As a projected top-five draft pick, Kansas’ Josh Jackson will not be attending this week’s NBA Combine in Chicago.
“Agents have the power,” ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said in a pre-NBA Combine media call Tuesday. “I mean, that’s just the bottom line with these top kids. The agents control — they have the ability to control the draft. That’s just how it has been in recent years.”
Agents see no need for their clients to compete in agility drills, 5-on-5 games and medical testing at the Combine as long as they are considered locks to be taken early in the draft. Thus Jackson, KU’s 6-foot-8 freshman guard from Detroit, will be absent from the Windy City proceedings per advice from his representation, as well as Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Dennis Smith, Lauri Markkanen and some others.
“You’re rolling the dice and hopefully teams have scouted these guys well, which I believe they have,” Fraschilla said, noting there’s a risk an NBA team might draft an injured player if not allowed to perform medical tests. He hasn’t heard of any injury concerns with projected lottery picks this season.
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“They (teams) do due diligence on their background as to the kind of people they are and agents are just — it’s a power play that they control the market,” Fraschilla added.
KU will have two players — Frank Mason and Svi Mykhailiuk — competing in all the activities this week, highlighted by the 5-on-5 games and agility drills Thursday and Friday at Quest Multisport Facility.
Mason, college basketball’s consensus player of the year, enters the NBA Combine as a likely second-round pick in the June 22 draft.
“I haven’t heard anybody say that he won’t be in the second round,” Fraschilla said of the 5-foot-11 Petersburg, Va., senior. “Frank will probably be a guy that is going to be a backup in the NBA, but could have a long career if he finds the right places to land.”
Mason’s being under 6 feet tall might be the only thing keeping him out of the first round at this time.
“With Frank, 18 players in the NBA this past year were 6-feet or under, so Frank is still an outlier, but given the speed, strength, competitiveness, ability to make outside shots, which was incredible this year (he’ll likely be taken in the draft),” Fraschilla said.
Of Mason, ESPN’s Seth Greenberg Tweeted this week: “Frank Mason will be a 10-year NBA player. He will be undervalued and then people will say how did that happen?’”
Mykhailiuk, a junior from Ukraine, has not signed with an agent, meaning he has until May 24 to remove his name from the draft pool of players if he wishes to return to KU.
“My gut feeling is that he’s going to stay in and hope to be a draft pick,” Fraschilla said of the 6-8 native of Ukraine. “He’s got two things in his favor: Wide open, he’ll be as good a shooter at the Combine as just about anybody, which, again, is coveted. He’ll measure out at 6-7 instead of the 6-8 that was part of the Kansas roster. And the fact that he will be one of the youngest guys there, because, although he’s a junior he does not turn 20 until June (10th).
“My sense with him is he’s not going to come back. I have nothing to base that on, and (if) he’s a draft pick, and then he’s fighting for his life (to make a team) like everybody is.”
ESPN2 will televise NBA Combine 5-on-5 action and agility drills from 2-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
Ellis scores 25 at minicamp
Former KU forward Perry Ellis scored 25 points in his first game at the NBA Development League minicamp that was attended by NBA scouts Tuesday in Chicago. He was 4 of 6 on three-pointers.
“Perry Ellis really standing out … shooting ball extremely well,” Jonathan Givony of draftexpress.com wrote on Twitter. The 6-foot-8 Ellis averaged 9.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 50 games last season for the Greensboro (N.C.) Swarm. He started 12 games and averaged 22.4 minutes per contest. Ellis cashed 45.1 percent of his shots and 37.6 percent of his threes. He made 76.9 percent of his free throws.
Ottawa’s Ojeleye attending Combine
Former Ottawa High standout Semi Ojeleye of SMU, who has not yet signed with an agent, still could return to the Mustangs for his senior season even though he’s already graduated.
“He obviously had a phenomenal season as the player of the year in The American (Athletic Conference),” Fraschilla said. “What he has to go show (at the Combine), I think, is that he can be a version of Draymond Green. Not that he’ll ever be an All-Star, but with his size, strength, ability to shoot the ball, his toughness, his versatility and the way the NBA game is going, he needs to have a team say, ‘We think you could be a guy that could guard some of the smaller power forwards in the NBA.’
“In a sense, this is a good time for him to check his draft stock because he’s got everything else buttoned up, from graduation to a great season at SMU, and now he’s playing with house money to go see what his NBA stock is.”
Noted ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, also part of the media conference call Tuesday: “A lot of guys (scouts) I talk to feel like he’s got a legitimate shot if he stays in to be a late first-rounder.”
Morris a possible draft pick
Iowa State senior point guard Monte Morris is projected as a likely second-round pick.
“I don’t think he’s a first-round pick, but I think he’s a guy who can stick in the league for a long time as a backup or as a third point guard,” ESPN’s Goodman said. “Look at what he’s done over his college career, taking care of the basketball, making good decisions. NBA guys want people like him, too, somebody you don’t have to worry about, who’s going to kind of bring it every day, who’s not going to be an issue, who’s going to come off the bench and just be a solid player for you.
“ … I think Monte will be in the league for a long time. The key for him is obviously who he gets drafted by, being in the right situation where he has a chance to make the team right out of training camp instead of being on maybe a roster where they’ve already got three good point guards.”
KU offers Florida prep Days
KU has offered a scholarship to Darius Days, a 6-foot-7 junior forward from Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., Rivals.com reports.
Days is ranked No. 113 in the recruiting class of 2018 by Rivals.com. The Florida Vipers AAU player is also being recruited by Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Pitt, Texas A&M, Virginia, Memphis and others.
Carey now lists 10 schools
Jalen Carey, a 6-4 junior point guard from Immaculate Conception High School in Montclair, N.J., who is ranked No. 53 in the recruiting class of 2018 by Rivals.com, has a list of 10 schools, his high school coach, Jimmy Salmon, told Zagsblog.com.
The schools: Kansas, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Miami, Florida, Seton Hall, Indiana, UConn and Temple.
Carey reported on Twitter this week that KU had offered him a scholarship.