A gathering of some of the top NBA prospects will display their basketball skills in front of every team in the league at the draft combine, and at least one Longhorn will be there, but at this point, only one Longhorn.
Texas freshman sensation Mo Bamba will be one of the most watched prospects at the NBA Draft Combine on May 16-18 in Chicago as the 7-foot shot-blocking savant was invited to the combine. Bamba is among a handful of players expected to be in the mix as the possible No. 1 selection. He’s joined, most draft experts believe, by Marvin Bagley of Duke, Deandre Ayton of Arizona and European prospect Luka Doncic as possible top-pick options and almost certainly all are top-5 picks in this summer’s draft.
Bamba and Bagley went head-to-head at the PK 80 Tournament last fall, and they’ll have a chance to be paired against one another next week. But Ayton and Doncic won’t be there — they’ve opted to skip the combine.
That’s probably the only newsworthy note on Bamba’s inclusion in the combine: the fact that he’s going. Perhaps a bad showing at the combine could hurt him in his quest to be the top pick, but then again, a good showing could vault him past Ayton, Bagley and Doncic.
The biggest news Texas fans should be aware of is that guard Kerwin Roach, one of the best all-around players for the Longhorns last season, didn’t receive a combine invite. With 69 players invited, Roach, who declared for the draft after the end of the 2017-18 season, was not among them. Fortunately for the would-be senior, he hasn’t hired an agent yet meaning his eligibility hasn’t been lost.
The other early entrant from Texas is Eric Davis, who announced he was turning pro after his season came to an end following a Yahoo! report where it was revealed he allegedly received money from an agent. Davis was not invited to the combine.
While Davis is not coming back to Texas, Roach would be a welcoming return for coach Shaka Smart. The 6-foot-4-inch guard would likely be one of two senior starters for Texas (Dylan Osetkowski is the other) and help with what should be the fourth-year coach’s best and most experienced team in Austin. Late last month Texas added top 50 guard Courtney Ramey to a recruiting class that is now ranked in the top 10 for the third year in a row.
Roach, who averaged 12.3 points. 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists, has until May 30 to decide to stay in the draft. While he won’t be in Chicago unless perhaps another recruit pulls out of the event and he gets a late invite, Roach can still participate in individual workouts for NBA teams.
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