NBA prospect David Roddy: ‘I bring a very unique set of skills and athleticism to the game’

David Roddy looks like an NFL tight end, but the Colorado State standout has a unique set of skills.

David Roddy looks like an NFL tight end, but the Colorado State standout has a unique set of skills that can help him become an NBA player.

Growing up in Minnesota, Roddy was actually a standout high school quarterback. While he could have played football in college, he opted for the hardwood, and the decision has paid off thus far. He averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 43.8% on his 3-pointers in 2021-22.

It is not uncommon for NBA prospects to flaunt their versatility as a strength, but few are able to check as many boxes as Roddy. He is the rare three-level scorer who can finish efficiently either at the rim, from the midrange or from beyond the arc.

Roddy is also one of just two prospects (NCAA, G League, or international) with more than 30 possessions attempting to score as both the ball-handler and as the screener in pick and roll sets, according to the Synergy database.

He was also able to add positive value as a good positional rebounder and playmaker with above-average court vision and a low turnover rate.

There are some physical concerns about Roddy, who measured at just 6’4.5″ without shoes at the NBA Draft Combine. However, his 6’11.5″ wingspan may allow him to guard larger opponents. Meanwhile, although his body fat percentage is relatively high, he performed very well in athletic testing.

His lane agility (10.75 seconds) ranked in the 89th percentile. His three-quarter sprint (3.22 seconds) and his max vertical (35.5 inches) both ranked in the 60th percentile or better, via Stadium Speak.

Roddy’s shot wasn’t falling during five-on-five scrimmages at the combine, and several publications (including The Athletic and ESPN) believe it may have hurt his draft stock.

However, I believe he showed improvement as a defender — especially with his lateral movement while switching on the perimeter — and his passing was on full display as well.

My biggest takeaway from Chicago: Due to his height, at the next level, Roddy is someone who likely has to play at the wing and not the frontcourt (like he has in college). He will need to trim down even more than he already has but fortunately, he isn’t slow-footed at all, and he has enough length to hold his own when he does get switched onto bigger players.

He is currently testing the waters of the NBA draft, leaving the option to return to college and potentially instead turn pro after next season. He caught up with For The Win, explaining more about the pre-draft process so far and how he sees his own game.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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How a Louisville hire could steer the fate of DJ Wagner, the top basketball recruit in his class

“It’s DJ’s decision.”

DJ Wagner, the top overall basketball recruit in the Class of 2023, has not yet committed to a college. But the tides could possibly change fairly soon.

Wagner, an incredibly talented 17-year-old guard from Camden High School in New Jersey, is the son of former NBA player Dajuan Wagner. After a dominant freshman year at Memphis, then coached by current Kentucky coach John Calipari, Dajuan was selected No. 6 overall in the 2002 NBA Draft.

Dajuan’s father, Milt Wagner, was also an NBA draft pick. Milt, a former Louisville standout, was chosen at No. 35 overall in the 1986 NBA Draft.

If and when he hears his name called in the NBA draft, DJ would actually become the first-ever third-generation NBA player. But first, he must decide where he will play basketball after he graduates from Camden High School in New Jersey — where both his father and grandfather played as well.

Although crystal ball predictions at 247Sports are currently split between Kentucky (led by Calipari, who coached Dajuan at Memphis) and Louisville, DJ’s eventual choice may have just become a bit more obvious.

According to Louisville’s official website, their men’s basketball program has now officially welcomed DJ’s grandfather Milt as their new director of player development.

For what it’s worth: That means that Milt will work in an administrative role, which is hired directly by the university, and not on the coaching staff.

Milt isn’t without qualifications. Not only does he have coaching experience, but during his playing days, he led Louisville to win a national championship in 1986. While he was in college, he also helped the team make it into three appearances in the Final Four.

Also on his roster: Kenny Payne, a first-round pick in the 1989 NBA Draft.

Payne, who was hired as an assistant coach at Oregon and then at Kentucky after his playing career, most recently worked for the New York Knicks. On March 18, Payne was hired to take over as Louisville’s head coach.

When asked, Milt typically dodges the question about DJ’s recruitment.

Last month, Dajuan was also asked about how Milt’s potential employment could eventually impact his son’s collegiate recruiting, and he said it would have a minimal effect (via WDRB):

“It’s D.J.’s decision … It shouldn’t take for Kenny [Payne] to get a job for my Dad to work for the university. He did a lot for that university.”

For what it’s worth, according to The Athletic’s Kyle Tucker, Kentucky “remains in great shape” to land DJ — and potentially even big man Aaron Bradshaw, a top-25 recruit who is teammates with DJ at Camden.

Even further complicating matters: DJ’s stepbrother, Kareem Watkins, is actually on Kentucky’s roster as well. So with ties to both universities, DJ will have a tough decision to make.

DJ is in the same recruiting class as Bronny James, and he will face off against James‘ on the Nike EYBL circuit this weekend.

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Former St. John’s guard Omar Cook should be celebrated as he ends a long international career

The NYC legend is calling it a career.

For thousands of young basketball players across the country, playing in the NBA is the ultimate dream. Anything short of that can feel like a failure.

However, not everyone can make the NBA. There are only 450 roster spots, and only a small fraction of those open up each year. For players who prove good enough to play professionally while being unable to crack one of those coveted spots, international play has always been a great alternative. Playing overseas has provided countless players the opportunity to extend their careers and get paid doing something they love. No one is a better example of that than Omar Cook, the former St. John’s guard who announced his likely retirement Saturday at 40 years old.

If you’ve never heard of Cook, it’s not your fault. He’s been playing in European leagues since 2006. But make no mistake, the former McDonald’s All-American was a legend at home in New York City before his one year in college. As a freshman at St. John’s in 2000-01, he was second in the country in assists per game at 8.7 and led the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game.

However, Cook’s decision to come out of a college after that year backfired, as he waited until the second round of the 2001 draft to hear his name called. After being selected by the Orlando Magic, he bounced around the D League a few years and played just 22 NBA games before making his way to Europe.

Instead of letting that decision define him, Cook stuck with his passion and turned himself into a mainstay overseas for nearly two decades. He’ll finish his career as the Liga ACB all-time leader in assists per game — sixth all-time in total assists — and he’s top 15 all-time in EuroCup assists, according to Basketball-Reference. His NBA dream didn’t work out but he was still able to make a name for himself in basketball. And he should be celebrated for that.

Cheers to an amazing career.

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11 other 80-to-1 longshots across sport to show how improbable Rich Strike’s Kentucky Derby win was

If Rich Strike can do it, so can they, right?

It might be difficult to understand just how improbable Rich Strike’s win at the Kentucky Derby was if you aren’t into sports betting (or math, which I completely relate to). So to put a little context behind the victor’s 80 to 1 odds, we’re going to take a look at some other long shots across sports with similarly long odds.

That Rich Strike wasn’t even entered into the race as of Friday morning helps to begin to understand how crazy it is that the horse was a champion by Saturday evening. The odds of that win were longer than those of the Cincinnati Bengals to win the AFC last season (70 to 1), which seemed impossible after they won four games in 2020.

Here are few more comparable long shots across sports, with odds from Tipico Sportsbook.

[tipico]

Buy stock on the 2022-23 Creighton Bluejays, who just landed top transfer Baylor Scheierman

One of college basketball’s best transfers just committed to playing for the Creighton Bluejays.

One way to build off an NCAA Tournament Round-of-32 loss is to immediately add proven talent. The Creighton Bluejays just did that, nabbing one of the most sought after players in the transfer portal.

South Dakota State transfer Baylor Scheierman announced his commitment to Bluejays this week with a simple message for his new fanbase — “Can’t wait to come home…Roll Jays.”

Home would be Aurora, Nebraska, where Scheierman left to attend SDSU. Now, the do-it-all wing leaves Brookings, South Dakota three years later having led the Jackrabbits in 2022 to both an NCAA Tournament appearance and a conference championship. He also averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists en route to a Summit League Player of the Year Award.

Quite the addition for the Bluejays, if you ask me (a former Bluejays forward).

The 6’6″ smooth-operating lefty will enter a Creighton lineup that featured last season’s Big East Freshman of the Year, three members of the Big East All-Freshman Team and one All-Big East Honorable Mention selection.

The Bluejays’ 2022 season concluded in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after falling to the eventual national champion Kansas Jayhawks, which is nothing to hang their heads about. Especially considering the aforementioned conference freshman of the year, Ryan Nembhard, and honorable mention center, Ryan Kalkbrenner, ended the season on the sideline with injuries.

And while simply running it back minus Ryan Hawkins (yes, another Ryan), would have been awesome, Scheierman’s addition raises the ceiling. The team gets some much-needed 3-point shooting (46.9 percent) along with additional rebounding and playmaking. Enough to make the Bluejays serious favorites to win the Big East, and potentially go farther in the NCAA Tournament than ever before.

Are you optimistic enough to get in on Creighton’s +4000 national championship odds at Tipico Sportsbook?

You should be with Scheierman headed home to Nebraska.

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Oscar Tshiebwe and the 30 most notable prospects to not declare for the NBA draft

Jaden Ivey and Bennedict Mathurin were at the top of this list last season.

The league office released the official list of early entry candidates for the 2022 NBA draft, and there weren’t too many surprises.

For the most part, most of the players who appeared had already announced their intentions beforehand. While some prospects are still testing the waters and may eventually opt to go back to school, other notable names decided to skip the process entirely.

Players can gain a ton of valuable knowledge and experience from the pre-draft process, but it’s also hard to resist the clarity that comes with knowing exactly where they will be next season.

Some may even make more money in the college ranks than they would have on an NBA contract due to their newfound ability to profit off name, image, and likeness. Others are looking for a fresh start and have entered their name in the transfer portal.

Most players in a comfortable draftable range have opted to turn pro. But there are still plenty of notable names who did not, and we’ve included them below.

When we made this list last season, the two top names we highlighted were Jaden Ivey and Bennedict Mathurin. Both are now projected lottery picks in the 2022 NBA draft. Several others, however, did little to improve their draft stock.

As always, the year-over-year improvements and developmental pathways are fascinating. This list may serve as a helpful resource to track some of those changes.

Emoni Bates and the top 10 players available in the NCAA men’s basketball transfer portal

Where does former top recruit Emoni Bates rank after opting to leave Memphis?

Some folks aren’t a fan of the transfer portal in college sports, but if nothing else, roster fluidity keeps things interesting.

Especially for college basketball players who are dominating mid-major conferences, the transfer portal offers plenty of great opportunities. Some players want to play against tougher competition to get more exposure and to show pro scouts what they are capable of doing. Others are just looking for a fresh start.

For schools looking to bolster their rosters this offseason, meanwhile, the transfer portal offers a ton of available talent who are also going to be more ready to contribute than most collegiate freshmen.

Below, we highlighted some of the most notable names in the transfer portal. You can see a full list of the available players if you click here.

Note that players like Andre Curbelo (Illinois to St. John’s), Brandon Murray (LSU to Georgetown), and Tristen Newton (East Carolina to UCONN) were excluded from this list as they are no longer available in the transfer portal.

Villanova’s 2023 title odds are a little longer after Jay Wright’s retirement

Kyle Neptune has some big shoes to fill.

News of Jay Wright’s retirement sent shockwaves through the college basketball world Wednesday, as the coaching giant leaves Villanova after 21 years, 16 NCAA tournaments, four Final Fours and two national championships.

Including his seven years with Hofstra, where he had another two tourney trips, Wright’s career record was 642-282. With him on the sideline, Villanova was always thought to have a chance to not only win the Big East, but go the distance.

Without him, those odds are a little longer. Villanova went from +1800 to win the 2023 national title to +3000 on Tipico Sportsbook. The odds remain 11th shortest but are now tied with five other teams.

[tipico]

Villanova hired Wright’s former assistant Kyle Neptune to replace him. Neptune was the head coach at Fordham last season, leading the team to a 14-win increase over the previous year with a 16-16 record. He’ll adopt a Wildcats team losing two of its best players from this past season, graduate seniors Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels. And with another top player, Justin Moore, rehabbing a torn Achilles.

2023 NCAA Title Odds
  • Houston +1000
  • Duke +1200
  • Kansas, North Carolina +1300
  • UCLA +1400
  • Kentucky, Arkansas, Baylor +1500
  • Arizona +1600
  • Gonzaga +1700
  • Texas Tech, Michigan, Villanova, Alabama, Tennessee +3000
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Jay Wright’s reportedly sudden retirement at Villanova shocked the college basketball world

The NCAA basketball world is STUNNED.

In a truly stunning move, Jay Wright is reportedly set to retire from his position as the head coach of Villanova.

The news shocked the college basketball world on Wednesday, coming a handful of weeks after Villanova’s 81-65 Final Four loss to Kansas in the 2022 March Madness tournament. Though there’s no set timetable for Wright’s departure, he will reportedly be succeeded by Kyle Neptune, head coach of Fordham University and former assistant at Villanova.

Wright has been the head coach at Villanova since 2001, bringing in two NCAA tournament championships in 2016 and 2018. The sudden retirement means Wright won’t get a farewell tour in the same way Mike Krzyzewski got for Duke this past year before the long-time Blue Devils head coach retired earlier in April.

Not only that, Wright’s retirement alongside great head coaches in Krzyzewski and Roy Williams in the last 13 months heralds in quite an unprecedented era for college basketball. Here’s how the college basketball world reacted to the news of Wright’s retirement.

Bill Self told Kansas to ‘Take it right at their [expletive]’ in title game speech

“Take care of business tonight and you’ll never be forgotten.”

At the end of every Kansas basketball season, the team holds a banquet that’s part celebration, part roast and part remembrance of what’s typically a pretty successful season.

Having won the NCAA national championship less than two weeks ago, this year’s festivities certainly leaned into those themes. To kick things off on Thursday, the program showed an incredible video highlighting the biggest games and moments of the season leading up to the Final Four in New Orleans.

Once it got there, the school showed newly released footage of head coach Bill Self giving his team one final (and mildly expletive-laden) pep talk before taking the court against North Carolina for the title.

(h/t Kansas Athletics)

“You guys will be loved forever, but Danny [Manning is] right. Take care of business tonight and you’ll never be forgotten. Ok? Never be forgotten. You deserve to be here. You deserve to play in this game and I damn guarantee you we deserve to win. Ok? You’re not going to win by hoping it happens. You’re going to win it by going out playing one possession at a time and, as Nick Collison said, ‘hold the moment, play where your feet are’. Ok? Your mind is where your feet are. Always thinking next play, ok?

“I know you’re excited. You should be excited. Maybe a few nerves. Let’s take it out on defense and rebounding. You guys all understand that. Share the ball and the most aggressive team wins. Take it right at their a****. You guys got it? You ready to go? Let’s go have some fun.”

Whew. Yeah, that’ll get you going. For a program that prides itself on the history of the game, referencing Danny Manning and Nick Collison are sure to get the blood pumping a bit faster.

The speech has some shades of what Self told his team before winning the 2008 title with Manning serving as KU’s assistant coach. Self said the players can “ask Danny” about what playing on this stage means.

Whether or not the speech worked in 2022 is up for debate. Kansas came out and knocked down an Ochai Agbaji three to open the scoring, but quickly fell behind, facing a 15-point deficit at halftime.

Not long after, the Jayhawks completed the largest comeback in title game history to knock off the Tar Heels and hang a sixth championship banner at Allen Fieldhouse. No one may ever know for sure what Self told the team at the break—we’ll at least have to wait a few years before the full story comes out—but former KU great Paul Pierce had a pretty good idea what was happening in that locker room at the time.

Hard to argue against The Truth there. Whatever was said, it clearly worked.

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