I'm going to be honest with you: As popular as last year's live blog was, at the start of this past season, I wasn't really expecting to do one of these this year. At the end of the season, I was pretty sure that there wasn't going to be a Combine live blog. And for about 24 hours, in between Vander Blue not being invited and then being a late addition at the request of an unknown number of NBA teams, there definitely wasn't going to be a live blog.
Like last year, we'll be focusing on the Marquette component of the day's activities, along with any Big East participants as well. Who knows what else will happen along the way, so be ready for hijinx! For those of you looking to watch the action, it's on ESPNU from 9am to 1pm Central, and then on ESPN2 from 1pm to 2pm.
8:50: Well, we're still waiting. That's how this works.
9:06: After some technical difficulties, we're underway. Things I've already learned: I'm glad I've never watched UNITE on ESPNU and Fran Fraschilla has trouble identifying the camera that has the red light on.
9:07: Looks like we're getting small forwards out there first. Amongst the group on the floor that I saw: Shabazz Muhammad, Glen Rice, Jr., and James Southerland.
9:12: Nice to see that Andy Katz still hasn't learned how to pronounce Gorgui Dieng's name.
9:25: Chad Ford on New Mexico's Tony Snell: "He's a streaky shooter," as Snell airballs a three pointer in a shooting in transition drill.
9:30: Tom Penn (I think) says he's stopped watching college players on defense because "most of these players can't play defense to begin with." Oookay.
9:32: Deshaun Thomas is burying NBA three pointers. I mean, there's no one playing defense on him, but he's draining them consistently.
9:40: They show the season recap on the Cavaliers on the right side of the screen and it reminds me of something I thought of the other day: It's weird that they're holding the combine before the Draft Lottery, right? All of the non-playoff teams haven't been settled into their official draft slots, so the scouts and GMs for those teams kind of have no idea who they should be looking at.
Topic at NBA Draft Camp--analytics. Wayne Embry reminded me that the most important numbers are on jerseys. Bucks won title with 1 and 33.— Jim Paschke (@Paschketball) May 16, 2013
9:57: That's the second straight commercial break where the mics went hot a little earlier than anyone was expecting.
9:59: James Southerland gets the feature from the ESPN crew. "If you're going to have a special skill, this is the one to have." If you need a guy who's gonna shoot four desperation threes in one possession, James Southerland is the guy to draft.
10:21: Slow going here as we've moved on to the group of centers. Cody Zeller says he'd like to participate in drills today as a competitor, but he trusts his agent. Meanwhile, Shabazz Muhammad doesn't give a crap what his agent says. Which way is best?
10:28: Are we sure that Steven Adams isn't Adam Morrison after chugging a gallon of HGH?
10:36: 31 international entrants to the draft, the most since 2005. Given the ability of NBA teams to draft international players and just leave them overseas for a few years, that's not a good sign for Vander. For those of you scoring at home, the 2005 draft had Andrew Bogut going #1 overall and has had a grand total of six players make an All Star Game or All NBA team.
10:42: I like how ESPNU has the Season Recap box on the right hand side, and ends up cutting off graphics on the left hand side.
10:44: "If we could get a shot of him strokin' it right now..." NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
10:48: I don't get how I'm supposed to take Celebrity Sweat seriously with the spokespeople that they have in this commercial. My favorite part is how I can SEE Ray Lewis in the ad, but he doesn't do an on camera testimonial.
10:50: I see Livio Jean-Charles on Chad Ford's top five power forwards list, and I keep thinking that they're talking about Jean-Ralphio.
Nerlens Noel just told me he measured at 6-11 and 3/4 with shoes here in Chicago.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) May 16, 2013
But is that with hair?
11:08: Point guards are underway, and ESPN's graphic says "Group 1," so I'm not sure if that means the next hour will be PGs as well. But this group has Nate Wolters and Peyton Siva.
11:17: I'm not going to lie, I laugh every time I hear about Shane Larkin transferring out of DePaul.
11:31: The desk crew talk about Pierre Jackson's height being in the neighborhood of 5'8", and then someone says he can "do anything on the court." I'm gonna go ahead and guess that he can't post anyone up. Just a guess.
11:35: Miami Heat season recap. Draft picks: None. Projected cap room: None. Well, I'm glad we've included all of that valuable information.
11:47: And Ryen Rusillo puts Nate Wolters at the wrong SDSU. Oof.
11:58: Power forwards AND shooting guards up next? The hell are they planning on airing on ESPN2 from 1 to 2? Or did they just mean "still to come?"
12:01: Vander's in this next group, wearing #35.
12:05: Or maybe not. Now they're showing power forwards as the next group.
12:16: This was definitely way more fun last year when there was two players I was trying to watch. SO SLOW. I just waited anxiously for someone to bring up Brandon Davies getting suspended at BYU.
12:40: 3 hours and 40 minutes in, ESPN gets around to explaining the MB patch on all the Combine jerseys. It's for Marty Blake, and from this Andy Katz interview segment, i'm still not sure who Marty Blake is.
12:48: They come back from commercial and Rusillo teases news about two potential promises made to players, and then they launch into a focus on Florida's Erik Murphy, and completely ignore the teased news. Nice job, guys. During the focus on Murphy, they try to draw a connection between Murphy and Steve Novak. Murphy was a 45% shooter from distance for the Gators this past season, so he's got that going for him.
12:54: I sure am glad that we spent time talking to Golden State's GM when they have no draft picks and no projected cap room. Boy oh boy was that time well spent.
12:56: On to ESPN2!
Buzz Williams just showed up in one of the most hideous orange shirts i have ever seen.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) May 16, 2013
This may be the greatest moment of trolling in history. +25 points if you get the joke.
1:03: 15 minutes later, and on a different network, they get around to the promises. Germany's Dennis Schroeder, and a dude from Greece that Chad Ford drew a round of applause from the desk crew for pronouncing his name correctly, so I'm not going to try to type it out without seeing it on the screen.
1:05: Rusillo: "Vander Blue, out of DePaul..." Dude, screwing up the Nate Wolters SDSU thing was fine. That's just mean and uncalled for.
1:18: Vander misses a long jumper but comes back on the other end with a dunk in transition drills. Lots of time on this transition drill time is spent on closeups on Tim Hardaway, Jr., and now with an interview with Tim Hardaway, Sr.
1:25: Vander in trailer three pointer drills, but I can't see if any of them are going in, because the camera is moving with Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who's right in front of Vander in line.
1:30: Mike Montgomery must have shoved Allen Crabbe before the shooting guards got started, because the desk crew reports that he's blistering the nets in shooting drills.
1:42: Hey, remember when the players I was trying to pay attention to were 1st team All-Big East and ESPN spent time focusing on them, which made the whole point of the live blog much more interesting? Yeah. Good times.
1:48: Vander forces... someone into a crummy three attempt on a defensive rotation drill, and then he ends up as the winger, but they cut to a tight shot of Ricky Ledo, so no idea how Vander did on that end of things. We then go to an interview with Buzz, along with a video package of Vander. Buzz says he doesn't know why Vander was a late addition. Buzz's shirt isn't orange, but he does resemble a gummi peach ring candy.
1:59: Drills aren't done, but ESPN's broadcast window is closed, so that is all we have today. I'm suddenly curious why the move to ESPN2 for one hour, so let's look at the cable guide.... Really? The McDonalds' All-American game? BOOOOOOOO. Ok. We'll come back tomorrow for agility testing, although if memory serves, that was less than fun last year. Upside: The NBA is going to share all of the data gathered this time, so we've got that going for us, which is nice. See you tomorrow!