Former Hopkins High star Zeke Nnaji declared for the NBA draft after a strong freshman season at Arizona.

“After much prayer and deliberation with my family, I have decided to make myself available for the 2020 NBA draft,” Nnaji tweeted Tuesday.

Nnaji didn’t arrive in Tucson with the same hype as fellow freshmen Nico Mannion and Josh Green, but he was arguably the best player of the three during the 2019-20 season for the Wildcats.

The 6-11 forward dominated at times, averaging 16.1 points and 8.6 rebounds while shooting 57% from the field. Nnaji was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection.

He is projected to be selected late in the first round or early in the second round of the NBA draft.

Nnaji is the older brother of 6-foot-4 Hopkins star Maya Nnaji, who just finished her sophomore season and is viewed as one of the top high school girls' post players in the nation.

Etc.

• Four coaches from Minnesota colleges were among the nine named as finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award, given annually to the top coach in Division I men’s hockey by the American Hockey Coaches Association. Minnesota State Mankato’s Mike Hastings, the Gophers’ Bob Motzko, Minnesota Duluth’s Scott Sandelin and Bemidji State’s Tom Serratore were named finalists. The others in the mix are North Dakota’s Brad Berry, Maine’s Red Gendron, American International’s Eric Lang, Arizona State’s Greg Powers and Cornell’s Mike Schafer.

• Gophers utility player Natalie DenHartog, pitcher Amber Fiser and infielder MaKenna Partain were named by Softball America to its Shortened Season Top 100. DenHartog was ranked No. 12, Fiser at 44 and Partain at 53.

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