Virginia's London Perrantes ready to follow in the mold of Justin Anderson

Virginia's London Perrantes ready to follow in the mold of Justin Anderson

CAMDEN, N.J. — In the last four seasons under Tony Bennett, it's been much of the same for Virginia basketball — 23 or more wins, a top-five NCAA Tournament seed and a postseason exit, all without making a trip to the Final Four.

But for what the Cavaliers have lacked in success, they've made up for with NBA talent. After producing just five draft picks since Ralph Sampson went No. 1 overall in 1983, Virginia has churned out a trio in the last three drafts, including current Sixer Justin Anderson and a potential NBA Rookie of the Year in Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon.

Now the mantle falls to London Perrantes, who got the chance to show off for the Sixers Friday morning with just six days until the 2017 NBA draft in Brooklyn. Although Perrantes isn't a fixture on many mock draft boards, he's made his mark as a defensive specialist in Charlottesville the last four years, and will very likely still be on the board when the Sixers have their last couple of picks at Nos. 46 and 50.

"Just coming into college, I was a guy that tried to get everyone involved," Perrantes said. "I just want to get out and help any team win. Whatever the team needs, I think I'll be able to do that, so whether that's a couple of minutes or just going hard in practice, I feel like I can go anywhere and be ready when my number's called."

With Virginia, the Los Angeles native was primarily a defensive specialist. He set a career high with 12.7 points per game as a senior, shooting just 41.4 percent from the field. However, he was also was the Cavaliers' best defender on a team that ranked second in the nation in adjusted defensive, according to basketball stathead Ken Pomeroy.

His numbers, however, compare somewhat to his most recent predecessors in Charlottesville. Brogdon was a slightly better scorer coming out of college, translating to a stellar 2016-17 campaign with the Bucks, whereas Anderson is bigger than Perrantes and maybe even a better defender.

But given his mixture of abilities on both ends of the floor, Perrantes could be a hybrid of the two, and projects as a fringe role player that still has room to grow as a professional.

"Once you get to the next level, you're not like Virginia where it's a slow pace," he said. "Just being able to defend and knock down open shots is what we do a lot of at Virginia, so just being able to translate that and then working on your game. You're just playing basketball — there's no more school, so you get to get better and do what you love to do."

With an interesting group of second-round prospects in Friday morning, including former ACC mates Davon Reed and Jamel Artis, Perrantes had plenty of opportunities to get the ball in hands and show the Sixers' brass why he's the next Virginia product who can make a splash in the association.

"A lot of it is the Virginia system. They're very defensive-focused and a slower-paced team, so offensively, it's easy to get hidden," Sixers senior director of basketball operations Vince Rozman said. "He's actually a really, really creative guy. He can make shots. ... He's interesting."

Outside of the smaller T.J. McConnell, who was in the gym for Friday's pre-draft workout along with Joel Embiid, the Sixers don't have much depth at the point guard position. Although Ben Simmons is likely to be the team's primary ballhandler next season, the Sixers could very much use a guy like Perrantes to take on the task of defending some of the Eastern Conference's best guards.

Given that head coach Brett Brown's team will still be seeing plenty of guys like Boston's Isaiah Thomas, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving and Washington's John Wall next season, a gritty, defensive-minded guard could have a huge impact — even in limited minutes.

After talking with Anderson and getting a chance to hit the floor in the City of Brotherly Love, Perrantes feels like the Sixers could be the right match.

"I've been [at Virginia] for four years and defense is my heart. That's what I do," Perrantes said. "To be able to make it at this next level, you have to be able to play defense as well as be a good offensive player, so that's just engrained in me. It's not going anywhere."

Josh Hart drafted in 1st round, goes to Lakers; undrafted Kris Jenkins reportedly joins Wizards

Josh Hart drafted in 1st round, goes to Lakers; undrafted Kris Jenkins reportedly joins Wizards

Josh Hart heard his name called, while Villanova teammate Kris Jenkins did not.

Hart snuck into the first round of Thursday night's NBA draft, going 30th overall to the Utah Jazz. However, the Wildcat is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers, via a trade.

While Jenkins went undrafted, it looks like he'll have a shot with an NBA team. Jenkins will join the Washington Wizards this offseason to compete for a roster spot, according to a report by's David Aldridge.

After winning the national title as a junior with Villanova, Hart collected plenty of accolades in a standout senior season. The 6-foot-5 wing was named a consensus first-team All-American, Big East Player of the Year and took home the Julius Erving award as the top small forward in the country.

For the 32-4 Wildcats, Hart, a Silver Spring, Maryland native, averaged 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game, while shooting 40.4 percent from three-point range.

"I'm my biggest critic," he said last week after a pre-draft workout for the Sixers. "I drive myself as much as I can. I demand perfection from myself."

As Hart travels west, Jenkins, on the other hand, will head home for his NBA opportunity. The 6-foot-6 forward, beloved for his buzzer-beating three-pointer to win Villanova its 2016 national championship, is from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He worked out for the Wizards in early June. He also worked out for the Sixers on Tuesday.

"It's a blessing," he said after his session with the Wizards, via the Washington Post. "You always root for the hometown team, you always want them to do well. Honestly it's humbling to be in this position, to grow up in this area, to have some games here and play college ball here and then come back and work out for the Wizards."

After flirting with the NBA draft process following their title-winning season, both Hart and Jenkins decided to return to school for their senior campaigns.

They both took to Twitter on Thursday night following the draft — Hart in excitement, Jenkins more in a humorous manner.

Sixers 'dug very deep' into Markelle Fultz's perceived weaknesses

Sixers 'dug very deep' into Markelle Fultz's perceived weaknesses

CAMDEN, N.J. — You don't have to do much research on Markelle Fultz to find his perceived shortcomings.

Washington finished 9-22 his only season there. Draft experts also questioned his effort, especially on the defensive end of the floor.

None of that concerned the Sixers when they made him the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft Thursday night (see story).

"One of the weaknesses was, 'Does he bring it every night defensively? Did he have that killer instinct?'" Sixers head coach Brett Brown said following the pick. "I think if you take a high character person and you take an athlete, you have the foundation to coach him to be an elite defender."

There isn't much question about Fultz's offensive game. The 19-year-old guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game in his only season with the Huskies. He also shot an impressive 41.3 percent from three-point range.

His skill set as a shooter and scorer seems to complement the skills of franchise centerpieces Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. With his selection, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo is hoping the Sixers can start to build a winning culture.

But does Fultz's nine-win season at Washington concern him at all?

"You look at every aspect of evaluating a prospect," Colangelo said. "We've dug very deep on this and we feel that regardless of whatever the performance of the University of Washington Huskies was last year, it's not relevant to who Markelle represents, what he represents as a player, and how he is going to fit in and help us turn this program around."

Fultz took an interesting path to being the No. 1 pick. He didn't make the varsity team at famed DeMatha High School in Maryland as a sophomore (see story). A growth spurt helped bring more attention to his game.

He chose Washington because of the relationship he had developed with its coaching staff. He also thought he'd have the opportunity to play with sophomores Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray. Instead, both players were surprise one-and-dones and Fultz was forced to carry the team on his shoulders.

"He wasn't always considered the best prospect, but he emerged and earned the right to be the best prospect," Colangelo said. "You're talking about a young man who goes to the University of Washington, didn't have great team success. Unfortunately, part of that may be personnel driven, part of that may be circumstantial.

"To do what he did at the level of the Pac-12 and to be able to average 23 points a game, six rebounds and six assists. You're talking, again, about great performance on the floor, a player that does so many different things and we believe someone that's going to help make his teammates better. "

Colangelo mentioned that Fultz "has the tools" to become an excellent defender. Fultz stands at 6-foot-4 with an impressive 6-foot-10 span. He also has plenty of athleticism and strength to compete defensively against NBA ones and twos.

Brown acknowledged that defense could be the biggest hole in Fultz's game, but feels like he could get the most out of Fultz on the defensive end.

"I think that down deep he understands the knock against him and I believe that when we get him with our program, he understands how we see the world here," Brown said. "It's gonna be an evolution, no doubt. But it's a willing defensive player and it's a willing athlete, a gifted athlete under a roof of a quality person. I think having those types of qualities lets you have a far better chance to mold him into the type of defensive player we need here."