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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.
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Tuesday / April 16.
  • 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    Both Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday have withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to the Bruins for the 2017-18 season.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, committed to Florida State on Wednesday.

    Ranked No. 25 by,Walker also considered UCLA, Virginia Tech, Ohio 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.

    “He has all the ability and work ethic to be a first-round draft pick some day,” Maehlman said. “[Florida State] is very fortunate.”

    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.

    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 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.

    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 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.”

    Kentucky “none-and-done” Hamidou Diallo will likely go up against Wednesday’s deadline before deciding his immediate future.

    “It’s going to the wire on Wednesday,” a source told ZAGSBLOG. “A decision could be made before Wednesday but right now it’s looking like Wednesday.”

    Players have until midnight on Wednesday to withdraw from the NBA Draft and retain their college eligibility. Already this week, Arizona’s Rawle Alkins, Texas’ Andrew Jones, West Virginia’s Jevon Carter, St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams and Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado have withdrawn.

    The 6-foot-6 Diallo has gotten mixed feedback after working out for the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks and the Nets. still has Diallo projected as the No. 35 pick by the Orlando Magic, meaning he wouldn’t get guaranteed first-round money.

    The Celtics pick at No. 1, the Bulls at No. 16, the Bucks at 17 and the Nets have two picks in the 20s, No. 22 and 27.

    Meantime, the Nets, Miami Heat and Utah Jazz have reached out in recent days to Diallo’s AAU coach, Andy Borman of the NY Rens. The Jazz have two first-round and two second-round picks, while the Heat pick at 14.

    Diallo had a 44 1/2-inch vertical leap at the NBA Draft Combine but did not play 5-on-5 there.

    “I don’t think he helped or hurt himself,” analyst Jonathan Givony told the Herald-Leader. “There really wasn’t much to go on. So I don’t think it really affected anything either way.

    The return of guard Andrew Jones bodes well for Shaka Smart’s club entering the 2017-18 season.

    Jones will join the No. 9-ranked recruiting class in the nation per, highlighted by 6-foot-11 Mohamed Bamba who signed last week.

    Bamba is projected as the No. 4 pick in 2018 per, while Jones is at No. 20.

    Texas finished 11-22 last season, 4-14 in the Big 12. They lost leading scorer Tevin Mack to transfer (Alabama) and second-leading scorer Jarrett Allen to the NBA Draft

    Jones elected to withdraw his name for the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft and return for his sophomore season. He recently participated in the NBA Draft Combine and attended several individual and group workouts for selected NBA teams.

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