The NCAA deadline for withdrawing from the
UCLA coach Steve Alford got a double-dose of good news on Tuesday.
Both Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday have withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to the Bruins for the 2017-18 season.
UCLA loses projected top-2 pick Lonzo Ball and projected first-round picks Ike Anigbogu and T.J. Leaf but will return some experienced players in Welsh and Holiday.
The 7-foot Welsh averaged 10.8 points and a team-leading 8.7 rebounds per game as a junior in 2016-17.
M.J. Walker, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Jonesboro (Ga.) High School, will announce his college choice on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at his high school.
Walker, ranked No. 25 by ESPN.com, is one of three Top 40 players in the ESPN rankings who remains uncommitted, along with Brian Bowen and Tremont Waters.
Walker is considering UCLA, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Georgia Tech.
Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman told ZAGSBLOG he expects Walker to sign scholarship papers. The deadline for signing a National Letter of Intent was May 17.
“What has taken him so long to commit is he comes from a very smart family and they know basketball,” Maehlman told 247Sports.com. “His mother played at Hampton and his dad played at Norfolk State. His sister played at Miles College, a Division II school in Alabama.
“A lot of high school kids these days have people and a network to help them make a decision. But they are taking their time with this to make sure they not only have the right program but also the right place for M.J.”
St. John’s coach Chris Mullin, a five-time NBA All-Star with the Golden State Warriors, presented the Western Conference Finals trophy to his old team in San Antonio on Monday night.
With their sweep of the Spurs, the Warriors became the first team ever to start the postseason 12-0 and will face the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals beginning June 1.
Mullin, 53, had been sidelined from recruiting last month after undergoing hip surgery and missed the first two live recruiting periods in April, as first reported by ZAGSBLOG.
The site of him in good spirits with his old team has to bode well for St. John’s on the recruiting front going forward this summer. Mullin is expected back on the road in July when St. John’s will focus on Class of 2018 targets such as shooting guard Luther Muhmmad of Hudson Catholic and center Moses Brown of Archbishop Molloy.
Jontay Porter, the 6-foot-9 rising senior power forward, committed to Missouri on Monday but it remains unclear if he will enroll in 2017 or ’18.
After much thought and prayer I have decided to commit to the University of Missouri!🐯 pic.twitter.com/dO1LKYR3iX
— Jontay Porter (@JontayPorter) May 23, 2017
Porter had initially verbally pledged to Washington for the Class of 2018, but Lorenzo Romar was fired and he re-opened his recruitment.
“My family and I thought it would be in my best interest to re-evaluate where I’m going to go in light of coaching changes at UW,” Porter said after he reopened his recruitment.
Michael Porter Sr., Porter’s father, is an assistant on Cuonzo Martin’s staff at Missouri, while his older brother Michael Porter Jr., will be a freshman at Mizzou. (For more on this, read the FanRagSports.com column.)
Seton Hall got great news on Monday when junior big man Angel Delgado announced he will return for his senior season.
Seton Hall initially did not expect Delgado to return.
— Angel Delgado (@angelluis45) May 22, 2017
The 6-foot-10 Delgado, who recently won the Haggerty Award as the top player in the New York metropolitan area, tested the NBA waters and never hired an agent. He was not projected to be drafted per DraftExpress.com and was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. He did work out for the Atlanta Hawks.
“First round [in 2018] if he keeps improving,” one NBA scout told ZAGSBLOG.
Still, one agent pointed out that Delgado will be 24 when the 2018-19 season begins and there have been only three 24-year-olds drafted in the last 10 years, none in the first round.
In a phone interview Monday, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said: “All the feedback we got [from NBA personnel] was great feedback. We got great feedback. I think we’re really excited the position Angel’s hard work has put him in and I think he’s going to continue to grow and he’s really going to turn into a really dominant player on both ends.”
He added: “I think going into next year he’s going to be one of the best college basketball players in the country and really have a chance to continue to really improve his game in all areas.”