NBA Draft Combine hits Chicago: recap, synopsis, news and notes

NBA Draft Combine hits Chicago: recap, synopsis, news and notes

The NBA Draft Combine was held here in Chicago this past Thursday and Friday. Almost every player likely to get picked in the 2013  NBA Draft came to the Windy City for workouts in front of NBA scouts and interviews with the local and national media.

During the interview sessions, the draft combine reporter gets up close and personal with every former college basketball star soon to hear their name called on draft night. 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 here than at post-game press conferences. It's about the big picture here -- no time to waste on the boringly banal queries from newspaper beat writers forming out their pedestrian game recap articles.

On top of the media grilling, the draft combine includes tougher inquisitions from the league's teams. Four years ago, Arizona's Chase Budinger, picked 44th by the Detroit Pistons, currently balling for the Minnesota Timberwolves, said he faced a psychological aptitude test from our hometown Bulls.

He had to arrange blocks to match a picture they presented. A lot of reporters toss boring, easy softball questions ("if you could have dinner with anyone in history who would it be?" "what's your favorite late night snack?)", but the professionals on NBA payrolls pull no punches.

They're investing major paper, long dough in their selection. That means doing due diligence.

Even players' personal lives are in bounds. At the NBA Draft combine, teams want to know if players are single, married, have kids, baby mommas, baby momma drama etc. Multiple players said they had to reveal if they had a "friend with benefits."

Are we talking to a league front office? Or is this your prom date's father?

With all the measurements and personality vivisection, the NBA Draft combine is essentially a beauty pageant for boys. The 2013 NBA Draft is scheduled June 27th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
-Here are the odds for every NBA team in the lottery. They're chances of winning the lottery and assessing their team needs.
-Here’s a couple interesting tweets from Chicago Tribune college basketball writer Shannon Ryan regarding Illini star Brandon Paul, Marquette prospect Vander Blue and Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler.


Brandon Paul said his agent has also been in contact with the Bulls. As Brandon Paul leaves Illinois, his brother Darius Paul enters. We currently have BP projected 33rd overall, early second round to Cleveland. Here's a mock composite for Paul, a suburban Gurnee native.

-Who were the biggest stars of the draft combine? Probably former UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad (not to be confused with Muhammad Shabazz, the fake name Will Smith gave the cops one very special Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode and the Indiana Hoosiers Cody Zeller.

To quote Borat: “in my country, they would go crazy, for these two.” Zeller and Muhammad had the two biggest hordes of media members surrounding them.

In the case of Cody Zeller, that’s very ironic. Zeller is the WORST. SOUNDBITE. EVER. Well, #1 overall recruit Andrew Wiggins, now committed to the Kansas Jayhawks, could tie him.  A Zeller conversation, Wiggins quotes, absolute dead silence: all three of these things bring the same value-add to your article.

-With Shabazz Muhammad, well I’ll let SI sum it up:

And despite battling through a controversial freshman season at UCLA — one marred by accusations of selfishness, an NCAA suspension and a public dispute about his age — Muhammad came to the combine ready and willing to address any issues teams had with him head on.

“I love the interviews,” Muhammad said. “I knew there were going to be those questions. I wanted to get them out of the way. I was so happy to get to it. I was telling them everything, telling them the truth, letting them know I’m a good kid, I’m here to play basketball.”

“I’m 20 years old. I have my license. I never declared that I wasn’t 20. I don’t know what [caused him to be listed at 19]. If someone asked me, I’m 20. My license says I was born in 1992. I can’t deny it. I can’t say I’m 19 and someone looks at my license and say I’m 19 if I was born in ’92. Unless you can’t count, you know I’m 20.”

-Ohio State high-scoring but non-defending forward DeShaun Thomas refused the San Antonio Spurs, when they asked for his cell phone number. HA! Even draft combine prospects are bored of seeing the Spurs all the time in May and June. Still love this soundbite from Thomas' coach Thad Matta at the 2011 Big Ten Tournament: "we call him Eshaun, cuz there's no D."

-This draft, a whole number of guys could go first overall: Nerlens Noel, Trey Burke, Ben McLemore, Otto Porter. And who rounds out the top 5? Indiana Hoosiers Victor Oladipo? Maryland’s Alex Len? Muhammad? It’s a very unpredictable draft this year, and the draft combine did nothing to change that.

-Shane Larkin’s 44" vertical is the highest at the NBA Draft combine in 12 years. It’s the second highest in Draft combine history. You remember Shane Larkin, the former DePaul commit, Miami Hurricanes star and thorn in the Illini NCAA Tournament side.

-Pittsburgh big man Steven Adams should increase the New Zealand presence in the NBA.

-Here’s the list of all the former college basketball players who were invited to the NBA Draft combine. And here’s our latest 2013 NBA Mock Draft.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports He’s also an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter and Yardbarker

Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks), like him on Facebook

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