This weekend, 44 prospects will participate in a group workout organized by the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets. We spoke with the architect of the combine, Nets assistant General Manager Bobby Marks, to get a better feel for what we can expect.
The 44 players will be divided into four group sessions of eleven players each, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. They will be measured and put through agility tests similar to the NBA Combine in Chicago, and also will conduct interviews with the media and teams. 40 of the workout's sixty minutes will be dedicated to skill-work, while the rest will be devoted to live five on five competition.
SESSION #1: SATURDAY, May 19, 9:30 a.m.
Kim English, Missouri
Jorge Gutierrez, California
Tu Holloway, Xavier
Mindaugas Kupsas, Lithuania
Scott Machado, Iona
Cameron Moore, UAB
Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri
Rakim Sanders, Fairfield
Dominique Sutton, North Carolina Central
Terrell Stoglin, Maryland
Joston Thomas, Hawaii
SESSION #2: SATURDAY, May 19, 11:00 a.m.
Jon Dunn, Northwood
Kyle Fogg, Arizona
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh
Drew Gordon, New Mexico
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette
Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech
Josh Owens, Stanford
Zack Rosen, Pennsylvania
Renardo Sidney, Mississippi State
Mitchell Watt, Buffalo
Wesley Witherspoon, Memphis
SESSION #3: SUNDAY, May 20, 9:30 a.m.
Malik Alvin, Shaw
Larry Anderson, Long Beach State
D'Aundray Brown, Cleveland State
Jae Crowder, Marquette
Marcus Denmon, Missouri
Evan Fournier, France
Xavier Gibson, Florida State
JaMychal Green, Alabama
Kris Joseph, Syracuse
Garrett Stutz, Wichita State
Casper Ware, Long Beach State
SESSION #4: SUNDAY, May 20, 11:00 a.m.
Dee Bost, Mississippi State
J'Covan Brown, Texas
Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico St./Apollon Limassol BC
Justin Hamilton, LSU
Eli Holman, Detroit
Orlando Johnson, UC Santa Barbara
Tony Mitchell, Alabama
Kyle O'Quinn, Norfolk State
Robert Sacre, Gonzaga
Maalik Wayns, Villanova
Alex Young, IUPU
Bobby Marks: We knew going into this that we're not going to get lottery picks. We want to target players projected to go 20 to second round. Some of these players will go undrafted, 27 of the 44 players are kids who did not participate at PIT. They are either guys who weren't selected or declined to attend.
Our philosophy in putting this together is, if they come, great. If not, someone else will want to come in. It's a job interview for the NBA. The first two years (2009 and 2010) we did it after the NBA pre-draft camp in mid-June. Last year we did it in early May, trying to use it as a guide for kids who were on the fence about staying in the draft or not. It was geared mostly towards underclassmen.
This year the schedule is a little bit different because of the NCAA rule changes. At this point we know that in mid-May, a lot of the agents haven't put their arms around their kids yet. Conditioning is a concern for them. Some of them just graduated. They haven't been able to work them out with their own trainers yet. Some agents are skeptical. Here they will be playing five on five. It's the only place they can do that besides the PIT."
Incentive for Rockets and Nets?
Bobby Marks: "We're not just doing it for our team in Brooklyn. The D-League is taking off right now. We have an affiliate in Springfield. A good chunk of these players could be in the D-League draft. That's an advantage for us. Plus, we don't need to bring these kids back. We get everyone under one roof. If we like them we can bring them back. It's certainly worth it from an expense standpoint because all the teams that come split the costs.
I know the Rockets like to be hands on. Our assistant coaches will be on the floor working the players out. That will give them a better feel for what the players' work ethic is. Are they coachable? We'll get to conduct interviews and psychological testing. This doesn't count as a visit for Houston.
I'm excited to host all the NBA teams. This is like a mini-Chicago pre-draft wise. The majority of the General Managers will be here, even people like Rod Thorn who are still in the playoffs. It's a good networking opportunity. We'll be talking about trades. Free agency, and more. It's a good format to get the ball rolling. It's just another step leading up to June. Something people are planning around."
Why Won't Certain Prospects Attend?
Bobby Marks: "Every agent is different in how they look at the whole process. Some agents say I've never sent a player to a group workout before. Their argument is, you've seen my kid play in college. You can watch them on tape. You can see them on Synergy. Every argument is different. Some guys prefer to send only their borderline second rounders. But the proof is in the pudding. Over the last 3-4 years, a good majority of the players we've had in here get drafted. We had ten first rounders the first year we did it in 2009. The exposure is very good for these players. They will work out for teams anyway. I think the play is better in terms of the quality of competition than at the PIT."