Former Arizona Wildcat forward Grant Jerrett isn’t starting the season in the NBA, but he and the Oklahoma City Thunder appear to be quite serious about each other.
Oklahoma City’s D-League affiliate in Tulsa acquired the No. 1 pick in tonight’s D-League draft and is expected to take Jerrett, so the Thunder can essentially control Jerrett’s development within its organization.
The Thunder has the rights to Jerrett, because Jerrett did not sign a contract this season, but does not control his D-League fate. So grabbing the No. 1 pick ensures they can have their staff develop him.
It’s a creative move to keep Jerrett firmly within the organization, says Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony, and one that is still not that often seen.
“The Thunder is right at the forefront of it,” Givony said.
The downside for Jerrett is that he will be on a D-League contract this season and is not an NBA free agent (which he would have been if he had signed with the Thunder and been cut in training camp).
But Jerrett’s agreement not to sign a contract is a sign that he is welcoming the chance to keep developing within the well-respected Oklahoma City organization.
“A lot of players won’t agree to do that because he’s going to make D-League money,” Givony said. “But it’s a huge advantage for him because he gets to be developed by the best development team in the NBA. It’s like if he were still at Arizona, but he’ll get to play more, have good coaches and he gets paid and doesn’t have to go to school. He can focus on basketball.”
Arizona will leave after practicing today for its "road trip" -- a closed scrimmage on Saturday at Saint Mary's.
UA coaches and players can't discuss the scrimmage in advance under NCAA rules, but there are several advantages the Wildcats gain by giving up a second exhibition game (and the associated revenue) and paying to travel to the Bay area for a night:
-- They will face better competition than if they had an exhibition game, in which only non-Division I college teams can be played.
-- The Gaels have size, unlike Augustana (with the notable exception of Daniel Jensen).
-- The coaches involved can ask each other to run schemes that will test their own teams, and Saint Mary's is known for solid defensive teams under Randy Bennett.
-- The games can be stopped and started as coaches dictate to hammer home any instruction needed immediately.
-- BTW, the scrimmage is actually part of a "home and home" arrangement that will have Saint Mary's playing at Arizona before next season.
-- This season, the scrimmage also offers another chance to get used to the new officiating guidelines.
ESPN formally ranked Arizona at No. 5 in its preseason Top 25. The Wildcats picked up the No. 6 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll on Thursday.
In his analysis of the Wildcats, ESPN's Seth Greenberg raves about T.J. McConnell and Nick Johnson but expresses concern about Arizona's shooting.
Former UA guard Mustafa Shakur is headed back to Erie, Pa., for anther D-League season.
Recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer has swung back to picking Arizona as the leader to land top 2014 prospect Stanley Johnson over Kentucky.
Speaking of the Lexington-based Wildcats, Miller explained his longtime connection with John Calipari to Seth Davis.
Big Ten players had some suggestions on how to stop Michigan, which will host UA on Dec. 14.
UNLV's Dave Rice, who will visit McKale Center on Dec. 7, is planning to put more runnin' back in the Rebels starting tonight.
San Diego State didn't get any Top 25 votes but will have plenty of chances to prove itself, including Nov. 14 against UA.
Steve Alford's "quarterback," Kyle Anderson, looked pretty good in a UCLA exhibition.
Former UCLA commit Trevon Bluiett is likely to announce a new destination soon.