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Dribble Handoff: Which four-year college player in the 2020 NBA Draft class will have the best pro career?

The three biggest stars in the NBA Finals took three distinct paths to the NBA. LeBron James jumped straight to the professional ranks after high school, while Lakers teammate Anthony Davis played one season of college basketball at Kentucky. Both were No. 1 picks in their respective drafts after taking the quickest path available to the NBA (rules had changed to keep high school prospects from entering the draft by the time Davis came along).

But Miami Heat leader Jimmy Butler’s journey to the game’s highest level looked much different than the paths James and Davis took. He played at a junior college in Texas before transferring to Marquette, where he exhausted his collegiate eligibility before the Bulls selected him 30th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Several other NBA Finals contributors also exhausted their collegiate eligibility, including Jae Crowder, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn of the Heat. Same for Danny Green and Alex Caruso of the Lakers. Of the group, Butler was the only one taken in the first round in the NBA Draft. 

But he and the other former four-year college players prove that you can still find your way to the NBA spotlight even without one-and-done hype. With that in mind, our writers responded to the following prompt for this week’s dribble handoff: Which four-year college player in the 2020 NBA Draft class will have the best pro career? If you think it’s an easy question, go look at the 2020 prospect rankings. There are some intriguing choices but no obvious answer.

Cassius Winston, Michigan State

My favorite thing about this Heat team is how it’s made up of such an unlikely cast of characters while the Lakers’ starting lineup features the No 1. pick of the 2003 NBA Draft (LeBron James), the No. 1 pick of the 2004 NBA Draft (Dwight Howard) and the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NBA Draft (Anthony Davis) — all of whom combined to spend a total of one year in college. It’s quite the contrast. So I dig this question. And I suppose my pick to be the best four-year player from this draft class is former Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston.

Will he be a star?

Probably not.

But I have him going 28th to the Lakers in my latest mock draft. He’d be great in that spot considering Los Angeles could use another natural point guard on the roster — especially one who would serve as another high-level shooter next to The King. Winston made 43.0% of the 603 3-pointers he attempted in four years at Michigan State. So even if he’s not the best athlete, the quickest or the biggest, he should be able to provide quality minutes off the bench, right from the jump, and bury open jumpers whenever they’re presented, which is often for anybody lucky enough to play with LeBron James. — Gary Parrish

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Gallaudet University giving iPad Pro, Apple Pencil to students & staff

Apple has collaborated with education specialist Gallaudet University, to provide an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard Folio case to its students and staff, most of whom are deaf or hard of hearing.

Under an accessibility program announced in September, Gallaudet University students and faculty have now begun their new term with what Apple describes as a “welcome kit.” Alongside a sweatshirt and notebook with the university’s mascot on, every student and faculty member got a new iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard Folio.

“We are grateful to Apple for entering into this exciting collaboration with us, and for its support in so many other ways,” says Roberta J. Cordano, president of Gallaudet University, in a statement.

“While [this project called] Connected Gallaudet was in the works even before the novel coronavirus pandemic, it has become transformational for us as we moved entirely online for the fall semester,” continued Cordano, who has previously praised Tim Cook for Apple’s accessibility efforts.

The collaboration between Apple and Gallaudet University is to continue, with scholarships meaning students get the chance to participate in next year’s WWDC.

“It’s an honor to work with such an innovative institution as Gallaudet,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Markets, Apps, and Services. “It’s great to see technology have this kind of impact across an entire university while also bringing coding together with American Sign Language and creativity.”

That technology includes the Live Listen feature which allows students to leverage their iOS device’s microphones to hear better. “I can connect my hearing aid to my iPad using Bluetooth,” said fourth-year PhD student SaraBeth Sullivan.

“In my advanced statistics class,” she continues, “I was struggling with a piece of code that was giving me repeated errors. I was able to share my screen with my professor over Zoom and hand over controls to her.”

Screen sharing and the ability to exchange files via AirDrop, are part of the ways that Gallaudet University staff say they’ve been able to cope with the coronavirus situation. With much teaching and discussion done through sign language, simply finding ways to use unfamiliar pandemic terminology was a challenge.

“There were words and signs we were using for concepts most of us had never seen before,” says Dr. Julie A. Hochgesang, PhD. “I saw many videos and online written posts, and saw the different signs people were using. I was able to screen-record or take a screenshot of these examples and immediately mark them up and insert them in my Notes app or transfer them to my iMovie app to compile them.”

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