Where every Pac-12 player landed in the 2022 NBA draft

The Pac-12 conference had six players selected in the 2022 NBA draft, including three in the first round and three out of Arizona.

The 2022 NBA draft came and went on Thursday evening, and while the Oregon Ducks did not have any players selected it was still a busy day for the Pac-12 conference.

Tommy Lloyd’s Arizona Wildcats had three players selected within the first 33 picks of the draft, while UCLA, USC, and Colorado each had a player find a new home as well.

The Pac-12 wasn’t the only west coast conference with representatives at the draft, with three players (Chet Holmgren, Andrew Nembhard, and Jalen Williams) out of the WCC and one more (David Roddy) from the Mountain West.

While it wasn’t the most talented NBA draft class in Pac-12 conference history, this group should have multiple guys with lengthy careers in the association – and one of them could happen right here in Oregon.

Here is a look at all six draftees from the conference of champions, where they landed, and what their fit looks like on the new squad:

Oregon’s incoming star Kel’el Ware listed as top-10 pick in way-too-early 2023 NBA mock draft

Oregon fans may need to enjoy watching Ke’el Ware in Eugene while they can. New 2023 NBA mock drafts show him as a top-10 pick following his freshman year.

As is the case with the football season, the end of the NFL draft does not mean that we stop talking about it for the next several months while the prospective participants hone their skills and get ready to make a jump to the next level. No, instead we will turn around the very next morning and talk about the way-too-early look at the 2023 draft.

That’s what greets everyone on Friday morning after the closing of the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday night. Many of the new picks may not even have touched down in their prospective cities just yet, but already we’ve moved on. We’re now looking at who is going to be the No. 1 pick a year from now.

It seems to pretty much be a consensus opinion that 7-foot-3 athletic freak Victor Wembanyama out of France will garner the top spot. After he is off the board though, things get interesting.

For fans of the Oregon Ducks, this is where you may want to start focusing over the next year.

According to the latest mock draft from Yahoo! Sports, Oregon’s Kel’el Ware will be taken with the No. 10 overall pick. We obviously don’t know to which team just yet, but that puts the Duck’s incoming freshman well inside the draft lottery. Here is what Yahoo! had to say about Ware:

No future NBA prospect has garnered more attention in a short amount of time than Ware. He improved from every high school all-star event in the spring with NBA scouts in attendance and was the leading force in the lane, blocking everything during the FIBA U18 Americas Tournament.

“I’m a center that can shoot the ball, post up, score and defend well and get blocks,” Ware told Yahoo Sports. “So I’m just trying to showcase my versatility and be consistent.”

It will be extremely fun for Oregon fans to watch Ware in Eugene next season, but they may need to enjoy it while they can. Chances are he’s going to be off to a new team after just one season.

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Gators making advances on this 5-star 2024 basketball recruit

Todd Golden and the gang are looking ahead to 2024 and this five-star guard.

College basketball is still months away, but the Gators’ coaching staff already have their eyes on the 2024 recruiting class. Namely, the team was recently in contact with [autotag]David Castillo[/autotag], a guard native to Oklahoma who received early five-star status.

Castillo, who participated with Team USA’s U16 squad last season, is fighting for a spot with the U17s this year. He’s a confident young man who describes himself as being well-versed in just about every skill a guard can have. His slate of offers from schools across the best conferences at such an early stage would suggest the industry has a similarly high opinion of him.

Carlin Hartman was Florida’s representative to Castillo when the parties made contact earlier this week. Hartman was a logical choice for first contact— Castillo’s family has a relationship with him already and it’s always good to see a familiar face.

Castillo reported to Swamp247 that he doesn’t know the current staff well, no surprise there, but they caught his attention enough to schedule an unofficial visit for this summer. (Florida fans will also enjoy reading that he mentioned the ’07 and ’08 championships and [autotag]Bradley Beal[/autotag]’s days as a Gator.)

Todd Golden’s recruiting team didn’t have much time to work on the class of 2023, but they managed to bring in a top-59 recruit and their results in the transfer portal were impressive. That’s an excellent foundation to bring into 2024 recruiting, where they have an opportunity to make an early splash if they make a good impression on Castillo.

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Former Gator Bradley Beal could enter free agency for first time

Bradley Beal is rightfully looking to get paid.

Bradley Beal may have only played one season wearing the Orange and Blue but he will forever be a Gator, and he currently represents the best former Florida player active in the NBA. Drafted with the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft — second-highest only to the legendary Neal Walk and tied with current Boston Celtic [autotag]Al Horford[/autotag] — the prolific scoring guard spent the first decade of his professional career in D.C.

But that tenure in the nation’s capital might be coming to an end.

In an interview with Josh Robbins of The Athletic, Beal revealed he has made a decision on his future, but because his current contract has not yet expired he declined to provide any insight. All indicators point toward a dive into free agency for the first time in his 10-year career, but he expects plenty of turbulence ahead.

“My situation? Crazy probably,” he told the Associated Press.

According to Spotrac, Beal is set to make a guaranteed $36,422,136 in the final year of his contract extension with the Wizards if he exercises his player option. However, he appears to be hungering for more despite a career often marred by injuries while coming off a down year in which he averaged a team-high 23.2 points on 45.1% shooting but a career-low 30.0% from three over 40 games last season.

If he were to return to the Wizards — who own his Bird rights — Beal is eligible for a five-year maximum deal amounting to nearly $248 million, versus a four-year, $184 million cap on contracts with the rest of the NBA franchises.

The former Gator was recently cleared to resume basketball activities after his campaign was shortened by season-ending wrist surgery back in February, which has complicated his future options thus far. The shooting guard is just a year separated from a two-season stretch in which he became the first UF alumnus to average over 30 points a game in the NBA: 30.5 ppg in 2019-20 and 31.3 ppg in 2020-21. He was edged by future Hall of Famer Stephen Curry in the latter season for the scoring title.

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Florida basketball learns of SEC/Big 12 Challenge opponent

The Oklahoma loss sent Florida basketball into a funk last season. Here’s who the Gators will face in the 2022-23 season’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Florida basketball will take on Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas, on January 28 of the upcoming season as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

The matchup was announced on Thursday as were the rest of the matchups that make up the interconference challenge. The Gators have fared well since the series began going 6-3 against the Big 12 over the last decade. Florida knocked off Oklahoma State at home last season and beat No. 11 West Virginia on the road in 2020-21.

Things are different this year, though. [autotag]Todd Golden[/autotag] has taken over for [autotag]Mike White[/autotag], who is now the lead man in Athens, Georgia. Golden is relatively unproven and is looking to rebuild what once was a proud dynasty in Gainesville. The good news is Kansas State is also dealing with a first-year head coach, so both teams should have an equal amount of time to figure things out under the new regime before facing each other.

The two teams have only faced off twice, once in 2010 and again in 2012. In the first matchup, Florida took down then-ranked No. 6 Kansas State on neutral ground at the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise. The Wildcats returned the favor by upsetting 8th-ranked Florida two seasons later in Kansas City at the Sprint Center (now the T-Mobile Center).

Here are all of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchups:

Florida at Kansas State
Alabama at Oklahoma
Arkansas at Baylor
Auburn at West Virginia
Kansas at Kentucky
Texas Tech at LSU
Ole Miss at Oklahoma State
TCU at Mississippi State
Iowa State at Missouri
Texas at Tennessee

All games will air on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

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Florida basketball falls in ESPN’s latest bracketology update

Lundari had a change of heart about Florida basketball in his update.

There is still quite a bit of time between now and November when the college basketball season starts back up but there is no better time than the present to prognosticate upon the many possibilities that a fresh campaign brings. For the Florida Gators, the 2022-23 schedule represents a pivot away from the [autotag]Mike White[/autotag] era into the [autotag]Todd Golden[/autotag] age as the latter looks to restore the luster of the Orange and Blue.

In the last update from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi back in mid-May, the Gators sat in the No. 9 seed in the Midwest, which is centered in Kansas City. However, this time around Florida fell out of the main bracket back into the periphery in the First Four Out group — essentially where it was prior to the previous update. UF is joined by Wyoming, St. John’s and Notre Dame teetering on the edge of contention.

Lunardi’s current bracket features eight schools from the Big Ten, seven from both the SEC and Big 12, and six from the ACC and Big East, while the Pac-12 has four and the Mountain West, WCC, American and Atlantic 10 all have two teams in the mix.

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‘Pitt is where I needed to be;’ 4-star PG Dior Johnson explains decision to de-commit from Oregon

“Having an elite leader like [Coach Jeff Capel], after us talking I knew Pitt is where I needed to be.”

The last week or so has brought a lot of news on the Oregon Ducks basketball front, particular when it comes to one — former, now — player.

That player is Dior Johnson, who is rated by 247Sports as the No. 7 PG in the 2022 class, and No. 37 player overall in the nation. After committing to join the Ducks last summer and signing his national letter of intent in the fall, Johnson asked out of that NLI recently and was granted his release.

RELATED: Ducks drop in recruiting rankings after Dior Johnson leaves

Johnson de-committed from Oregon last week, and on Sunday, announced a new top-3 that included the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Pittsburgh Panthers, and Washington State Cougars.

On Monday, he announced his commitment to Pittsburgh.

A lot of Duck fans can connect a few dots to see the reasons behind Johnson’s decision to leave. As one of the top players in the 2022 class, Johnson projects to be a starting player, and major contributor wherever he goes. However, the Ducks brought back veteran PG Will Richardson this offseason, as well as incoming transfer guards Keeshawn Barthelemy and Jermaine Couisnard. It’s safe to say that Johnson was going to be fighting hard for minutes on the floor.

After his commitment to Pittsburgh, though, the phenom high schooler explained to ESPN the reasoning that went into his decision ultimately.

“I was looking for a coach to challenge me and hold me in high account,” Johnson said to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “I still have some things to work on and another level to tap into, in all phases of the game. Coach [Jeff] Capel has a great track record and was a great player himself. I honestly feel like he’s going to pour into me as a person and player. Having an elite leader like himself, after us talking I knew Pitt is where I needed to be.”

This is not the first time that Johnson picked a school and then changed his mind. He committed to play at Syracuse in February 2020 but elected to change gears after nine months and reopened his recruitment, eventually settling on Oregon in June 2021. A year later, he again elected to reopen his recruitment, quickly deciding to commit to Capel and the Panthers.

“Deep down I’m a young man that loves this game of basketball and it’s allowed me to do so much, early in my career,” Johnson said. “I also understand that to put myself in the best position possible, you need to be led by truth-worthy, high-character men and Jeff Capel is that.”

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Former Duck commit Dior Johnson headed to Pittsburgh

Former Duck commit and four-star recruit Dior Johnson is headed to Pittsburgh after decommiting from Oregon.

When Will Richardson decided to come back to Oregon for his fifth year of eligibility, five-star recruit Dior Johnson had to switch gears a bit.

Johnson is one of the top point guards in the country and with a stacked Duck roster, he decided to de-commit and instead take his talents to Pittsburgh.

With the Ducks, Johnson would have surely seen plenty of time on the floor as Richardson’s back-up, but it’s understandable that he wants to start from the get-go as the No. 7 rated point guard in the country.

Unfortunately with Johnson’s departure, the Ducks’ most recent recruiting rating took a hit. The Class of 2022 was once heralded as the No. 16 best in the country to No. 35.

Oregon will still bring in five-star center Ke’lel Ware as well as transfers Keeshawn Barthelemy (Colorado) and Jermaine Couisnard (South Carolina) to round out the roster.

PHOTOS: A look back at Florida basketball’s 2021-22 roster

Take a quick look back at the men’s basketball roster last season.

Florida basketball’s 2021-22 campaign is well in the books — and speaking of books, the end of the season also brought the end of the [autotag]Mike White[/autotag] chapter of the program’s history. With former San Francisco Dons head coach [autotag]Todd Golden[/autotag] now at the helm the Gators will be looking to rebuild in the coming seasons.

The roster that White put together in his final year in Gainesville, while very much a Frankenstein’s monster type of creation out of necessity was also loaded with experience and enough talent to spare. However, after an early honeymoon period in which it appeared that the team had coalesced around its seniority, things quickly fell apart and never quite found their footing afterward.

After a heart-breaking opening-round loss in overtime to the Texas A&M Aggies in the SEC Tournament, the Gators took their invite to the NIT sans White where they beat the Iona Gaels in the first round but then took a spanking at the hands of the Xavier Musketeers to end the season.

Take a look back below at the 2021-22 roster including [autotag]Keyontae Johnson[/autotag], who got in a ceremonial start despite being medically inactive while also serving as a de facto bench coach.

The Athletic breaks down three incoming transfers for Florida basketball

A look at three new Gators basketball transfers through the lens of The Athletic.

Florida basketball saw some significant turnover on its roster after the departure of former head coach [autotag]Mike White[/autotag], leaving new skipper [autotag]Todd Golden[/autotag] with a skeleton of a team to start his UF tenure. While the team got some great news when center [autotag]Colin Castelton[/autotag] pulled his name from the NBA draft and returned to Gainesville, the more important work has been done through the transfer portal.

The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie and CJ Moore recently undertook the task of composing a complete overview of the players who have passed through the portal so far, including new additions Kyle Lofton, Will Richard and Alex Fudge. The trio are expected to help the Gators bounce back from a disappointing season in 2021-22, but there is a lot of work to be done.

Below is a look at the three incoming transfers that The Athletic included in its survey of who moved through the portal this offseason, ordered by ranking while breaking down their scouting report as well as why they fit at Florida.