With the NBA Draft Combine rolling through Chicago this week, you probably saw a ton of very tall young men strolling down Michigan Avenue. Or at least more near-seven-footers than usual; especially on the Magnificent Mile, where the draft combine’s media activities were held. No doubt the star of this year’s session is Anthony Davis, the Chicago product who dominated for the national champion Kentucky Wildcats.
The man with the unibrow took home all the major individual college basketball awards, and will soon go #1 overall to the New Orleans Hornets. During today’s interview sessions, a draft combine reporter gets up close and personal with pretty much every college basketball star soon to be drafted on June 28th.
Each player gets his own table in the conference room and journalists rotate like speed daters to obtain quality face time with everyone. Conversation is much more in-depth than post-game press conferences. It’s about the big picture here — no time to waste on the boringly banal queries from newspaper beat writers.
The biggest media swarms were (expectedly) around Davis, and his teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a possible #2 overall pick headed to the Charlotte Bobcats. With both a ton of local and national media in town for this event, both guys had a media swarm around them “I like Pippen, I like Pippen’s game a lot” said Kidd-Gilchrist of the player comparisons he’s drawn. Yes, many have compared MKG to the Michael Jordan running mate on the Bulls championships teams from the 1990s.
“I’m only 18, so it’s old school to me,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. Don’t you feel old now after reading this.
On top of the media grilling, NBA prospects face tougher inquisitions from the teams themselves. It’s like a conversation with your prom date’s father. This whole process comes about when the NBA collects feedback from the league’s scouts and personnel, and decides which 50-60 prospects gauge the most interest.
The elite prospects are then invited to run work out, which includes drills and three-man weaves (this part is closed to the media). They also take more measurements than a Playboy Playmate, such as wingspan, vertical reach, height and weight (with and without shoes). This male version of a beauty pageant can be stressful, but also fun for the players.
So how does a prospect get through all of it?
“Find out what you do well and do it to the best of your abilities,” said former Marquette guard/forward Jae Crowder, projected #37 overall in an NBA Mock Draft. Crowder is following the advice of Marquette grad Jimmy Butler, who was drafted by the Bulls last season.
Crowder has the advantage of leaning on the advice of Butler who went through the process last season; and teammate Darius Johnson Odom, who is going through this with him. Having other Marquette Golden Eagles here with him gives him proper perspective. So who will the Chicago Bulls be taking?
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.