Former Kansas point guard Devonté Graham worked out for the Chicago Bulls on Monday, the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and will run through drills for the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
Then it’s on to Atlanta, Houston, Memphis and other spots during a grueling period in which Graham and other likely second-round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft put their skills on display for as many teams as they can schedule prior to the June 21 draft in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Graham entered the pre-draft grind — which included last week’s NBA combine in Chicago — well-schooled. He sought advice from former KU guard Frank Mason, who was in the same position a year ago.
Mason was the second round pick (No. 34 overall) of the 2017 draft by the Sacramento Kings.
“I told him (Graham) to enjoy the process, make the best out of each day,” Mason said Tuesday night at a news conference promoting his June 16 charity softball game at T-Bones Stadium.
“I said, ‘Give the best, give your all to every team you work out for. Other than that, have confidence. Nobody can tell you what you can’t do or where you can’t be in life. Envision it before it happens,’’’ added Mason. He averaged 7.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 52 games his rookie season in Sacramento. A foot injury sidelined him for a little over a month.
Graham — he worked out with KU teammate Svi Mykhailiuk, plus Aaron Holiday (UCLA), Moritz Wagner (Michigan), Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga) and Zach Thomas (Bucknell) on Wednesday in Washington D.C. — told media members in Washington he appreciated the words of wisdom from Mason.
“The biggest thing we talked about is taking care of your body. Like him … he had to do 10, 15 workouts. That’s the same amount I’m going to do,” said Graham, a consensus first-team All-American one year after Mason was named consensus college basketball player of the year.
“Flying city to city, you’ve got to take care of your body, make sure you are eating right and getting that rest,” Graham added.
Graham is projected to be taken 43rd overall in ESPN’s current mock draft, while Mykhailiuk is projected the 51st overall selection. Washington picks 44th.
Graham was asked Wednesday about being a four-year player in college.
“I just feel like every year in the league people develop,” said Graham. He will turn 24 on Feb. 22. Mason will turn 25 on April 3. “LeBron (James) is playing his best right now and it’s his 15th year in the league. I like Josh Hart. He did four years and he’s one of the best rookies that played this year,” Graham added.
Hart, 23, averaged 7.9 points and 4.2 rebounds for the Los Angeles Lakers his rookie year out of Villanova.
“You can always develop your game and get better, no matter how long you went to college,” Graham said Wednesday.
He said a key has been, “staying on my grind, staying in the gym. My confidence kept building each year. Coach (Bill Self) … I could see him just believing in me so I believed in myself a lot more. Having that chip on my shoulder, having something to prove because I was supposed to be at Appalachian State … just carried that with me, took it to the gym every day.”
Vick at IMG Combine
Former KU shooting guard Lagerald Vick participated at the Professional Basketball Combine Tuesday and Wednesday at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Vick, who has entered his name in the NBA Draft after three years at KU, measured 6-4 1/2 (without shoes) and 181 pounds. He recorded a wingspan of 6 feet, 10 inches, standing reach of 8-6 1/2, standing vertical of 28 1/2 inches and maximum vertical of 36 inches. His 3/4 court sprint was timed at 3.26 seconds.
Jackson a second-teamer
Former KU guard Josh Jackson of the Phoenix Suns was named to the NBA’s second-team All-Rookie team on Tuesday. He was joined on the second team by Dennis Smith, Dallas; Lonzo Ball, Lakers; John Collins, Atlanta; Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento. First team: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia; Donovan Mitchell, Utah; Jayson Tatum, Boston; Kyle Kuzma, Lakers; Lauri Markkanen, Chicago. Markkanen is the son of former KU forward Pekka Markkanen. Jackson averaged 13.1 points and 4.6 rebounds a game in 77 games for the Suns.
Mohajir issues statement
Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir issued a statement reported by kait8.com regarding the vacant KU athletic director opening. The Shawnee Mission South graduate, who has been at Arkansas State since September 2012, is the former director of KU’s Williams Fund. Mohajir has been mentioned in various media reports as a possible candidate to replace former AU athletic director Sheahon Zenger.
“I’m Arkansas State’s athletic director and I won’t comment on anyone else’s AD searches,” Mohajir said as reported by the Website.
Mohajir told 953theticket.com: “It’s a great tribute to our fan base, to our student athletes and our coaches, and nothing more to be said on that.”