Maryland’s Kevin Huerter meets with Miami Heat, then impresses rest of NBA at combine

Kevin Huerter, from Maryland, participates in the NBA draft basketball combine Thursday, May 17, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO — Kevin Huerter has opened a lot of eyes at the NBA draft combine this week.

The Maryland guard, who arrived to Chicago as a projected second-round pick, is rising up draft boards after turning in a solid performance in the combine’s first five-on-five scrimmage and producing eye-opening results in the agility and shooting drills on Thursday. Continue reading “Maryland’s Kevin Huerter meets with Miami Heat, then impresses rest of NBA at combine”

How is the NBA draft combine going for former Hurricanes guard Bruce Brown? Plus, a look at his meeting with the Heat

CHICAGO — Bruce Brown doesn’t need any extra motivation.

The former Hurricane guard is carrying plenty of it with him during the NBA’s pre-draft evaluation process. Brown is working to prove that his surgically-repaired left foot is fully healed, which is enough to make these next few weeks leading up to the June 21 draft especially important.

But that’s not all. Brown pointed to a childhood memory as the fuel to his drive. Continue reading “How is the NBA draft combine going for former Hurricanes guard Bruce Brown? Plus, a look at his meeting with the Heat”

Possible Miami Heat draft target TJ Leaf not offended by LaVar Ball’s comment about “slow” white guys

UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, right, shakes hands with his father LaVar following a game this season against Washington State in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

CHICAGO – TJ Leaf appears to have the perfect blueprint on how to handle LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of his former UCLA teammate, Lonzo Ball.

“LaVar is going to say what he’s going to say,” Leaf, the 6-foot-10 power forward said from the NBA Combine. “It is what it is. We can’t control that.”

LaVar Ball has been off the rails since he started exploiting his three basketball-playing sons to further his Big Baller brand. He continues to extend his 15-minutes of fame by making headline-splashing statements like saying in his “heyday” he “would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one,” or saying Lonzo is “the best player on the world” and right now “is better than Steph Curry,” or believed his can command a billion dollar endorsement deal for his brand.

Or this doozy in an interview with the Orange County Register after UCLA lost to Kentucky, 85-76, in the NCAA tournament:

“Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow.”

Leaf, who is white, was asked if that comment bothered him.

“No. Absolutely not,” he said. “The season didn’t end how we wanted and we all know that it was just a team effort.”

Leaf tied for team-high scoring and rebounding honors in the loss with 17 points and seven boards. He shot 7 of 11. Ball had 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting.

But none of that matters. Leaf praises Lonzo for helping increase his basketball IQ during their one season together, says they are close, and appears to have tolerated LaVar in his one-year at UCLA.

Lonzo is expected to be a top three pick while Leaf could be right in the middle of the first round, which is Miami Heat territory. The Heat will have the 14th pick if they do not defy the long odds (1.8 percent chance) and move into the top three. Leaf is expecting to work out for the Heat in Miami before the June 22 draft.

“Me and Lonzo are really close off the court and on the court,” Leaf said. “It was a blast playing with him this year. We’re still very close. We talk all the time, I’m close with him and his family. He has a great family. Obviously his dad is pretty bold in what he says. But that’s his father. He loves him and at the end of the day he wants what’s best for his son.”

I asked Leaf what was the biggest misconception about LaVar.

“There’s a lot of people saying a lot of things about him and his family,” he said. “No one really knows. I don’t even know. They have their own stuff going on in their own family. It unfair for people to say things sometimes.”

[Several prospects on Miami Heat radar at NBA Combine]

[Ray Allen talks about Miami, post-basketball life, and Dwyane Wade’s looming free-agent decision]

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