Today is Day 1 of the 2012 NBA Draft Combine. 60 of the top prospects for the NBA Draft later this month are in Chicago at the University of Illinois-Chicago to show off their physical skills to the top decision makers in the NBA.
Luckily for us, the nice folks at ESPN are televising four hours of the event on ESPNU today and tomorrow, so we have an opportunity to get some insight. Ryen Rusillo will be hosting with Jay Williams, Fran Fraschilla, Andy Katz, Chad Ford, and Tom Penn along for the ride. If we're really lucky, we'll get to see Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom start their rise into the first round of the Draft.
I'm going to live blog the broadcast for you today and if it's interesting enough, we'll do it again tomorrow. So let's see what happens! Hit the jump and we'll get started.
8:45 am Central: Yep, not on TV yet. We'll be back at the top of the hour.
9:00: And we are underway!
9:03: Chad Ford has a doctorate from Georgetown?
9:06: Point guards out on the floor doing a ball handling drill. Nothing terribly interesting, although I'm sure that Jim Rutledge is SUPER excited to get even a glimpse of Jordan Taylor out there. The announcing crew is undergoing a MASSIVE discussion of whether or not Kendall Marshall is good at basketball.
9:10: Oh, good. video clips of Marshall. That's absolutely what I tuned in to watch. Nicely done, ESPNU. By the way, Marge, I was being sarcastic.
9:15: And Jordan Taylor just hacked a guy on a transition drill.
9:17: Ok, ESPNU goes to a clip package of Scott Machado while the players get instruction on what drill is coming up next. That makes more sense than cutting to packages during drills. Jay Williams says that Jordan Taylor has "old man's game," referring to that he does nothing fast. I have no idea if that's a compliment, but I'm pretty sure it just means that Bo Ryan like to play in a cryogenic state.
9:20: Chad Ford: "Tony Wroten can't shoot the basketball at all." Harsh, dude. We go to commercial 20 minutes in. I can deal with breaks every 20 minutes.
9:25: I don't think you can use the word "Kentucky" and the phrase "elusive national championship" in the same sentence, but Ryen Rusillo just did.
9:26: Jay Williams said the hardest thing he had to do as a rookie was tell Jalen Rose what to do and Williams makes a big deal out of the fact that Rose was making $15 million. I think that had less to do with he was making a ton of money and more to do with the fact that HE'S JALEN ROSE.
9:32: So much for commercials every 20 minutes. I'd have more to share about what's happening on the court, but half the time, ESPNU takes a head and shoulders closeup of the player that the commentators (who have their back to the court, by the way) are talking about. On top of that, there aren't any Big East guys in this group, so I'm stuck making jokes about Jordan Taylor.
9:38: A close up of Sam Cassell. Well used time, ESPNU. Oh, good, he's wired up, too. FANTASTIC.
9:52: Wroten shot FIFTY-EIGHT percent from the free throw line? As a PG? YIKES.
9:54: I know it's possible, but it's still weird to see 53 seconds on a shot clock. Fran Fraschilla compares Wroten's shot to Tom Penn's golf swing. This is going to be a long 3 hours.
9:57: The number of international players declaring for the draft has fallen each of the last 3 years, from 29 in 2008 down to just 17 this year. Tom Penn is explaining the "draft and stash" concept for international players, which is why any underclassman declaring for the draft without a guarantee of going in the first round is out of his mind.
10:03: 4 of Chad Ford's top 5 SGs aren't participating in the drills. But DJO is.
10:05: Jeremy Lamb says teams want to see him compete and see his motor at the combine, but he's not participating today. Someone's making an idiot decision here, and I don't think it's Lamb, because this interview sucks.
10:07: Jeff Goodman says that Buzz is floating around the UIC gym somewhere.
10:09: Transition drills, and DJO gets out in front of everyone for a layup going maybe half speed.
10:16: DJO goes 1/2 on a 15 foot pull up jumper drill. Drains his first pull up three attempt. I'd tell you about more of his attempts, but interviewing Marquis Teague was more important.
10:19: DJO hits 5 of 7 spot up three point attempts, with both misses coming from the corner. I missed half of his attempts because ESPNU was showing a nice closeup of Sam Cassell shouting generic encouragement to him. Look, I get why you mic up Cassell. But you're televising the frigging combine. SHOW THE PLAYERS IN THE COMBINE.
Never seen anyone talk more in the middle of a shooting drill than Darius Johnson-Odom.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) June 7, 2012
10:29: ESPN finishes cutting around the room to various NBA bigwigs and showing graphics of projected top ten picks to see DJO miss two free throws. Whoops.
10:33: DJO on a defensive drill. Ball kicks back out, but the guy immediately passes to the wing, and DJO doesn't even take a step towards the kickout and goes straight to the potential three point shooter. Ends up forcing a missed floater in the lane.
10:41: OH GOOD, AN INTERVIEW WITH DANNY AINGE ABOUT THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS.
10:54: An interview with DJO and Buzz! And of course, Buzz is wearing a ridiculously patterned shirt.
10:56: Katz asks DJO about how competitive practices at Marquette were helpful. Do other teams NOT have competitive practices? After the interview, Jae ends up right in the same corner where DJO is and ESPNU shows a nice extended clip of DJO getting in Jae's ear to motivate him.
10:58: Jae gets a nice long feature spot, including a video package. Fran Fraschilla tells everyone that if you take a guy from Marquette, you're going to get a hard worker. Chad Ford points out Jae's height.
11:02: Moe Harkless throws a terrible alley oop attempt in a transition drill. Don't know what you're doing there, bro.
11:09: Look, I get going two windows on an interview with Avery Johnson. I *don't* understand going two windows for commentary from the desk. I don't care about what the desk guys look like. I really don't care about Avery Johnson either, but I get why you do it. I'm here to watch the combine. Please let me watch the combine.
11:11: They make a big deal about how Harrison Barnes has less explosion when he pivots off his right foot. [opens up dictionary, finds this video segment next to the definition of nitpicking] Oh, and by the way? Barnes isn't participating today.
11:23: Harkless makes Fraschilla's Top 5 undervalued prospects along with Terrence Ross, Jared Cunningham, Andrew Nicholson and Royce White.
11:27: Bobcats GM Rich Cho wearing a white polo shirt with a small Jordan logo and a HUGE 23 on the front. What a dick of a boss Michael Jordan is.
11:29: Oh, really? The 7-59 Bobcats have the worst roster in the NBA? I wouldn't have guessed.
11:34: Listed as a positive for Will Barton: Range. Listed as a negative for Will Barton: Inconsistent shot selection. But he has such great range!
11:37: Jae makes 8 of 9 mid range jumpers that ESPNU shows, alternating between the elbow and the baseline, with the miss coming on the baseline.
11:40: Jae makes 6 of 7 elbow jumpers, alternating back and forth.
11:42: Jae makes 2 of 6 going between the baseline and elbow again, this time on the right side. That was the very last thing that the small forwards are going to do, so I don't know if it's because Jae was fatigued or if he's just better on the left.
11:47: Highlight package for Hollis Thompson. Do they have to show every Big East player doing good things against Marquette? Wait. This is still small forwards. RYEN RUSILLO LIED TO ME. Also, how did I miss Thompson on the SF list at the start of this?
11:53: Hey, kids! It's Kevin Jones! I wonder if he's going to disappear when it's important again.
12:03: This just in: Power forwards are not good at pull up shooting in transition.
12:14: How is "plays below the rim" a negative for Draymond Green?
12:34: I just realized it's been 20 minutes since I updated anything. These power forward drills are terribly uninteresting.
12:42: I'm starting to think that ESPNU isn't going to televise any of the centers working out. They've spent about an hour on every position and the broadcast is going off the air in 18 minutes.
1:00: We get to see a little bit of the centers working out. Outlet passes leading to running down the court where they catch an entry pass and turn and dunk.
That's it for Day 1! This ended up being pretty slow by the end, but I think it's worthwhile to try again tomorrow. See you then!