NCAA

Georgetown not Dunn with top 10 foes; Providence visits Saturday

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Georgetown not Dunn with top 10 foes; Providence visits Saturday

Georgetown and Providence meet twice every regular season as Big East members. The first such get-together this year comes Saturday night at Verizon Center. The matchup provides the Hoyas, coming off a thrilling comeback win over Creighton, a shot at taking down another top-10 team.

Kris Dunn, the Friars do-everything point guard and national player of the candidate will be there. Based on the trend of NBA Draft prospects heading for the pros ASAP, he shouldn't be.

"If you look at how trends are going and decisions the kids are making, I would say I was very surprised," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said at Friday's practice inside McDonough Arena. "Most people in his position when you know worst-case scenario of first round and possibly as high as the lottery, in this day and age kids are not making that decision more often than not."

Even if the Hoyas (13-8, 6-2) make proper choices Saturday (8:00 p.m., FS1) with how best to deal with Dunn, the Friars' (17-4, 5-3) electric star won't be easily contained.

"He's one of those special players that if you're a coach, you're lucky to get once in a lifetime," said a gushing Thompson.

The athletically potent 6-foot-4 walking triple-double alert may have been a lottery pick if he bolted after his sophomore season. Many NBA hopefuls pass on their remaining college eligibility with far less draft hope. Instead, Dunn came back to Providence for the work-on-game/diploma reasons you might expect. He returned to a team that lost several key pieces off a 22-win NCAA Tournament season.

Those familiar with his skill set aren't stunned by his growth this season or how it's influenced the Friars. Dunn ranks sixth nationally with 7.1 assists and second with 3.2 steals while averaging 16.9 points and 6.3 rebounds. He had 13 points and matched his career-high with 14 assists in Sunday's 82-76 win at Villanova, the Wildcats first Big East loss in over a calendar year. Providence is 5-0 in true road games this season. 

"His passing his special," Thompson said of Dunn, who last season averaged 14 points and nine assist in two wins over the Hoyas. "There are very few people that I've seen who deliver the ball where it should be when it should be to whom it should be every time."

Dunn often looks for 6-foot-9 sophomore forward Ben Bentil, arguably the most improved player in the country. Bentil (20.0) and Dunn are the top two scorers in the Big East followed by Georgetown senior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera

What makes Dunn a true danger is his defensive effort in Providence's zone concepts.

"You cannot get careless [with passes] because Kris Dunn covers so much area. Any lazy pass gets stolen or deflected," Thompson said. "The more stagnant you are, the better [Providence's zone] gets."

It's hard quantifying how much better Georgetown is compared to its rough 7-5 start, but its current second place status in the Big East says plenty. Sandwiched between a non-conference loss at Connecticut, the Hoyas upended No. 5 Xavier on the road last week and rallied from 11 down with 2:18 remaining for a 74-73 victory over Creighton Tuesday.

Defeating another highly rated club will help offset some of those early season losses.

"Our guys are pretty excited about that win," center Bradley Hayes said. "When everybody knows that when they focused in, we can get a lot of stuff done. We came back from that deficit. It shows a lot about our team."

It says a lot about Dunn's goals and vision that he returned for another season at the college level. DraftExpress.com projects the playmaker as a top 5 pick in the 2016 Draft.

If Georgetown can knock off Providence, it will be time to truly reassess the Hoyas' level for the remainder of the season and sincerely believe they're in the Big East title race.

MORE HOYAS: Big East issues statement over post-game outburst

Terrapins get huge commitment from 7-foot-2 internet phenom Chol Marial

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Screenshot: Courtside YouTube

Terrapins get huge commitment from 7-foot-2 internet phenom Chol Marial

The Maryland Terrapins just added a huge piece to their 2019 recruiting class. Literally. 

The Terps officially signed 7-foot-1 center Chol Marial (AZ Compass Prep, Chandler, Arizona), the team announced Monday. 

Depending on who you ask, Marial is either a three-star, 210-pound or a four-star, 220-pound recruit (247Sports, ESPN), but he's unquestionably taller than seven feet. He also has a 7-foot-11 wingspan that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon expects will make him "an excellent rim protector."

"I've watched Chol the last three years and I can't say enough about him as both a person and a basketball player," Turgeon said in a release from Maryland, which lists Marial at 7-foot-2 and 230 pounds. 

"One of the top players in his class when healthy, Chol's tremendous size and length make him an excellent rim protector. Chol possesses a humble demeanor and a strong work ethic that will fit well with our family. We can't wait to have him in College Park and look forward to helping him reach his dreams."

Originally from Rumbek, South Sudan, Marial moved to the U.S. as a middle-schooler in 2014. He also previously attended IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 

ESPN ranks Marial as the No. 2 center in Arizona and the No. 14 center nationally, while 247Sports says he's No. 6 and No. 26 in those two respective categories.

He visited Maryland on April 26, according to 247Sports, and also received offers from Georgetown, Florida State, Arizona State, Iowa, UConn and West Virginia.

"I want to thank Coach Turgeon for giving me this opportunity," Marial said in a release from the school. "Coach Turgeon and I have gotten along really well and I really enjoyed spending time with the rest of the coaching staff and players. Bruno Fernando and I have similar backgrounds and I saw how much he improved as a player at Maryland. I'm looking forward to getting better every day and playing for Terp Nation."

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2019 NBA Draft Big Board 4.0: North Carolina's Coby White, Indiana's Romeo Langford heading in opposite directions

2019 NBA Draft Big Board 4.0: North Carolina's Coby White, Indiana's Romeo Langford heading in opposite directions

Ideally, the Washington Wizards get lottery lucky.

There is the basketball and business dream only Zion Williamson's supernatural gifts could fill.

Murray State’ Ja Morant would provide an electric charge with the injured John Wall idling.

Those fantastical visions, while tangible, do not reflect reality.

Targeting North Carolina scoring dynamo Coby White with their projected slot does.

The 6-foot-5’s rise up draft boards began during the college basketball season. It continues even weeks after the Tar Heels’ campaign concluded.

“I like White a lot,” is what an NBA scout told NBC Sports Washington this week. The sentiment reflects an overwhelmingly positive view on the freshman from league-wide sources.

The Wizards, who enter the May 14 NBA Draft lottery with the sixth-best overall odds of landing the first selection, need to jump up for those Williamson and Morant. There is a 37.2 percent chance of landing a top-four selection. Simply having stronger asset capital would help the yet-to-be-determined general manager.

Landing White seems more and more like a viable fallback.

The all-time leading scorer among boy’s high school players in the state of North Carolina, White averaged 16.1 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 35 games for the Tar Heels while shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc.

With his lead guard skills and size to play on the wing, there is a positional case that White is a better fit for the Wizards long-term than Morant. White could play alongside Bradley Beal and John Wall whenever the five-time All-Star returns from his Achilles injury.

The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Morant is strictly a point guard, but also the higher-projected talent. Passing on him, even with Wall’s presence, would be the wrong approach.

Duke guard R.J. Barrett joins Williamson and Morant as the consensus top three selections more than a month out from the June 20 NBA Draft. There is little agreement with prospects 4-8, though the draft lottery will certainly help shape the order. Based on the new draft lottery rules, the Wizards could pick 1-4 or 6-10 depending on how the ping-pong balls bounce.

Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, Duke’s Cam Reddish, Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and White typically make up the pool of players immediately outside the top three. White’s insurgent freshman campaign thrust him into the tier.

Maybe there becomes a point where White’s rising rank leads to some brush back. We’re not there yet.

Check out more discussion on White, Zion Williamson and the 2019 NBA Draft on the latest episode of the "Wizards Talk" podcast.

 *Texas’ Jaxson Hayes, Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke, Oregon’s Bol Bol, and international prospect Sekou Doumbouya are the current best bets to enter the 4-8 discussion. Bol’s truncated freshman season factored into a diminished evaluation, but there’s a turnaround in play, a Western Conference scout told NBC Sports Washington even after out previous love-hate relationship article on the 7-foot-2 forward.

*Indiana shooting guard Romeo Langford entered the NBA Draft pool following his freshman season. The sense from scouts is he’s exiting lottery selection talk. One scout told NBA Sports Washington Langford is "dropping." Another said he would be flabbergasted if his organization considered the 6-foot-6 guard with a wonky jump shot in the top 10-14 selections. Langford averaged 16.5 points per game, but shot 28 percent on 3-pointers. Individual workouts and the upcoming NBA Combine offer chances to turn heads and momentum.

*Maryland sophomore Bruno Fernando officially kept his name in the NBA Draft pool this week. According to a source, the 6-foot-10 center signed with Priority Sports and Entertainment, the same agency that represents Wizards’ Bradley Beal and Jabari Parker. Fernando finished his Maryland career ranked second in program history in field goal percentage (.595) and 10th in rebounds per game (8.7).

1. Zion Williamson, PF, Duke

2. Ja Morant, PG, Murray State

3. RJ Barrett, SG, Duke

4. De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia

5.  Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

6. Cam Reddish, SF, Duke

7. Coby White, SG, UNC

8. Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

 9. Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga

10. Bol Bol, PF, Oregon

11. Sekou Doumbouya, PF, International

12. Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

13. PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky

14. Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

15. Nassir Little, SF, UNC

16. Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky

17. Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

18. Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

19. Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee

20. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Va. Tech

21. Cameron Johnson, PF, UNC

22. Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

23.  Goga Bitadze, C, International

24. KZ Okpala, SG. Stanford

25. Ty Jerome, SG, Virginia

26. Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland

27. Carsen Edwards, SG/PG, Purdue

28. Eric Paschall, PF, Villanova

29. Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State

30. Louis King, F, Oregon

Next up: Matisse Thybuille, SF, Washington; Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State; Admiral Schofield, SF, Tennessee; Daniel Gafford, C; Arkansas; Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John’s

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