Since announcing on May 3 that he was hiring an agent and would not be returning to the Runnin’ Utes, Kyle Kuzma has received his degree from the U., thrown out the first pitch at a Utes baseball game (very low and outside), turned in one of the better performances of any prospect at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, and has worked out for five NBA teams in advance of the draft.
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Adam Zagoria: In addition to working out for Milwaukee, Chicago & Nets, UK G @Diallo1Hamidou worked out for Boston before the Combine, per league source.
In past years, the Kings have had trouble getting consideration from elite prospects, let alone an interview with a top tier player. That all seems to be changing. Not only did Markelle Fultz, the player most believe will go with the top overall pick, sit down with the Kings brass, Sacramento got the first crack at an interview with the guard from Washington. Perry, the team’s new executive vice president of basketball operations has ties to the Fultz camp, which is usually the way this all works.
Whether Jok did enough to impress the pro personnel at the camp and improve his stock for the June draft isn’t known. What also isn’t known, at least to many NBA officials who attended the camp, is that Jok participated under some extenuating circumstances. After arriving in Chicago on Monday, he immediately hit the books and studied for four exams in anthropology, sports business, human development and Swahili. He took two tests on Tuesday, one on Wednesday and the final one on Thursday. It meant he was up early morning and going to bed late at night.
HoopsHype asked a dozen NBA players – from rookies to veterans – about the most bizarre exchanges they had with a team at the combine or during one of their draft visits. The following are all real questions asked by teams: If you were the size of a pencil and stuck in a blender, how would you get out? Several players said they were asked this question. Apparently, this is a question that Google and other Silicon Valley companies have used during interviews, and at least one NBA team has started asking it as well. The idea is to get an understanding of the player’s thinking, creativity, problem-solving, etcetera.
What’s your favorite strain of weed? Four separate players say they were asked some variation of this question. Three were asked to specifically name their favorite strain, while another was just asked what kind of pot they liked. One player said he was asked, “Do you prefer to smoke with a bong or a joint?” The team is obviously trying to get the player to admit he smokes weed.
What drink do you order when you’re in the club? Much like the weed question, they’re trying to see if a player is into drinking and clubbing. (Keep in mind that many of these prospects aren’t 21 years old, so that’s another reason teams will ask this.)
Kennedy Meeks measured 6-10 1/4 with shoes with a wingspan of 7-1. He met only with the San Antonio Spurs at the combine, but expects to have some workouts coming up. “I didn’t have an agent until I got here, so it was kind of a late process,” he said of signing with agent Charles Briscoe.
Fran Fraschilla: Heard he was a great guy, but nobody impressed me more at the @NBADraft Combine than Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox. His charisma was off charts.
Michael Scotto: Several executives said Rawle Alkins played well at the NBA Draft Combine. He’s working on his dribble and 3PT shot.
Gonzaga center Zach Collins met with 13 teams at the NBA Combine, but it was his first meeting – with the Trail Blazers – that left an impression. “It was kind of funny because Portland actually just sent out their team psychologist, and no one else from the staff was there,’’ Collins said. “The lady gave me a computer and I took a personality test, kind of, and she just analyzed who I was as a person, and that was it.’’
“I’m just a regular guy who has an absolute obsession with the game of basketball, and a passion to play,’’ Collins said. “I’m not going to be satisfied once I get to the league. I want to be an All-Star. I want to win championships.’’
Thornwell met with at least 14 teams this past week, including San Antonio, Orlando, Miami, Brooklyn, Denver, Golden State, Milwaukee, Detroit, Portland, Atlanta and Dallas. He knew of at least one private workout scheduled with the Trail Blazers.
Baylor big man Jonathan Motley was star struck when the Miami Heat contingent walked into the room for his interview this week at the NBA Draft Combine. “I just was really honored that I felt important enough to have Pat Riley and (Erik) Spoelstra in the room,” said the 6-foot-10 Motley, who expects to set up a private workout in Miami.
The Heat – and the rest of the league – wrapped up their interviews Friday as the combine winds down. In all, Miami met with 20 players including Florida small forward Devin Robinson on Friday and two players whose seasons were cut short because of ACL tears – small forward OG Anunoby of Indiana and power forward Chris Boucher of Oregon.
Nick Friedell: Interesting note: DeAaron Fox said spoke to the Bulls’ front office during his time at the Combine.
Marc Berman: D’Aaron Fox said “cool” meeting Phil. “He was more like staring at me, trying to feel me out.” He didn’t mention triangle.
Al Iannazzone: De’Aaron Fox on triangle: “I don’t know too much about the triangle. Everyone says it’s hard to learn.” But he said he’d learn it quickly.
Tania Ganguli: De’Aaron Fox on why one needs good PG in Pacific div: “You’re playing against Chris Paul 4 times, Steph Curry 4, D’Angelo Russell 4 times.”
Tania Ganguli: De’Aaron Fox said the Lakers probably had the fewest people in the room during their meeting. Said he would love to have Magic as a mentor.
Jessica Camerato: Fox met with the Sixers today, said he could see himself fitting in with Simmons and Embiid on the court.
Adam Zagoria: De’Aaron Fox says he’d love to play with Kristaps Porzingis with the #Knicks and would embrace the pressure of NYC
Jason Quick: First team Gonzaga big man Zach Collins met with at NBA Combine: Portland. Said they gave him a computer and had him take personality test
Vincent Ellis: Gonzaga center Zach Collins has met with the #Pistons. Early word at #NBACombine is he won’t be available at 12.
Tania Ganguli: Indiana forward OG Anunoby met with the Lakers at the combine. Said Magic Johnson was energetic. There was lots of talk of defense.
The Orlando Magic interviewed University of Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox on Friday at the NBA Draft Combine.
On Friday, the Magic also interviewed Oregon wing Dillon Brooks, Wisconsin power forward Nigel Hayes, Maryland wing Justin Jackson, Iowa State point guard Monte Morris and Xavier point guard Edmond Sumner.
Adam Zagoria: Duke’s Frank Jackson told me he’s met with Boston, San Antonio, Charlotte, Utah, New Orleans, Detroit, Sacramento & the Knicks. Story coming
Vincent Ellis: UCLA C Ike Anigbogu said his very first meeting at the combine was with the #Pistons. He says he felt right at ease.
Manny Navarro: Arizona point guard Kobi Simmons and and Colorado guard Derrick White Jr. said they interviewed with #Heat No word on future workouts
Vincent Ellis: Michigan’s D.J. Wilson says he interviewed with the #Pistons. Injured quad on 1st day of workouts with #Spurs. Also worked out for #Jazz.
Josh Robbins: Wisconsin power forward Nigel Hayes said he interviewed with the Orlando Magic today.
Adam Zagoria: Isaiah Briscoe has only met with the Heat. Expects more workouts coming.
Manny Navarro: Can confirm 2 more #Heat interviews here at combine: Baylor PF/C Johnathan Motley and Iowa State PG Monte Morris. Workouts coming they say
Rod Beard: #Michigan forward D.J. Wilson said he interviewed with the #Pistons.
Adam Zagoria: Kennedy Meeks says he’s only met with the Spurs.
Jessica Camerato: N.C. State center Omer Yurtseven met with the Sixers at the combine.
Their fact-finding began in earnest this week in Chicago. As of Thursday afternoon, the Mavericks had interviews with 16 players, including Creighton’s Justin Patton, Baylor’s Jonathan Motley, SMU’s Semi Ojeleye and Florida State’s Dwayne Bacon.
Eddie Sefko: Baylor’s Jonathan Motley measured in just under 6-9 with shoes but had 7-4 wing span. Early word is he has impressed people in one-on-ones
The Orlando Magic interviewed North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson, Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans, Utah power forward Kyle Kuzma and Michigan power forward D.J. Wilson among others Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine.
Justin Jackson would be a solid option for the Sixers. Mocks drafts have the North Carolina swingman going anywhere from No. 10 to No. 27. He was aware of the possible scenario when he met with the Sixers Thursday morning at the NBA draft combine. By the end of the interview, both sides were impressed. “It was really good,” Jackson said. “They were a great group of men. . . . It was kind of back and forth. So it was a good time.”
CSNChicago.com spoke to several league executives and scouts in attendance, and while the opinions varied, they certainly understood the position players — or more specifically, their agents are in, at least in terms of the workouts. “I want to see guys compete,” an Eastern Conference scout said. “Even if he misses every shot, going against a guy who’s a mid-round pick and watching how they handle the competition tells you part of their mental makeup. Their body of work won’t be discounted over two days here.”
A Western Conference President agreed but said if he had a son or a client who’s slated in the top 5, he would advise him against coming to the combine. “It can’t do anything but cost you money. That’s the honest truth,” he said. “We have better just done all of our homework when it comes to making the right selection. It’s on us.”
“Tell me one thing they get out of it?” queried a Western Conference executive. “If I was an agent, and I have a guy like Josh Jackson (Kansas), what good is it that Josh Jackson comes in? He’s gonna go in the top 2-3 anyways. He’s not gonna play. None of them are gonna play. He’s gonna interview where he’s (likely) gonna go.”
“He may be right,” Calipari said of Durant’s comments about bypassing the NBA draft combine. “For the guys, if you think there’s anything here that would hurt you, don’t come. If there’s anything here that would help you, come. If you have to play to help yourself, come. If it doesn’t help you playing then don’t play.
John Calipari: “This is for these kids. My job is to protect my guys. The job of these NBA teams is to get as much information as they can to make a great pick, so they would like to see every one of them play five-on-five, do all of … it’s not the way it is for these kids.”
College basketball’s National Player of the Year Frank Mason III is at the NBA combine this week. During a 5-on-5 drill, he caught up with ESPN’s Jeff Goodman to speak about the combine experience. Goodman asked Mason what was the weirdest question he got during the interview process, and things turned dark rather quickly. He was asked to choose how he’d like to die.
Mason said: “I said in my sleep because I wouldn’t want to suffer from any pain or anything. So I’d just rather be sleeping around my son and my family.”
Michael Scotto: Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky) says he’s met with 10 teams, including the Brooklyn Nets. Diallo has NOT met with the New York Knicks as of now.
Jessica Camerato: PJ Dozier met with the Sixers.
Sean Deveney: Hamidou Diallo on his 44.5 inch vertical: “I didn’t know it was that high until someone told me”
Rod Beard: Wake Forest big man John Collins and Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell said they are schedule to meet with the #Pistons.
Josh Robbins: FSU guard Dwayne Bacon said Portland, Indiana, OKC and New Orleans are among the 9 teams that have interviewed him. He has 3 more tomorrow.
Manny Navarro: #Gators forward Devin Robinson (6-7) said he has a meeting with #Heat scheduled for tomorrow morning
Nick Friedell: UCLA’s TJ Leaf says he has not met with the Bulls yet, but expects to during his time in Chicago.
Rod Beard: NBA announces that #Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox will not be available to the media today. Most teams wouldn’t be able to draft him anyway.
Brian Seltzer: Cal’s Ivan Rabb said that in meeting with Sixers, it stood out to him that team showed him clips, positive and negative, from career. pic.twitter.com/ua9K88HL5b
Vincent Ellis: Justin Jackson says he thinks he’s meeting with #Pistons tomorrow. Sweet shooter from UNC.
Jessica Camerato: Center Jonathan Jeanne met with the Sixers.
Nick Friedell: Creighton’s Justin Patton said he was surprised by how much the Bulls knew about him during his meeting with the team.
Jessica Camerato: Justin Patton plans to meet with the Sixers tomorrow.
Rod Beard: #Michigan’s Moritz Wagner said he’s worked out for Utah and OKC and met with #Pistons, #TWolves and #Blazers. #NBAdraftcombine
Adam Zagoria: Steve Mills and Allan Houston part of the Knicks crew here at the Combine pic.twitter.com/f0SRNMVtV7
Tania Ganguli: Luke Walton, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka arrived a bit ago to the gym for the combine. Former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is also here.
Chris Vivlamore: Hawks assistant GM Jeff Peterson and assistant coaches Charles Lee and Ben Sullivan at NBA Draft Combine as shown on ESPN.
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November 23, 2017 | 2:19 am EST Update
After voicing his displeasure, Lillard was well aware his criticism would draw the ire of the league office and perhaps result in a fine. But he didn’t seem to care. When his postgame interview was over, he turned to CJ McCollum at the locker next to him and offered the following: “Go ahead and fine me,” he said. “I’ve got the check ready to go.”
Lillard scored 30 points, making 11 of 27 field goals, in the defeat. But despite his high volume of field goals, he attempted only three free throws, a fact that left him incredulous as he left Wells Fargo Center. “I got to the rim a lot,” Lillard said. “And I’m getting smacked in my head, smacked on my shooting hand when I’m going to the basket. Guys (are) knocking me to the ground every other play. Like hard. And (officials) know I’m trying to score. It’s impossible for me to shoot two or three free throws. It’s impossible. As much as I got to the rim and as much as they know that I’m trying to score, it’s impossible for me to get the (crap) beat out of me as often as I do.”
When asked if he felt he had earned the right to get the benefit of the doubt from officials at this stage of his career, Lillard scoffed. He said a foul is a foul, no matter who you are, and he simply wants officials to do their jobs. “I don’t want to look at it like, I’m this person or I’m that (so) you’re supposed to call these fouls,” he said. “I think a foul is a foul. I know it’s tough. They’ve got a tough job, man. But I’m not one of these guys out here trying to sell them on every call … I’m playing to score the ball. I ain’t trying to be out here hitting the ground every other play, because that’s not what I’m going out here trying to do. I’m not going to be falling out the air to get two free throws and hitting the ground the way I’m hitting the ground. I’m getting hit. I don’t want to keep doing it.”
The Sixers (10-7) scored the game’s first 16 points en route to their 101-81 decision Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center. The Blazers (10-8) posted season lows in total points and field-goal percentage (33.7). The Sixers allowed their lowest point total this season. “I thought our offense was a C-minus,” Brown said. “I thought our defense was an A, and we are looking for two As.” But he’s still going to cherish this victory. “I thought at times our offense was sloppy,” Brown said. “But we beat the fourth-best team in the West by 20 points. I’m greedy, but I ain’t stupid.”
Westbrook led the Thunder with 34 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Durant finished with 21 points and five rebounds. First, Durant and Westbrook appeared to exchange some words during the second quarter of OKC and Golden State’s first meeting of this season. After Westbrook forced a turnover, he was shown on the broadcast saying something as Durant walked away and laughed. Per reporters at the game, the Thunder guard made KD laugh by shouting or shaking his head “No” at the crowd.
Late in the second quarter, Westbrook denied a post entry into Durant and the ball sailed out of bounds. Westbrook turned to the Warriors’ bench and yelled, “No!” Durant pointed at Westbrook while just smiling. Westbrook was then fouled on the other end by Draymond Green. Green didn’t like the call, and he began clapping in the vicinity of Westbrook, and the reigning MVP began clapping back at him. The two had a few words before Westbrook went to the foul line to take his shots.
Halfway in, Westbrook was guarding Durant on the right wing and he almost stole the ball, slapping it out of bounds. The two began jawing at one another and inching closer. Soon, they were forehead to forehead, talking trash. Durant was seen saying, “You’re a p—y.” Westbrook responded, “You’re soft.”