Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — One day after Tennessee freshman Tobias Harris announced he would remain in the NBA Draft, junior shooting guard Scotty Hopson said he’s following suit.
“Just say I’m staying,” he told SNY.tv Saturday in an exclusive interview during an NBA combine at the PNY Center.
“It’s all good. Just say I’m staying.”
He is projected by DraftExpress.com to go No. 54 overall, No. 24 in the second round, to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Hopson is expected to sign with New York-based agent Alberto Ebanks, who also reps Lance Stephenson of the Pacers.
The 6-foot-7, 200-pound Hopson averaged 17 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists last season at Tennessee.
“I’m a scorer, that’s what I do best,” Hopson said. “I’m a facilitator as well. I can make a lot of things on the basketball court happen.”
Hopson was first among 22 players Saturday in the vertical jump with no step, baseline sprint and star agility test.
Still, pre-draft reports reflected a concern about his consistency.
DraftExpress.com projects Hopson going No. 55 overall, 25th in the second round to the Celtics.
“There’s 30 teams in the league, I just need one to like me,” Hopson said.
Larry Marshall, Hopson’s New Jersey-based trainer, said he believes Hopson should be a first-round pick.
“He believes he’s a first-round [pick],” Marshall said. “I think he has the capability of getting into the first round. Obviously, there’s some work that has to be done. But he’s got to make a decision as to whether he thinks he can do it now or he needs to go back to school.”
Hopson said he might have stayed at Tennessee had former coach Bruce Pearl not been fired.
“Obviously, me and Coach Pearl had a good relationship,” Hopson said. “Me being there three years, we had a great bond. I learned a lot of great things from him. I’m sad to see him leave. He was like a father figure to each and every one of us on that basketball team, so it did have some things playing within my decision.”
If there is a lockout, Louisville coach Rick Pitino said he advises many young prospects to take the best European offer they can get. But Hopson said he plans on remaining in the U.S.
“I want to stay in the U.S. and play basketball,” he said. “Whichever team drafts me, I’m going to work my tail off to do each and every thing they ask me to better myself and better my game.”
**Tobias Harris to remain in Draft
(PHoto courtesy Govolsextra.com)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.