After workout with Knicks, Aaron Wiggins shines in G League Elite Camp

Maryland’s wingman Aaron Wiggins raised his Draft stock after an impressive stint in the NBA G League Elite Camp last weekend.

Wiggins was one of the unranked prospects who completed a workout with the New York Knicks ahead of the weekend’s camp.

Notably absent in most major outlet’s NBA Mock Draft, Wiggins certainly helped his case after averaging 13 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists on 59 percent shooting from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range in just under 20 minutes in two scrimmage games.

Wiggins parlayed those impressive performances into an NBA Draft Combine invite to showcase his talent to a wider audience of NBA scouts and front-office executives.

The Knicks have four picks (19th, 21st, 32nd, and 58th) but it is unlikely that the team is eyeing him early in the Draft.

ESPN’s Draft analyst Jonathan Givony described Wiggins as a “Big wing-shooter who has good two-way versatility and nice upside to grow into.”

“[Wiggins] has the size, length, and frame and showed some things making shots in a variety of ways and doing other little things,” Givony added.

The Terrapins’ second-leading scorer was just one of the four prospects who advanced to the NBA Draft Combine. Joining him from the NBA G League Elite Camp are  Ohio State’s Duane Washington, South Carolina’s AJ Lawson, and Louisville’s Carlik Jones.

Wiggins was measured 6’4.5” without shoes and 6’5” with shoes, and 6’9.75” wingspan. He also recorded the fifth-highest vertical leap with a 36-inch leap.

During his junior season in Maryland, Wiggins averaged 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals in 31 games to earn All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors. He shot 36 percent of his 3s on 5.2 attempts. Wiggins finished the season strong, posting averages of 17.9 points and 6.6 rebounds over his last 12 games including a career-high 27 points in a second-round loss to Alabama in the NCAA tournament.

The other prospects who worked out with the Knicks — Texas Tech’s Mac McClung and Georgia Tech’s Jose Alvarado — also had a solid showing though they fell short of getting invited to the NBA Draft Combine.

McClung led all players in the vertical jump with a 43.5-inch leap and a 3/4 court sprint in just 2.935 seconds, the fastest time since 2001. He scored 11 and 12 points in the two scrimmages while shooting 45 percent from the field and connected on 3-of-6 3s.

Alvarado averaged 8.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals.

Sports Illustrated’s Draft analyst Jeremy Woo was impressed with Alvarado’s toughness.

“Jose Alvarado completely took over the fourth quarter of this first game at G League Camp. Biggest dog at this event. Great two days for him here,” he said.

Alvarado finished with 12 points and four assists in that game while shooting 50 percent from the field including 3-of-4 from deep. His team went 2-0.

Wiggins and Alvarado are still undecided and have until July 7 to make their decision whether to stay in the Draft or return to college. But Wiggins’ strong showing in the G League Elite Camp and if it continues in the Draft Combine might steer him to make the NBA jump now.

Aside from the Knicks, Wiggins also worked out with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, and the Boston Celtics. He is eyeing at least three to four more workouts before July 7.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks hope to find a ‘Terance Mann’ in NBA G League Elite Camp

Terance Mann not only propelled the Los Angeles Clippers to an improbable comeback win on Friday night but also provided a timely inspiration for 40 Draft prospects as the NBA G League Elite Camp begins Saturday in Chicago.

In 2019, Mann was one of the 11 prospects who advanced to the NBA Draft Combine after an impressive run in the NBA G League Elite Camp.

The New York Knicks had a chance to grab Mann after moving up from 55th to 47th pick in a trade with the Sacramento Kings with cash considerations. But instead of selecting the four-year standout out of Florida State University, the Knicks went with the one-and-done Ignas Brazdeikis of Michigan.

Brazdeikis never found his footing with the Knicks, while Mann is the man of the moment following his career-high 39-point explosion that helped the Clippers erase a 25-point deficit. Mann confidently stepped into Kawhi Leonard’s role in the starting lineup.

In a game where the stakes are high, and pressure was reaching its boiling point, Mann was never afraid of the big moments.

“When you trust your work, you trust in yourself. You’re not surprised when any of this happens,” Mann said.

The Knicks will be looking for that kind of mental fortitude as the new regime under team president Leon Rose evaluates prospects slotted towards the end of the Draft. There was no NBA G League Elite Camp last year due to the pandemic.

The Knicks have two second-round picks (32nd and 58th) in addition to their first-round picks (19th and 21st). They have wasted no time rounding up the less-heralded prospects in the past weeks in the hope of finding a diamond in the rough like Mann.

“The second round is where the real Draft begins. It’s where the intel and in-person workouts and interviews become really valuable. First-round and lottery talents usually stand out in the group. But second-round talents are trickier to evaluate,” a league scout told Empire Sports Media.

Three of the 40 hopefuls in the NBA G League Elite Camp have already completed their pre-Draft workout with the Knicks.

Texas Tech’s star Mac McClung, ACC Defensive Player of the Year Jose Alvarado from Georgia Tech, and Maryland’s dead-eye shooter Aaron Wiggins all had their workouts, Empire Sports Media has learned.

Unlike McClung, who has already decided to stay in the Draft, Alvarado and Wiggins have until July 7 to withdraw and return for another college season.

According to a source, Alvarado’s teammate and ACC Player of the Year Moses Wright has also secured a workout with the Knicks ahead of Monday’s NBA Draft Combine.

Meanwhile, Syracuse’s Alan Griffin also had his workout with the team last Wednesday, per Ian Begley of SNY. Alan is the son of former NBA player and current Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin.

The Knicks also invited AAC’s Co-Player of the Year Tyson Ettiene from Wichita State last Tuesday, according to Forbes’ Chris Grenham.

Among this group, only Wright had received an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine. Wright hopes to raise his Draft stocks after missing the NCAA tournament due to COVID-19.

None of these prospects are ranked in most outlets’ NBA Mock Drafts. But Mann’s success from an obscure prospect to a playoff hero gives them a blueprint.

Now it’s up to the Knicks to find out who is that Mann.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Mac McClung secures workout with Knicks, leads 40 prospects in NBA G League Elite Camp

Texas Tech’s star guard Mac McClung is scheduled to have a workout with the New York Knicks on Tuesday, a source privy to the situation confirmed to Empire Sports Media.

The story was first reported by Jake Weingarten, the founder of basketball recruiting website Stockrisers.

McClung, who signed with Daniel Poneman of Beyond Athlete Management as his agent, is also expected to be the biggest draw in the NBA G-League Elite Camp in Chicago later this month.

The Knicks own four picks in the upcoming Draft — two in the first round (Nos. 19, 21) and two in the second round (Nos. 32, 58).

McClung has been preparing for the Draft in Philadelphia with noted NBA trainer Drew Hanlen, who also trains Knicks’ rising wingman RJ Barrett.

The 6-foot-3 McClung is coming off a strong junior season with Texas Tech, in which he averaged 15.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists with a 42/34/79 shooting split to earn the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a spot in the All-Big 12 Second Team. He helped the Red Raiders reach the NCAA Tournament before falling to Arkansas in the Round of 32.

Prior to his Texas Tech stint, he played under Knicks legend Patrick Ewing at Georgetown, where he was named to the Big East All-Freshman Team. He averaged 13.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists and registered a season-high 38 points as a freshman for the Hoyas.

Known for his bouncy plays and rim-rattling dunks, McClung is an underrated shooter who has steadily improved his 3-ball throughout his three years in college. He started as a 27.7 percent three-point shooter as a freshman, then jumped to 32.3% in his sophomore year and 34.3% at Texas Tech.

McClung earned online celebrity status in high school with his highlight dunks and explosive scoring, eclipsing Allen Iverson’s single-season scoring record in Virginia High School League. Over the years, he has amassed more than 731,000 followers on Instagram.

McClung leads 40 draft prospects who will see action in the NBA G-League Elite Camp on June 19-21 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Snubbed by major NBA outlets’ Mock Drafts, McClung is determined to use the camp to raise his stocks in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches, and front-office executives.

All 40 prospects will be playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills throughout the three-day event.

Other notable names in the NBA G League Elite Camp are Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen, Jr., the son of NBA Hall of Famer and six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen, Georgia Tech’s Jose Alvarado, and Shawnee State’s EJ Onu, who shares the same agent with McClung.

Sports Illustrated included Onu, a 6-foot-11 center with a 7’3 wingspan that shot 40 percent of his 3s as a senior, and the undersized Alvarado, in its list of the biggest NBA Draft sleepers.

The top performers will be invited to the NBA Draft Combine scheduled on June 21-27 at Wintrust Arena and the Marriott Marquis in Chicago. In 2019, 11 prospects were invited to the Draft Combine from the G League Elite Camp.

Here is the full list of prospects invited to the NBA G-League Elite Camp:

NBA Draft-Eligible Players (College/Club)
Alston Jr., Derrick (Boise State) Koprivica, Balsa (Florida State)
Aluma, Keve (Virginia Tech) Lawson, A.J. (South Carolina)
Alvarado, Jose (Georgia Tech) Liddell, E.J. (Ohio State)
Begarin, Juhann (Paris, France) McClung, Mac (Texas Tech)
Brown, Chaundee (Michigan) McLaughlin, JaQuori (UCSB)
Burns, Jordan (Colgate) Mitchell, Matt (San Diego State)
Carr, Marcus (Minnesota) Nembhard, RJ (TCU)
Carton, DJ (Marquette) Omoruyi, Eugene (Oregon)
Cisse, Moussa (Memphis) Onu, E.J. (Shawnee State)
Cockburn, Kofi (Illinois) Pippen Jr., Scotty (Vanderbilt)
da Silva, Oscar (Stanford) Robinson Jr., Orlando (Fresno State)
Days, Darius (LSU) Simms, Aamir (Clemson)
Dickinson, Hunter (Michigan) Smart, Javonte (LSU)
Garcia, Dawson (Marquette) Smith, Mike (Michigan)
Garrett, Marcus (Kansas) Stewart Jr., D.J. (Mississippi State)
Guo, Haowen (Shanghai, China) Teague, MaCio (Baylor)
Huff, Jay (Virginia) Walker, M.J. (Florida State)
Jarreau, DeJon (Houston) Washington Jr., Duane (Ohio State)
Jones, Carlik (Louisville) Wiggins, Aaron (Maryland)
Jones, DeVante (Coastal Carolina) Wilson, Jalen (Kansas)

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Villar Caps Off Comeback With Walk-Off Single in 4-3 Victory

The New York Mets sleepwalking offense desperately needed something to wake themselves up, and they finally found it their 4-3 walk-off win. It looked like the Mets would play in another miserable doubleheader after the Philadelphia Phillies took the lead in the top half of the inning, but there was no quit in them. Against closer Hector Neris, Pete Alonso led off the eighth with a lined single to tie the game, and Jonathan Villar‘s bases-loaded single brought the Mets back to .500.

The eighth inning started ugly as Trevor May ran into tough luck. James McCann‘s passed ball led to runners on second and third, then Didi Gregorious’s squib single allowed the Phillies to take a 3-2 lead. Miguel Castro suffered a similar fate when he allowed an infield single to Jean Segura, which allowed the Phillies to tie the game in the sixth inning. Both May and Castro were dominant in their outings and are proving to be their best relievers early in the season.


Taijuan Walker had the strikeout pitch working as he recorded eight in 4.1 innings pitched. Due to the urgency of a seven-inning game, manager Luis Rojas opted not to stretch him out. Walker continued to show a fastball in the mid-90s, and he featured a slider which became his best secondary pitch.

Dominic Smith also made an impact both with the bat and with his mouth. His 2-run home run provided all the offense against Phillies starter Chase Anderson. It was his second one off of Anderson this season, except this one came on a fastball that was actually in the strike zone. When Jose Alvarado threw two consecutive up and in pitches to Michael Conforto, the latter drilling him on the hand, Smith was vocal toward Alvarado to cut it out. No altercation resulted from it, but it was clear that Smith was not happy with Alvarado’s lack of control at 99-100 mph.

Game two of the doubleheader will begin at 8:05 p.m. and features a good pitching matchup. Marcus Stroman faces Aaron Nola in the nightcap.