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David Edole

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NBA decision for Georgia's Nic Claxton a win-win situation' - May 14, 2019

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By Marc Weiszer

A few NBA teams have already watched Nicolas Claxton (211-SF-99) up close since he declared for the draft.

The 6-foot-11, 220-pound Georgia sophomore wen through workouts with San Antonio, Boston and Charlotte. He also has lined up visits to do the same with Indiana and Brooklyn.

The widest exposure for Claxton comes this week when he's one of 66 players slated to be eyed by talent evaluators at the NBA combine in Chicago on Thursday and Friday.

'I think it's been a great opportunity for him to get feedback from the NBA and we'll see what happens,' said his father Charles Claxton, the former Georgia All-SEC center.

As NCAA rules now allow, Nicolas Claxton is using a certified agent in an advisory role as he faces a May 29 deadline to decide whether to stay in the draft or return to Georgia.

Charles Claxton didn't want to get into specifics about what kind of evaluations his son has heard from teams, but said there is interest.

He said 'strong first-round feedback,' would weigh heavily in keeping Claxton in the draft. First-round picks receive guaranteed contracts although second round selections increasingly are getting guaranteed money.

Some areas Claxton needs to improve on Claxton himself highlighted after Georgia's season came to and end.

'I think everyone knows he does need to get stronger,' Charles Claxton said,' and his shooting needs to be more consistent. I mean just overall he needs to get better as a basketball player. I think his best basketball is ahead of him. He's got a long way to go. He understands that and he puts the work in.'

Claxton and others at the combine will play five-on-five games and go through shooting, strength and agility drills and have team interviews.

His father hopes he puts on display 'just his versatility and if a GM can look into the future and not actually see what you see now, but see what you see in two years. Hopefully, he can display that because it's only going to get better.'

Claxton, who turned 20 in April, only had a handful of starts his freshmen season after arriving as a three-star prospect out of Greenville, S.C, but flashed plenty of upside while contributing nearly four points and four rebounds per game.

He flourished under first-year coach Tom Crean last season, leading Georgia in scoring at 13 points per game and rebounding with 8.6 and had 81 blocks, ranking 10th nationally in that category per game.

He should have more talent around him if he returns as a junior.

The Bulldogs have reeled in the nation's No. 9 recruiting class led by guard Anthony Edwards, who is viewed as a likely early NBA draft pick in 2020, as well as graduate transfer guard Donnell Gresham from Northeastern.

'It's a big factor,' his father said. 'As Coach Crean has said, while Nic was in school this last semester, he's helped recruit kids to Georgia. He loves Georgia. If he comes back, he's coming back to a good situation. Some kids have to leave because of issues with the coaches. Nicolas loves Coach Crean and he loves the guys that are coming back and loves the guys that we've signed.'

Recent NBA draft projections have Claxton going in the second round at No. 41 to Atlanta by ESPN's Jonathan Givony and at No. 26 to Cleveland in the first by Sam Vecenie of The Athletic.

'Right now, I'd say consensus is more that Claxton is an interesting early second round flier - with executives acknowledging that he has potential to rise as they get a chance to see him up close in workouts,' Vecenie wrote on April 30. 'I'm guessing that, at the end of the day, Claxton's combination of skills is too fascinating from a modern NBA perspective to pass up at the end of the first round.'

Claxton, a business major, is having success on and off the court at Georgia. He was one of two Georgia men's basketball players named to the recent SEC honor roll which covered the 2018 spring, summer and fall semesters.

'It's a win-win situation for Nicolas,' Charles Claxton said. 'He's a in great position. How many kids can go and test the waters, get invited to the combine and if it doesn't work out his way, he can come back back to school?'

The next two-plus weeks will determine which way things unfold for Claxton.

'It's a process,' his father said, 'and we're going to take advantage of the process and just make an informed decision at the end.'   

Pan American Games Draw LIMA, PERU - 3 hours ago
FIBA held the draw for groups for men's basketball of the Pan American Games in Lima 2019, leaving the Virgin Islands in group A with Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the United States. A select team of men's basketball standouts from the BIG EAST Conference will represent the United States at the 2019 Pan American Game while Puerto Rico will be sending their B team as their A team is set to play in the World Games. While Group B consists of Dominican Republic, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico. Pa...   [read more]

Claxton: I would love to play with UGA's incoming class - 2 days ago
By CHANCE LINTON Georgia forward Nicolas Claxton (211-SF-99) was on hand in Chicago last week for the 2019 NBA Draft Combine, but he's facing a major decision in the coming week. Claxton declared for the NBA Draft following a breakout sophomore season, but he still hasn't made a final decision on whether to return to Georgia for his junior year. The deadline for him to withdraw from the draft and retain his college eligibility is May 29. Ahead of the NBA Combine, he sat down with Draft...   [read more]

NBA Draft Combine Notebook: Nicolas Claxton Displays Versatility - 5 days ago
CHICAGO - The on-court portion of the draft combine wrapped up on Friday, with two more scrimmages giving prospects a chance to perform in front of the entire league. As a whole, five-on-five play was heavily watered down this year as a vast majority of potential first-round picks opted not to play, aiming to protect their draft stock. Regardless, there were a number of intriguing players who benefited this week. There were also some guys who struggled. Some of the more noteworthy perform...   [read more]

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