Nick Ward Should Stick Around

Nick Ward Should Stick Around

Crowley Sullivan

Nick Ward Should Stick Around

Spartan big man would be wise to consider coming back to East Lansing for another season of seasoning.

Contact @crowleysullivan

The newspaper sports people appear to be flummoxed and maybe flustered about the fact that Michigan State power forward Nick Ward is not on the list of invitees for the NBA Combine.

Ward declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft but did not hire an agent in order to keep the option of returning to Michigan State open.

Since I know that Nick Ward is an avid SpartansWire reader, I’ll offer him the counsel he seeks from me:

Stay put.

We don’t need to turn this into another Miles Bridges thing – but let’s celebrate Nick Ward, let’s encourage Nick Ward, and let’s point out the obvious to Nick Ward.

Nick Ward has a shot at having a nice career in the NBA career.  But he still has a ways to go before he’s ready.

After two full seasons as a Spartan, Ward’s numbers look like this:

Games Played – 70

Games started – 55

Minutes per game – 19.4

Points per game – 13.1

Field goal percentage – .617

Rebounds per game – 6.8

Those are very solid numbers.

On a piece of paper, Nick Ward looks like a guy who might be a potential pre-season All Big Ten pick if he was about to enter his junior season.

Spartans would have loved to have seen Ward become more of a powerful and potent presence in the paint, despite recognizing the solid numbers.

And even though nobody plays defense in the NBA, most Spartans (including Ward) would say that there were times when he wasn’t able to lock down properly down low on defense and that might have led to him garnering fewer minutes as the season progressed.

Ward certainly – like any regular, competitive guy – probably isn’t happy about not being invited to the NBA Combine.

I’m sure there will be all sorts of treats at the NBA Combine – tables full of every flavor of Gatorade, possible legal “prizes” that are handed out in gym bags that include things like packages of Skittles or Starburst, maybe a NBA #1 foam finger, possibly a towel with a Progressive Insurance logo emblazoned on it, maybe a 12-pack of Five Hour Energy Drink, perhaps a Starbucks coupon and another Starbucks certificate that says that the manager of the Starbucks cannot arrest the man for simply sitting in a Starbucks while waiting for a friend to arrive.

But, as hard as it might be for Nick Ward to hear, he should stay right where he is and commit himself to having a really strong junior season as a Spartan.

For one thing, if Miles Bridges can come back for another year, Nick Ward can too.

But the reality is that Nick Ward probably knew, not-so-deep-down, that he could use another year of seasoning when he made the smart decision to not hire an agent.

He’s tested the waters a bit and he’s getting the answer he might not want to hear but the answer that is best for him.

Come on back for another season, for another year of living like a college kid, for another shot at going deeper into the NCAA Tournament, and another year of making sure you’re in a position to really benefit as much as possible from going into the NBA.

Between now and next year’s NBA Draft, lay off the crab rangoon at Harrison Roadhouse, lay off everything at El Azteco, thank the Lord that Bilbo’s isn’t around any more, keep yourself far, far away from the MSU Dairy Shop Ice Cream selections.

Stick around, Nick.

And enjoy yourself.

A year from now, you’ll be one of the truly big boys.

And the collection of treats in next year’s NBA Combine gift bags are rumored to include diamonds, first edition copies of The Lord of the Rings books, and vintage VHS tapes of the The Empire Strikes Back.

Report: MSU’s Ward, UM’s Matthews not on Combine list

Michigan’s Charles Matthews and Michigan State’s Nick Ward apparently didn’t make the cut.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Sam Charania, Matthews and Ward’s names weren’t on the NBA Draft Combine list that was sent out to all 30 teams. A copy of the list was obtained by Yahoo! Sports on Friday.

The report suggests that Matthews wasn’t invited to Chicago after initial reports surfaced earlier this week that he and teammate Moritz Wagner received invitations to the annual pre-draft event, which will be held from May 16-20.

Matthews and Ward declared for the draft without hiring an agent, and are still able to do workouts with individual teams. They will have until May 30 to decide whether they want to return to school.

Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., who are projected to be first-round picks, and Wagner, who is projected to be an early-to-mid second-round pick, have all hired agents and were on the list.

Georgia’s Yante Maten (Bloomfield Hills) and Saginaw’s Brian Bowen will also be among the 69 players who will attend the combine.

The NBA Draft is June 21.

Here’s the full NBA Draft Combine list, according to Yahoo!

NBA Combine invitations

Rawle Alkins

Grayson Allen

Kostas Antetokounmpo

Udoka Azubuike

Marvin Bagley III

Mohamed Bamba

Jaylen Barford

Keita Bates-Diop

Tyus Battle

Brian Bowen II

Mikal Bridges

Miles Bridges

Bruce Brown Jr.

Troy Brown Jr.

Jalen Brunson

Tony Carr

Jevon Carter

Wendell Carter

Hamidou Diallo

Donte DiVincenzo

Trevon Duval

Jacob Evans

Bruno Fernando

Melvin Frazier Jr.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Devonte Graham

Devon Hall

Jaylen Hands

Kevin Hervey

Aaron Holiday

Kevin Huerter

Chandler Hutchison

Jaren Jackson Jr.

Justin Jackson

Alize Johnson

George King

Kevin Knox

Sagaba Konate

Caleb Martin

Cody Martin

Yante Maten

Brandon McCoy

De’Anthony Melton

Chimezie Metu

Shake Milton

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

Malik Newman

Josh Okogie

Jontay Porter

Michael Porter Jr.

Billy Preston

Jerome Robinson

Mitchell Robinson

Collin Sexton

Landry Shamet

Anfernee Simons

Zhaire Smith

Omari Spellman

Khyri Thomas

Gary Trent Jr.

Allonzo Trier

Jarred Vanderbilt

Moritz Wagner

Lonnie Walker

PJ Washington

Austin Wiley

Kris Wilkes

Kenrich Williams

Trae Young

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