BOZICH | Spalding, Washington, Bowen scramble to impress at NBA Draft Combine
Former Louisville stars and NBA coaches Jerry Eaves and Butch Beard are in Chicago watching Raymond Spalding, P.J. Washington and Brian Bowen at the NBA Draft Combine.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The scouting reports have been updated from the opening day of game competition at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago. They were filed by two former University of Louisville players who coached and played in the NBA -- Jerry Eaves and Butch Beard.
The quick summaries:
*Raymond Spalding, Louisville: Must be more aggressive if he expects to be drafted next month.
*P. J. Washington, Kentucky: Performed like a guy who will be able to convince at least a few teams to invest a second-round pick in his future.
*Brian Bowen, Louisville: Showed the ability to score three different ways although he must re-introduce himself to the weight room.
*Deng Adel: Was snubbed by the lack of an invitation, but deserved a spot on the court.
*Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jarred Vanderbilt, Kentucky: No game action for them.
"Ray has another chance today to show everybody what he can do," said Eaves, who assisted Beard with the New Jersey Nets and also coached in Cleveland and Charlotte.
"I'd love to be able to coach and develop him because he has so many skills and so much potential.
"But the first thing I'd tell him is that he needs to quit worrying about being cool and be the most aggressive guy on the court. He needs to come out and be a more physical player on both ends. The cool stuff doesn't work in the NBA.
"He's in great shape but he needs to get stronger all over -- upper body, lower body. Just overall bigger and stronger because when you see him on the court he doesn't look as big as the guys he's going against."
Spalding measured at 6 feet 10 1/4 with shoes and registered the sixth widest wingspan at the combine at 7-4 1/4. After signing with Louisville out of Trinity High School, Spalding played three seasons for the Cardinals before hiring an agent after the season and making himself available for the draft. Neither Spalding nor Adel can return to college basketball.
Spalding scored six points in more than 21 minutes, making 2 of 7 shots with 10 boards. Bowen, his combine teammate, had five points in 18 minutes, making one of his three shots from distance.
Most current Mock Drafts do not include Spalding as one of the 60 players who will be selected in the first or second round.
Washington, who played one season for John Calipari at Kentucky, has not hired an agent. The deadline for withdrawing from the draft is May 30.
Eaves and Beard were both impressed by his performance, especially his ability to score around the basket.
"He's still got to improve his jump shot, but he got inside and more than held his own," Eaves said. "He can score around the basket. Now he needs to work on his mid-range game as well as his three-point shooting.
"But as far as the toughness, he's got it. He's not afraid."
"He helped himself," said Beard.
Washington measured 6-8 in sneakers, 6-6 1/2 without them. His wingspan was 7-2 1/2. He led his team with 13 boards in nearly 19 minutes, while making four of five shots.
Three former Kentucky players who have already decided to remain in the draft ranked among the eight leanest players in Chicago. Guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had the lowest percentage of body fat (3) of any player in Chicago. Guard Hamidou Diallo ranked fifth in that category at 4.45 while forward Kevin Knox was eight at 4.95.
Diallo and Gilgeous-Alexander both measured at 6-6 in sneakers while Knox was 6-9.
"Overall the talent was not as good as last year," Eaves said. "Deng (Adel, who has also hired an agent and will depart Louisville) should have been here. He could have played with these guys."
Bowen was the five-star recruit whose arrival at Louisville led to the dismissal of coach Rick Pitino, two assistant coaches and athletic director Tom Jurich. He made himself draft eligible after transferring to South Carolina, where Bowen has yet to be cleared to play by the NCAA.
"He showed the ability to score three different ways, which is one thing you have to do to make it as a pro," Eaves said. "He can make the deep shot or the mid-range shot and he can also drive.
"But he looked rusty and he definitely needs to get stronger."
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