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NBA Combine 2018: Interviews & measurements under way, on-court action to begin Thursday afternoon

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Devonte' Graham promotional photo courtesy of @NBADraft and NBA.com.

Devonte' Graham promotional photo courtesy of @NBADraft and NBA.com. by Matt Tait

While Wednesday marked the first day of the NBA's pre-draft combine, it almost exclusively featured the off-the-court action at the five-day event that flies a bit under the radar in terms of media coverage.

From interviews with NBA team officials and photo shoots in front of the camera to player measurements, Wednesday's activity, which began early Wednesday afternoon and runs through the evening, was merely an orientation of sorts for the nearly 70 draft hopefuls who made the trip to Chicago this week for the combine.

The Kansas basketball program will be well represented throughout the week, with former Jayhawks Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman, along with current KU center Udoka Azubuike and never-was Jayhawk Billy Preston also at the showcase.

The action will pick up substantially throughout the day today, when the players run through shooting drills, athletic testing and live scrimmages in front of front office types and NBA coaches and scouts for much of the afternoon. The live action stuff will follow a second round of team interviews Thursday morning. Check ESPN2 and the WatchESPN app for coverage of the drills and scrimmages from 2-6 p.m.

Thursday is the day when most of the elite prospects who attended the combine will get their longest looks before moving on and paving the way for the players who are likely to be taken in the late-first and second round of the June 21 NBA Draft to take center stage.

Friday will feature more interviews, drills, testing and scrimmages and throughout the day and a meeting with representatives from the NBA's Players Association in the evening.

On Saturday and Sunday, it's more meetings with NBPA reps and the NBA's player development group along with medical testing for all combine participants who remain.

From there, the former Jayhawks and their peers will leave Chicago to return to their agents and trainers to prepare for team workouts that will take place during the next couple of weeks.

Graham will be one of the few players who will stick around The Windy City an extra day to attend a Chicago Bulls team workout on Monday.

Graham also will be one of those players who figures to really benefit from the off-the-court aspects of the combine as much as what he's able to do on the court.

“I've heard they ask you crazy questions,” said Graham while laughing about the memory of his former KU teammate, Frank Mason III, being asked last year how he would like to die. “But I feel like my personality and all the media training we did here will help me out.”

As for the physical aspects. People know Graham can shoot, they know he's tough, they know he's a natural-born leader and they know he now has true point guard skills. But the recent KU graduate from Raleigh, N.C., said recently that the combine could provide him the platform to flash a few elements of his game that NBA evaluators may not be aware of at this point.

“Some of the agility stuff,” he said. “People might not how quick you can move laterally and stuff like that. I mean, my (vertical jump) test might not be the best ever, but I still feel like just getting out there in front of the GMs and scouts and stuff will just help me.”

Watch Svi hit 13 3-pointers in a row during a light shoot-around Wednesday night:

None by Jonathan Givony

Watch Malik Newman fly high during the vertical test on Thursday:

None by NBA Draft

Comments

Matt Tait 1 week ago

Couple of reasons, Danny...

  1. He didn't come to Kansas.

  2. As the Yahoo story points out, nothing in that original story is all that surprising, even though the story is very thorough and well done. That's the way these things work and have worked for years now.

I realize it's interesting to KU fans given the comments made by Romeo's dad about not having to answer questions about the FBI/Adidas stuff, but, at least to date, they haven't had to answer them. So, as interesting as it may be, there's not a lot worth following up on there, at least from the perspective of a KU beat writer.

Thanks for checking in on it, though!

Danny Hernandez 1 week ago

Matt,

Thank You for replying.
As a Kansas fan, I was just a bit hurt by all the innuendo hurled at Kansas and our "lucky to have" coaching staff since many articles implied Kansas was not a victim, especially by the homer mu grad writing for yahoo.

Titus Canby 1 week ago

Danny, thanks for the link. This reinforces my opinion that these players have no business going to college. They're already pros. There's nothing wrong with that. I just wish they didn't make a sham out of my alma mater by referring to them as "student athletes."

And Matt, I love your "never-was Jayhawk" line. Sad and funny at the same time.

Matt Tait 1 week ago

Thanks. I'm right there with you. Really bummed we never got to see Billy play for KU. Think it would have been a lot of fun to watch him start out so green and just get better and better as the weeks passed.

Easy guy to root for and I keep finding myself thinking he's got a great shot to make a big splash in the NBA some day. Time will tell.

Kenny George 1 week ago

That link just shows how "dirty" college basketball currently is and has been for decades. Romeo's dad has been rolling in the mud with Adidas and yet calls KU out about our most recent allegations. I think it is newsworthy but I will leave it to our man Matt to discern what is important! Thanks Matt!

Matt Tait 1 week ago

You bet, Kenny! And thanks. Not saying the story isn't interesting or notable, just that, if you've been paying attention (which a lot of you have), there's just not that much that's all that surprising in there.

On to the next one!

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