, hungry, and looking to prove they belong with the Celtics and Sixers in the discussions about the East’s future. Watching them continue to prove people wrong is a refreshing reminder that pro basketball is not always chalk.

 

Raptors LOL

Toronto Raptors: After earning the first seed in the East, modernizing their offense, developing a bench that allowed them to go literally 10-deep, and positioning themselves to finally seize the day, the Raptors had everything going their way. Surely, this year, the Raptors would shake off their playoff woes. Surely, they would take advantage of the Cavaliers’ disunion, the Celtics’ injuries, and the Sixers’ callow youngsters.

Then…LeBron James happened.

If Michael Jordan had Cleveland’s number every time, and if Kobe Bryant had Portland’s and Sacramento’s numbers every time, then James has Toronto’s number every time. This is the scope of LeBron’s ambition and overall greatness: where MJ and the Mamba were content to dominate mere cities, the King is tactically crouching (or tea-bagging) on an entire country. What a legend. The Cavs swept the top seed in the East in four games, capping a three-year run of prison-level ownage by LeBron over Canada.

The Raptors fired Dwane Casey in response to being crushed by a flawed Cleveland team, but their narrow window to make the first Finals in franchise history has likely just closed. I’d feel sorry for them, if I weren’t busy laughing at them.

 

Princes of the East

Philadelphia 76ers: There was so much to like about the Sixers last season, from Ben Simmons emerging as a reborn Magic Johnson, to Joel Embiid finally being healthy (though he needs to stop Tweeting and scarfing Twinkies, and start working on his cardio and three-pointer), to Brett Brown finally reaping the rewards for coaching all those horrible teams…so much to root for.

The Bryan Colangelo saga, however, put a damper on things. Colangelo’s wife made several burner Twitter accounts, and proceeded to do all sorts of unsavory things with them, from trashing former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie (the man her husband replaced) and Raptors president Masai Ujiri (who used to work for Colangelo before replacing him in Denver), to disclosing medical information about players under her husband’s employ. She even defended the size of Colangelo’s shirt collars and promoted his supposed virtues shamelessly; it was like watching an overbearing mother at work.

Colangelo resigned in an attempt to salvage whatever’s left of his reputation, and now the Sixers are heading into the most important offseason in their recent history without a general manager. Philly sure makes things interesting.

 

Boston Celtics: Another Eastern team to come within a bee’s phallus of dethroning LeBron, Boston has several decisions to make this offseason, including on Marcus Smart’s restricted free-agency. Smart is a defensive bulldog that struggles to shoot, basically Tony Allen with some handles, and was a huge part of the Celtics’ defensive excellence the last two seasons. He’s expecting to get paid, however. Maybe not Isaiah Thomas Brinks truck level, but a hefty chunk of change.

Chances are, he’s not going to get it from Boston. Smart is a solid player, sure, but why pay Marcus “I can’t hit the broadside of a barn with a bazooka” Smart $75 million when you can trot out this lineup: Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Kyrie Irving? Good freaking luck beating that fivesome; it has the potential to be Boston’s version of the famed Death Lineup that established a dynasty in Golden State.

Odds are, Danny Ainge will be cool with some other team paying Smart. He’ll just find someone else like him, and the Celtics churn will continue.

 

Damn Near

Houston Rockets: There’s an argument to be made that if Chris Paul had not gotten injured, Houston would have beaten the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. They were that close, and had the Dubs that bamboozled; the Rockets were the first team to provide a legit challenge to the Warriors since they poached Kevin Durant, and their obsession with beating that team is only continuing to fester.

Reports are surfacing that Paul is recruiting LeBron to join their crusade. It would take some serious roster gymnastics, but Daryl Morey will do whatever it takes to give his team the best possible shot to win it all. Now, if only he didn’t have to pay Ryan Anderson $44 million over the next two years….

 

And STILL Your Reigning, Defending, Undisputed, NBA Champions of the World…

Golden State Warriors: Yeah. These guys are pretty good.

Draft Profile: Thomas Welsh (7'0" C, UCLA)

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Draft Profile: Thomas Welsh (7'0" C, UCLA)

Thomas Welsh

Height:  7’0”

Weight: 255lbs

Position: Center

School: Senior, UCLA

2017-18 season averages: 12.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 0.9 bpg

Did You Know That…

His rebounding average of 10.8 as a senior was UCLA’s highest since David Greenwood averaged 11.4 rebounds in 1977-78. One of five finalists for the 2017-2018 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, given to the nation’s top center. Holds the No. 3 spot on UCLA’s career rebounds list (1,035). Ranks third all time at UCLA in blocks (143) and fifth in blocks per game (1.09). Registered 37 career double-doubles, tied for sixth in program history.

Draft Profile: Brandon McCoy (7'0" C, UNLV)

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Draft Profile: Brandon McCoy (7'0" C, UNLV)

Brandon McCoy

Height:  7’0”

Weight: 250lbs

Position: Center

School: Freshman, UNLV

2017-18 season averages: 16.9 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.8 bpg

Did You Know That…

Top-five finalist for the 2017-2018 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, 2017-2018 John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list for National Player of the Year, 2017-2018 Mountain West Freshman of the Year. Led the Mountain West Conference with 19 double-doubles in 2017-2018, ranking ninth in the country and third among freshmen.

Draft Profile: Jacobi Boykins (6'6" G, LA Tech)

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Draft Profile: Jacobi Boykins (6'6" G, LA Tech)

Jacobi Boykins

Height:  6’6”

Weight: 175lbs

Position: Guard

School: Senior, Louisiana Tech

2017-18 season averages: 14.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.2 apg

Did You Know That…

Was the only Bulldog to start in all 33 games. Became the 40th member of the 1,000 point-club, finishing with 1,393 career points, which is tied for 23-most in LA Tech history… Ranked first on the team in scoring, recording 26 double-digit scoring games.

Draft Profile: Jaylen Barford (6'3" G, Arkansas)

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Draft Profile: Jaylen Barford (6'3" G, Arkansas)

Jaylen Barford

Height:  6’3”

Weight: 202lbs

Position: Guard

School: Senior, Arkansas

2017-18 season averages: 17.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.3 apg

Did You Know That…

Named 2017-2018 All-SEC First Team by the coaches and Second Team by the media. Shot 43.3 percent from three-point range. Built like a linebacker at the guard spot. Scored at least 20 points in 13 games in his final season at Arkansas.

Draft Profile: De'Anthony Melton (6'4" G, USC)

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Draft Profile: De'Anthony Melton (6'4" G, USC)

De’Anthony Melton

Height:  6’4”

Weight: 190lbs

Position: Guard

Age: 20, University of Southern California

2016-17 season averages: 8.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.5 apg

Did You Know That…

High-energy player and athlete. Likes to play in transition, where he has a solid playmaking feel. Great foot speed getting up and down the floor. Rangy defender with a good sense of anticipation. Averaged 2.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per-36 as a freshman. Measured with a 6’8” wingspan. Can defend either guard position given his length. Makes plays on the ball.

Draft Profile: Shake Milton (6'5" G, SMU)

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Draft Profile: Shake Milton (6'5" G, SMU)

Shake Milton

Height:  6’5”

Weight: 195lbs

Position: Guard

School: Junior, SMU

2017-18 season averages: 18.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.4 apg

Did You Know That…

Played and started 22 games…Missed remainder of season due to broken right hand… Double digit scoring in 22 games, 23 straight going back to 2016- 17. AWARDS: All-AAC Second Team... AAC Player of the Week (11/13, 12/4, 1/22)... Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, Bob Cousy, Lute Olson Watch List... AAC Preseason Player of the Year.

Draft Profile: Jairus Lyles (6'2" G, UMBC)

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Draft Profile: Jairus Lyles (6'2" G, UMBC)

Jairus Lyles

Height:  6’2”

Weight: 175lbs

Position: Guard

School: Junior, UMBC

2017-18 season averages: 18.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.6 apg

Did You Know That…

Scored 1,086 points in just two UMBC campaigns and is currently 17th on the school’s all-time scoring list... Became the third player in school history to reach 600 points in a season and his 604 points is the most ever by a UMBC junior... Also became the second Retriever (Darryl Proctor, 2008-09), first junior and first UMBC guard to amass 600 points and 200 rebounds in a season in 2016-17… Currently, UMBC’s career leader in scoring average (20.5 ppg) and has recorded the top (23.0 ppg, 2015-16) and fifth-best (18.9 ppg, 2016-17) scoring averages in school history