Jul 27, 2013 12:14 PM EDT
Marcus Smart returned home from the USA Basketball minicamp this week.
Smart didn’t log any minutes in Team USA’s Blue-White scrimmage, but he’s bringing home a newfound confidence in his abilities and intentions to compete at the pro level.
"I don't feel that far removed from them," Smart said of competing against the likes of Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard. "I still have a lot of work, obviously, but it's not a surprise for me now.
"I got a taste of what it feels like to play on the next level with that group of guys, and it's not as big of a surprise for me as I expected it to be."
Smart plans to take it easy for a few weeks before reporting back to campus for what he recently determined will be his final year at OSU.
"I decided to stay one more year at Oklahoma State to get myself ready for the NBA and the next level," he said. "It was kind of coming up here and playing with these guys, just getting a taste of it.
"I felt like one (more) year was good for me to stay. Staying another year (beyond his sophomore season) wouldn't really help me at all. One is fine, but I doubt another year would be as beneficial as the one year I decided to stay."
Jul 26, 2013 9:10 PM EDT
Colton Iverson has signed a two-year contract with Turkish club Besitkas.
Iverson was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 53d pick of last month’s draft.
The Celtics still own the rights to Iverson, who averaged 5 points and 5.4 rebounds in five games at the Las Vegas summer league.
Jul 25, 2013 12:46 PM EDT
Rick Pitino cites Joel Embiid as the most impressive recruit he's seen in the Class of 2013.
Embiid committed to Kansas and is joined by Andrew Wiggins.
“I think Kansas could have the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the draft with [Andrew] Wiggins and Embiid. [Embiid] does everything,” Pitino said.
Embiid, a seven-foot center, is projected as the 12th overall pick in the 2014 Mock Draft by Draft Express.
Kentucky had the two top picks in the 2012 NBA Draft in Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Jul 20, 2013 9:39 PM EDT
Julius Randle doesn’t want to be defined by conventional position.
“I just like to be defined as a player,” Randle said. “Anywhere you put me on the court, I feel like I can be very effective. I definitely pride myself on being able to do a lot of different things, making my weaknesses my strengths, and just not being able to stop one thing.”
Randle believes he’ll develop further under the structure and tutelage of John Calipari.
“Ultimately I wanted to win,” Randle said. “That was the biggest thing. I wanted to be developed. I feel like this was the place that I could be developed. I feel like the system, how coach Cal plays … I feel like it fit me way too well.”
Jul 18, 2013 9:32 PM EDT
Travis Ford was asked where Marcus Smart would've been selected in last month's NBA draft.
"Two," Ford answered quickly. "Orlando was picking him no matter what."
Smart has drawn high praise from just about anyone who has ever seen him play.
"I've never been around another player in my whole life -- not when I was a player and not since I've been a coach -- that is able to bring it EVERY SINGLE DAY," Ford said. "I don't care if it's two-a-days, three-a-days or five-a-days. I don't care if it's 6 a.m. I don't care if it's the day after a big win. It's ridiculous. I knew he was a great leader, but it's even been a shock to me. Everybody, at some point, has a bad day in terms of coming ready to play. But he never takes a day off. He comes everyday to win every drill. Everyday. Every drill. I don't care when it is or what it is. Everyday he's ready. It's ridiculous."
Smart was the only college player invited to the USA Basketball’s July minicamp.
Jul 17, 2013 5:34 PM EDT
When winning the Gatorade Athlete of the Year Award, Andrew Wiggins was asked which NBA team he would like to play for.
"I would like to say the Raptors, I want to play for them," said Wiggins.
Wiggins is expected to be the top overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The Raptors were a late lottery team last season.
Wiggins was born in Toronto.
Jul 13, 2013 10:29 AM EDT
Jahlil Okafor has been called the most skilled high school center ever scouted by a well-regarded NBA executive with over 20 years of experience.
Okafor is 6'11, 270 pounds out of Chicago's Whitney Young.
Okafor averaged 21 points and nine rebounds during his junior season while finishing second to Jabari Parker for Mr. Basketball of Illinois.
Okafor is considering Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Illinois, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Okafor averaged 10.8 points on 77.2 percent shooting from the floor and 4.8 rebounds over nine games in the 2013 U-19 World Championships.
Jul 10, 2013 9:41 AM EDT
The Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans agreed upon a Jrue Holiday trade a few days before the draft, but it was dependent on Nerlens Noel, Anthony Bennett or Victor Oladipo remaining available.
Bennett and Oladipo went first and second to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic respectively.
Noel remained available at No. 6 when the Pelicans picked.
Jul 06, 2013 5:48 PM EDT
Gary Harris declared himself completely healthy after battling through injuries to both shoulders last season.
Harris dislocated his left shoulder against Boise State on Nov. 20, and later suffered a similar injury to his right shoulder.
“I'm just the type of person that's going to play through regardless,” Harris said during the recent Kevin Durant Skills Academy. "I sat out the first two games (with a sprain), but after that I couldn't sit out anymore. I was going to play even if the shoulder fell off. So it feels good to finally get back to 100% healthy and get back to how I used to be."
The Harris family opted for rehab after seeking information and opinions on the best course of action.
"He wanted to persevere, fight through and do what he needed to do," Gary Harris Sr. said. "Full disclosure, he probably didn't let on how bad it really was. However, based on the information, we felt that rest and intensive physical therapy would be the course of action that we would pursue first, so that's what we decided to do."
Jul 05, 2013 1:02 PM EDT
Aaron Gordon leads Team USA with averages of 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds through six games of the FIBA U19 World Championship.
Team USA coach Billy Donovan sees similarities between Gordon and Joakim Noah, who led Donovan’s Florida Gators to back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007.
"I don't mean to say he's the same kind of player, but in terms of coaching him, he reminds me in a lot of ways of Joakim Noah," Donovan said. "He's got that energy and that kind of passion."
Gordon averages 20.8 minutes per game, second most on Team USA.
"A lot of guys are really talented and athletic," Donovan said. "What makes him so different is his effort, his energy. … There are things he's got to get better on – he doesn't necessarily have this great scoring skill, in terms of a low-post game yet or he's not this great 3-point shooter.
"I think he's got such an incredible ceiling because the things I'm talking about, he can get better at those things. What you can't teach, and I think is so important, is an incredible motor. He really has an incredible motor."
Jul 03, 2013 | Chad Ford/ESPN
The Hawks created cap space to pursue Dwight Howard this offseason.
Late in the second round, James Southerland never received a promise from the Spurs, much less one to formally reject, a league source told RealGM.
The Mavericks had Shane Larkin ranked as the ninth best player in the draft.
NBA and ABC/ESPN and Turner executives began preliminary discussions during the playoffs about the next TV deal.
Jun 28, 2013 | Chad Ford/ESPN
Julius Randle is currently trending as the second best prospect behind Andrew Wiggins, but Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon and Andrew Harrison are also expected to be high picks.
Tony Mitchell could be the best athlete in the 2013 draft.
Anthony Bennett will earn $4,436,900 in his rookie season with the Cavaliers, while Nerlens Noel will earn $2,643,600.
Nerlens Noel unexpectedly slipped to the sixth pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Cody Zeller impressed the Bobcats with his versatility and athleticism.
The Nuggets have traded Kosta Koufos to the Grizzlies for Darrell Arthur and the 55th overall pick.
Anthony Bennett is eager to erase doubts about his position.
The 2013 NBA Draft immediately delivered shock with the Cavaliers' selection of Anthony Bennett.
Victor Oladipo is the Raptors' assumed target with the selection.
The Kings are believed to be targeting Ben McLemore.
Sergey Karasev left private interviews in Russia with fresh hope of being a top 10 pick, a league source told RealGM.
Jun 27, 2013 | Chad Ford/ESPN
Teams in the lottery have been considering drafting Giannis Adetokunbo and stashing him abroad while he develops.
The Thunder are pursuing a trade for a Top-5 pick and are primarily targeting Alex Len.
The Magic are studying players that are projected to be selected late in the lottery and the middle of the first round.
The Raptors do not have a scheduled pick on Thursday.
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Jun 25, 2013 | Andy Katz/ESPN
The Wolves rejected the trade offer and hope to build around Kevin Love under Flip Saunders.
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