• I was a bit selfish when it comes to writing this article.  One of the main reasons I didn’t get it going until today is because my Jayhawks were knocked out during their Elite Eight game and I simply wanted to ignore March Madness the rest of the way.  Then it dawned on me that I owe it to the readers to provide you with content and decided to suck it up.  That being said, let’s check out which players we should be keeping an eye on in the Final Four.

    South Carolina vs. Gonzaga

    South Carolina is the biggest surprise in this Final Four.  Head coach Frank Martin was notoriously known as the hothead coach for Kansas State during Michael Beasley’s sole season in college.  Now, he is leading the way for this underdog South Carolina squad.  While they don’t boast any top prospects, there are two players that readers can keep an eye on during this game.  Neither projects to be drafted this summer, but there is the off chance that we may see them in the NBA some day.

    P.J. Dozier is a 6’6″ sophomore shooting guard.  Most mock drafts peg him as a second round pick in 2018.  He has length and has shown the ability to score, but is relatively inefficient from outside and the free throw line.  Sindarius Thornwell is a 6’5″ senior shooting guard and will probably go undrafted this summer, barring an explosion in the Final Four and a monster draft combine.  With that in mind, I would expect him to lead South Carolina in scoring this weekend.  He is an efficient scorer and plays both ways.  Look for him to have a major impact on the outcome of this game either way.

    Gonzaga was underrated by many as a one seed that many complained did not deserve to be here.  However, they continue to prove the doubters wrong and are now looking to solidify Mark Few’s legacy as a premier NCAA head coach.

    The Bulldogs feature a balanced roster that can do damage from anywhere on the court.  Their leading scorer is Nigel Williams-Goss, a junior point guard that stands 6’4″ and could find himself as a second rounder in 2018 if he is able to find success during his senior campaign.  He is an efficient scorer, passer and defensive player.  However, Zach Collins is the player that readers will really want to watch.  His stats may not jump off the screen at you, but this freshman power forward stands 7’0″ tall and is considered a late first rounder in 2017 or a lottery pick in the 2018 draft.

    Oregon vs. North Carolina

    This game will surely garner more media attention than the other.  Both teams were considered title contenders from the start of the season and are now featured in the Final Four.

    Oregon is the squad that took down my Kansas Jayhawks in dramatic fashion.  Led by “Mr. March” Tyler Dorsey, Dillon Brooks and Jordan Bell, this squad is a scary matchup for any team this late in the season.  They are without senior big man Chris Boucher, but have kept advancing regardless.  While all of these names are popular in college scene, none seem to be highly touted as draft prospects of the upcoming draft.  All have the possibility of making a NBA roster in the future, but it seems like their outlook for NBA careers is minimal at best.

    For the Tar Heels, Justin Jackson is the featured man and a player to keep an eye on in the NBA next season.  He currently projects as a lottery pick and has been mentioned in the player of the year race pretty much all season.  The 6’8″ small forward has the tools to make it in the NBA, but could use some extra weight on his thin frame.  Since he is a junior, his draft stock could fall but a strong tournament finish and combine performance will help him out.

Fantasy News

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    On Tuesday afternoon, AmicoHoops reported (via Twitter) that an unidentified NBA GM told them the league has seriously discussed resuming the current NBA season on Wednesday, July 22.

    Nothing has been officially announced, by any means, and this is the first we've heard of specific target date(s) from anyone. It's looking like the continuation of the season will occur in Orlando at Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, which has accommodations for at least some of what the NBA has planned for a resuming activity. As we have relayed numerous times recently, the next week or two seem to be a likely window for some decisions from Adam Silver and Co. at the NBA league office to start to come down. Stay tuned, hoops fans.

    Source: AmicoHoops on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard announced on Tuesday evening that, in the event of a continuation of the NBA season, he would not be participating if the Blazers are scheduled to play 'meaningless games' with no shot at making the playoffs.

    "If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating," Lillard told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday morning. It's hard to blame him, as it is quite easy to see the potential situation from his point of view. There have been countless scenarios tossed around by the league office during the pandemic period, but nothing is set in stone so far. Lillard, for his part, is only interested in returning to action if there exists a legitimate shot for his Blazers to reach the NBA Finals. Fair enough.

    Source: Yahoo! Sports

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    The Sixers, who have their practice facility located in nearby Camden, NJ, will allow voluntary player workouts at the facility beginning on Wednesday, raising the number of NBA teams who have been able to do so to 22.

    The Celtics, Knicks, Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, Mavericks, Spurs and Warriors are the final teams remaining who are unable to return to their practice facilities. The NBA seems to be inching ever so close to, at the very least, announcing a plan for a continuation of the current season. This next week or two should be very eventful on that front.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Clint Capela
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    Hawks GM Travis Schlenk indicated on Tuesday that Clint Capela (right heel, plantar fasciitis) could very well play in the event of an NBA restart.

    "Clint [Capela] says he's feeling better, and there's a possibility that we can get him back on the court," Schlenk said in a phone interview with ESPN. "Practicing and playing five games would be valuable to us." Capela has yet to see the floor for the Hawks since he was acquired at the deadline from the Rockets, and one would have to surmise that he would be under a heavy minutes restriction if the league resumes and if the Hawks deem him healthy enough to give it a go. Still two big "ifs," but this is obviously positive news for the Hawks and potentially for fantasy owners who have managed to stash Capela in an injury slot this long.

    Source: ESPN.com

  • Mohamed Bamba
    C, Orlando Magic

    Magic center Mo Bamba said on Tuesday that he's spent the quarantine period bulking up, self-proclaiming that he's put on close to 30 pounds of muscle.

    Bamba said of his time off, ""I’ve worked my tail off during this quarantine. This is going to sound weird, but I put on probably about 28 pounds since quarantine (started)." He laughed and added that only about 2.5 percent of the weight he's put on is body fat. Bamba, along with many other NBA players, "can’t wait to get back out there and work" which is a great sign for the Magic and their fans. Jonathan Isaac is becoming more and more of a potential option for the team when/if the season is resumed as the days pass, so his presence would limit Bamba's chances on the offensive end of the floor. The team has yet to decide whether or not they want to play Isaac at all the rest of the season, regardless of the rumblings about a restart from the league office. However, this bulk-up on Bamba's part is nonetheless pretty impressive and is certainly noteworthy.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Terry Rozier
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    The Hornets are the latest team to re-open their facilities, with the Novant Health Training Center set to open up on Tuesday.

    With this, there are only eight teams left to open their practice courts back up, though nobody has been able to engage in any sort of team work yet. Individual workouts are better than no workouts, however, and the league appears to be getting its ducks in a row in terms of returning to play. There's still no firm timelines but things do appear to be heading in the right direction.

    Source: Charlotte Hornets

  • Jon Leuer
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    Jon Leuer has announced his retirement from basketball.

    Injuries completely destroyed Leuer's career, as he played in a combined 49 games over the previous two seasons with zero appearances in the 2019-20 campaign. Leuer's high point came with the Suns, where he averaged 8.5 points to go with 5.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and a 38.2 mark from deep. His eight-year career comes to an end, with Leuer saying that his body simply won't let him play at a high level anymore.

    Source: Jon Leuer on Instagram

  • Kyrie Irving
    PG, Brooklyn Nets

    Following Governor Andrew Cuomo's greenlight from earlier on Sunday, the Nets will reopen their practice facilities on Tuesday.

    The team will open its doors to voluntary player workouts. The team's statement went on to elaborate that they would strictly follow NBA and infectious disease expert protocols as they resume activities. It's another small step in the right direction as the NBA continues its climb towards trying to play actual games.

    Source: Malika Andrews on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Kemba Walker feels that his left knee hampered him earlier this year because of all of the basketball he's played over the course of his career.

    The knee pain has been a constant this season, and Walker has missed eight games due to the injury overall. He should be fully recovered for when the season does resume at this point, and if he is able to get enough practice reps in he'll be able to avoid any restrictions whenever the league-wide shutdown is lifted.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Ante Zizic
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    If Ante Zizic chooses to leave the NBA when he hits free agency this offseason, he could draw interest from Maccabi Tel Aviv.

    Zizic had a lot of success in 2016-17 when he was last in the Euro League with Darussafaka, averaging 9 points and 6.7 rebounds in under 21 minutes per game. In comparison, he's been an afterthought for the Cavs this season, only averaging 10 minutes per game. Moreover, the Cavs declined to pick up his player option for next season, and they already have plenty of options for the frontcourt between Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., and possibly DeAndre Drummond (player option). Maccabi will have to see how much salary flexibility they have this offseason as ticket sales are likely to take a hit in Israel next year.

    Source: Euro Hoops