After failing to attend the Nike Hoop Summit in April, France's Evan Fournier is looking to impress NBA executives this weekend by participating in pre-draft workouts in New Jersey along with 43 other NBA hopefuls.
Update: According to reports, Evan Fournier injured his ankle during a game on Wednesday against Orleans and had to use crutches to get around after the game. Fournier said he will not fly to the US on Friday for Nets combine and wants to see how his ankle develops first.
It is a little under 4000 miles from France to New Jersey, but the trip west will be well worth the time and effort for Evan Fournier come this weekend.
That is where Fournier -- the 6-foot-7 swing guard for Poiters in the Pro-A French League -- will be one of 44 draft eligible players participating in the annual pre-draft workout camp put on by the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets.
The two day camp (with two start times on Saturday and Sunday) features a wide variety of collegiate talent and NBA draft hopefuls, along with two international players. The first being Fournier, and the second Mindaugas Kupsas, a 7-foot center out of Lithuania.
Players will be divided into four groups of eleven players each, measured, undergo agility tests and will conduct both media and team interviews. As for the actual workout portion of the camp, the 60-minute workouts will entail skill-work and five-on-five scrimmages.
It's that time of the season. Time to impress NBA front offices around the league.
Some draft experts are knocking the fact that Fournier failed to participate at the Nike Hoop Summit in April as the reason behind his draft stock slipping, so look for Fournier to make up for his absence by putting in work in New Jersey.
That should also be the case in Chicago as Fournier is expected to attend the pre-draft combine there.
Still, watch for Fournier to go late in the first round or early second round as a number of NBA executives remain high on the 19-year old who averaged 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and shot 52.7% from the field this season.
Keep in mind: the Rockets have been following Fournier heavily this season.
Shved weighing NBA options
After the show Alexey Shved put on last Friday at the Euroleague Final Four against Panathinaikos, it's no wonder he has a handful of NBA teams keeping close tabs on him over the last few months.
In the quarterfinals, the 6-foot-5 guard finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds in 19 minutes off of the bench for CSKA Moscow, who advanced to the Finals before dropping a heard breaker to Olympiacos on Sunday. But now as CSKA's focus shifts to Khimky and the Russian League finals, Shved continues to look ahead and weigh his NBA options.
In an interview with Sports.ru in Moscow on Tuesday, Shved's agent Obrad Fimic said while no official NBA offers are on the table at this moment, five teams have shown interest in his client -- Atlanta, Houston, Oklahoma City, Minnesota and Memphis.
As it stands, Shved remains under contract with CSKA but all signs point to him making the jump to the NBA, despite Fimic refuting a recent report that his client was asking upwards of $10 to $12 million on a three-year deal.
Interest in Shved peaked in mid-winter and later in February Pete Philo, an international scout for the Minnesota Timberwolves, was on hand in Moscow to check in on Shved according to a league contact in Moscow. But the question remains how will Shved's game translate to the NBA?
Offensively speaking his game is sound -- versatile and athletic, a guard who can shoot from the perimeter and can get into the paint. The trouble is defensively and being able to handle stronger, faster NBA guards. Shved would certainly excel and an up-tempo offense in a reserve role and it will be interesting to see if more teams step up to inquire about the Russian guard in the comings weeks.
Kleber will "very likely" withdraw his name from the NBA Draft
Well, it was a fun experience while it lasted in Germany for Maxililian Kleber.
The 19-year old, 6-foot-11 power forward for s.Oliver Baskets has been in the headlines in Germany lately for throwing his name into the 2012 NBA Draft as an early entry, but there has been a recent change of plans in Wuerzburg.
"My problem was that I was injured a long time and no one really knew me. And this will bring some more attention and possibilities for me. So that's why we decided to enter my name in the draft," Kleber told heinnews.
Kleber missed playing for Germany at the U18 European Championship in 2010 after injuring his cruciate knee ligament, then a broken finger kept Kleber out of the U20 Euros in 2011.
"I will very likely pull my name out because the probability that I would get drafted this year is much too low...I just hope that I have a chance of getting drafted in the next one or two years."
Kleber (who has drawn comparisons to the Denver Nuggets Danilo Gallinari) is under contract with s.Oliver Baskets for another season, with a team option for a second year. This season he saw limited time (3.1 points and 1.2 rebounds in 7.3 minutes per game) in Wuerzburg, but probably his most promising outing was last summer at the Nike Global Games in Portland.
He held his own (9 points and 6 rebounds) against a USA Midwest team including Jabari Parker and Tony Parker, before going for 17 points against Puerto Rico and 15 points, 5 rebounds and 6 blocks against Brazil.
Along with helping s.Oliver Baskets try to overcome Ulm in the second round of the Beko BBL playoffs starting this weekend with Game 1, Kleber plans to play for Germany's U20 national team this summer.
For now, the NBA draft will wait.