The latest news on who is hiring who, which underclassmen might be entering, and other related tidbits concerning the NBA draft.Alexander Johnson Going Pro
DraftExpress and the St. Petersburg Times were informed Thursday that Florida State junior Alexander Johnson
will be forfeiting his remaining college eligibility by hiring an agent.
Johnson realizes that it will be very difficult for him to considerably improve his draft stock next year as hell be turning 24 years old, and is likely taking a long hard look at the fact that this draft appears to be extremely weak at the power forward position in his projected range. With his NBA ready body, outstanding athleticism, excellent rebounding ability and intriguing raw skills facing the basket, Johnson will almost certainly find himself on an NBA roster next year regardless of where he is drafted.
Johnsons teammate Al Thornton
is expected to return to Florida State next season. Tyrus Thomas Draft PreparationsTyrus Thomas
newly hired agents, Brian Elfus and Mike Siegel, took time out of their schedule to talk with DraftExpress about Tyrus Thomas
upcoming preparations for the NBA draft.
Confirming rumors that have been swirling in NBA circles over the past week, Elfus and Siegel have made the somewhat surprising decision to send their prized client to Orlando to prepare for private NBA workouts with fellow ESM client Randy Livingston
. Livingston, a 10 year NBA veteran who has been praised both publicly and privately for his work with younger teammates off the court on every step of his NBA career so far. Once Livingston finishes his NBA season with the Chicago Bulls, hell be teaming with Thomas and renowned strength and conditioning trainer Tom Shaw at Disneys Wide World of Sports facility in suburban Orlando, also the site of the NBA pre-draft camp this year. This year Coach Shaw worked with the two potential top overall picks in this weekends NFL draft, Reggie Bush and D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
Elfus and Siegel praised their client Randy Livingston
effusively, saying they have a comfort level with his knowledge of the game, that has kept him in the NBA for this long, while also mentioning that hes considered a quasi-coach and future allstar in player development when he decides to retire
Numerous teams have already inquired about the possibility of adding him to their staff once he decides to hang them up.
Elfus and Siegel realize that this decision will and already has been criticized ad nauseam by some of the same people who questioned Thomas even signing with two fairly unknown agents with only one NBA client, but they do not appear apologetic about their decision. The road less traveled is not necessarily always a bad one, said Mike Siegel, just because everyone is doing something doesnt mean it right. Siegel is referring to the fact that most top draft candidates decide to prepare for the draft at one of the established training facilities such as Tim Grovers gym in Chicago, IMG in Central Florida, John Lucas
in Houston or a number of others. Siegel says that people can question this decision all they want, but the only thing that matters is the finished product.
DraftExpress has been invited to watch Thomas train in Orlando with Livingston and decide for ourselves, possibly with a digital camera. Cedric Simmons Conundrum
An interesting quandary that has come out of the NCAAs new rules (or newly enforced rules) regarding underclassmen testing the draft is the case of NC State sophomore Cedric Simmons
. NC State coach Herb Sendek decided to take a lucrative offer from Arizona State, leaving the head coaching spot vacant for the time being and putting Simmons in a particularly interesting spot as far as the NBA draft goes.
According to the memorandum the NCAA is forcing every player entering the draft to sign, it is incredibly ambiguous exactly who is allowed to assist underclassmen in the very important process of gauging their draft stock, setting up workouts, and generally communicating with NBA teams to see where they stand in their eyes. The memorandum appears to vaguely imply that head coaches are the only ones that are allowed to assist a player in the process, but does not say anything regarding what happens if one does not exist.
Contrary to rumors that have been swirling as of late, Simmons is keeping his college eligibility intact at the moment and is still only testing the waters. One source close to the situation maintains that Simmons is relying on his family to assist him in this very confusing process, and will certainly be finishing up the semester at NC State before he decides on his next move. Yannick Bokolo Declaring for Draft
Dallas based French/Senegalese agent Bouna NDiaye of Comsport USA issued a press release to NBA teams and DraftExpress to inform about the clients he will have in this years draft. NDiaye confirmed that 7-foot Senegalese center Saer Sene
has sent in his paperwork to become eligible, and also revealed that 6-3 French point guard Yannick Bokolo
of Le Mans will dip his toes in the draft process for the first time. Bokolo, a super athletic combo who is making the transition to the point, was recently named by French coaches as the runner up for the top young player in France award, second only to Spurs draftee Ian Mahinmi
, also a client of NDiayes. Vouyoukas back to Greece?
According to sources in Europe, St. Louis fans may have seen the last of 6-10, 270 pound Greek junior Ian Vouyoukas
after he declared his intentions to enter this years draft. Vouyoukas is apparently gauging his value amongst NBA teams and is rumored to be likely to return to Europe once he realizes that he is not considered much of an NBA prospect. One NBA scout we spoke to considers him a less athletic version of Rafael Araujo
. Vouyoukas is reportedly considering a 6 figure offer from Panionios in the Greek A-1 league. Agent Hirings
More pieces to the highly competitive lottery puzzle fell in place recently when Memphis senior Rodney Carney
signed with Octagon and fellow senior Mardy Collins
of Temple stayed local in hiring Philadelphia based Leon Rose. The three remaining projected lottery picks in our 2006 mock draft that have yet to sign are LaMarcus Aldridge
, Rudy Gay
, and Ronnie Brewer
, although Aldridge is speculated by many to have picked Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group already. International Rules on Entering Draft
The NBA Players Association sent out a memo this week clarifying the status of International players such as Tiago Splitter
who have already entered their name in the draft in the past. DraftExpress obtained a copy of this memo. Misinformed media sources this past week wrongfully speculated that players such as Splitter will be in the draft for good should they enter their name in this year. The memo reads as follow: As the early entry deadline approaches at 11:59 p.m. on April 29, many agents have called to inquire about the new rule at Article X, Section 8(c) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which provides that [a] player shall not be entitled to withdraw from more than two (2) NBA Drafts. Please be advised that, unlike most other provisions of our CBA, this rule applies prospectively only. In other words, each player now begins with a clean slate, regardless of whether the player has entered and withdrawn from a prior Draft. For example, a player who has withdrawn from two prior Drafts may still enter this years Draft, withdraw, and will be allowed to withdraw from one additional Draft in the future.
Although this rule does not apply to anyone in this years particular draft, misinformation has also been spread about the status of underclassmen such as Brandon Rush
who entered their name in before they officially became NCAA players. The NCAAs rules differ from the NBA in the fact that NCAA players can only test the waters once before they lose their college eligibility the second time they declare. Players who declared out of high school (or with the new age limit in place, out of a 5th-year prep school) do not technically use up their NCAA draft card and still can enter and withdraw from the draft once should they decide to do so.