Welcome to the Music City Hoops Report.
The Music City Sports Report is pivoting.
There are simply too many sports in town for one reporter with a full-time day job and several side gigs to keep up with. That’s why I’ve decided to re-brand the newsletter to the Music City Hoops Report, just in time for the beginning of high school and college basketball season.
You’ll still receive a (roughly) weekly newsletter, but now with the focus on the four Division I basketball programs in Nashville (Vanderbilt, Belmont, Tennessee State, Lipscomb), the thriving local preps scene, the Memphis Grizzlies, the other eight DI schools across the state, and any local products hooping it up in college or the pros.
With all of that out of the way, let’s recap last night’s NBA Draft from a Tennessee perspective:
This year’s draft wasn’t quite as much of a local success as it was last year, but Nashville did earn its highest draft pick ever (yes, above Ron Mercer and Brandan Wright) as former Ensworth star James Wiseman was drafted second overall to the Golden State Warriors. The big man transferred to East High School in Memphis before going on to play just three games at the collegiate level for the Memphis Tigers due to a fairly bogus NCAA ruling.
Vanderbilt had a couple of players selected as Aaron Nesmith, a 3-and-D prototype, landed with the Boston Celtics at 14th overall and Saben Lee, in somewhat of a surprise, went to the Utah Jazz with pick 38. Vanderbilt is somehow the only team to have a lottery pick in each of the last two seasons.
Wiseman’s short-lived Memphis teammate Precious Achiuwa, the reigning AAC Player of the Year, was taken 20th by the Miami Heat who are fresh off of an NBA Finals appearance.
The Grizzlies continued to be the darlings of #DraftTwitter by taking TCU’s Desmond Bane and Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman (a former teammate of Jaren Jackson Jr) 30th and 35th, respectively. They also signed undrafted players Killian Tillie out of Gonzaga (a legit first-round talent prior to injuries) and Sean McDermott out of Butler to two-way deals.
Nashville is being considered as a temporary home for the Toronto Raptors for the upcoming NBA season. We will have MUCH more on this if this comes to fruition.
Former UT guard Josh Richardson is leaving the Philadelphia 76ers and is headed to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Seth Curry. Former TSU Forward Robert Covington was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Portland Trail Blazers for Trevor Ariza and a couple of first-round picks.
Speaking of Covington, huge shoutout to him for funding a new practice facility for the basketball programs at TSU.
RIP to UT-Martin MBB head coach Anthony Stewart who was found dead on Sunday. Stewart’s son Parker was an upcoming junior at UTM.
A fun story in the Commerical Appeal about Ja Morant helped Memphis native and Dayton star Jalen Crutcher during a tough offseason.
It’s going to be an uncertain year in college basketball, to say the least. Most of the local programs have only released their conference slates officially, but one nonconference thing we do know for sure: there will only be one Battle of the Boulevard this year.
A number of local prospects announced their decision for the next level on Signing Day, while the local universities also added their new classes.
I spoke with Jamal Richardson about All-Around Game, the Brentwood-based company that he and his cousin Spencer founded. AAG is making waves all throughout the Nashville basketball scene, from newcomers all the way up through a slew of pro clients. The duo gathered all of the local NBA-level players for one final “pro run” before the new NBA season starts.