The wingspans of Kansas basketball players Udoka Azubuike and Svi Mykhailiuk had NBA Draft analysts buzzing — for different reasons — Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine.
Azubuike — who stood tall at 7 feet, 0 and 1/4 inches wearing shoes and 6-10 without shoes — stretched to an impressive 7-foot-7, fourth-longest wingspan in NBA combine history. Texas’ Mo Bamba extended to 7-10 Thursday for the longest wingspan in combine history.
Meanwhile, Mykhailiuk, who measured 6-7, 3/4 with shoes and 6-6 1/2 without shoes, registered a 6-4 3/4 wingspan. That’s a negative-3 wingspan, which according to NBA writer Chris Stone, is the second worst gap in combine annals.
The good news for shooting guard Mykhailiuk is he shrugged off criticism of his wingspan (length of a basketball player's arms and hands calculated by the player standing with both arms fully extended out to his sides, measuring fingertips to fingertips) by faring well in his first scrimmage in front of NBA scouts and front-office personnel.
Mykhailiuk, KU’s all-time single-season three-point leader (who weighed 211.6 pounds with 8.45 percent body fat on Thursday), hit 6 three-pointers in 9 tries and scored 20 points with six rebounds in his only 5-on-5 scrimmage of the day.
“Six threes for Mykhailiuk today (game high 20 points)," ESPN.com’s Jonathan Givony wrote on Twitter. "Showing some fight defensively as well. ... has turned himself into a much tougher and more well-rounded player. Still only 20 years old.”
Others were also imppressed.
“Svi’s negative wingspan is such a bummer, but I think there’s a real chance he’s the best shooter in the draft," tweeted Chris Stone, who writes for Sporting News and other publications. "He’ll make good money hooping somewhere.”
Mykhailiuk, who was credited with an 8-4 standing reach, told Kansas City Star reporter Aaron Reiss that he met with officials from the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday after meeting with representatives from the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. He has individual workouts scheduled immediately after the combine with Chicago, Detroit and Washington, “then a lot more.”
Mykhailiuk said during interviews with NBA executives that he “felt more comfortable. I came more prepared. The first time, you don’t know what to expect.”
Remember, he tested the waters a year ago, attending the combine before electing to remove his name from the draft and return for a senior season at KU — one in which he averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds a game for the (31-8) Jayhawks.
“You know kind of what they’re going to ask, what kind of questions. I just feel more comfortable,” Mykhailiuk said.
The Pistons ran him through a virtual-reality test. He wore a headset, and they asked him to react to different basketball situations.
“It really helped to ask a lot of questions about basketball. I knew all the answers, man,” Mykhailiuk told The Star's Reiss.
Like Mykhailiuk, Azubuike also drew positive reviews for his work in a scrimmage situation on Thursday. Azubuike (273.8 pounds, 7.95 percent body fat, 9-4 1/2 standing reach) scored 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in his first scrimmage.. A 41 percent free throw shooter a year ago, he was 0 of 4 from the line.
Here are measurements of the three other KU players at the combine.
Devonté Graham stood 6-1 1/2 in shoes and 6-0 1/4 without shoes at 186.4 pounds and 4.8 percent body fat. He had a 6-6 1/4 wingspan and 8.0 standing reach.
Malik Newman stood 6-3 1/4 in shoes, 6-2 1/2 without shoes at 189.2 pounds and 6.25 percent body fat. He had a 6-5 1/2 wingspan and 8-2 1/2 standing reach.
Billy Preston stood 6-10 1/2 in shoes, 6-8 3/4 without shoes at 222.4 pounds and 5.45 percent body fat. He had a 7-2 wingspan and 9-0 standing reach. Preston was listed at 240 pounds when he arrived at KU.