The first day of the draft combine marks an annual holiday where we get to squint as hard as possible at a bunch of numbers that may or may not be meaningful in the context of a player’s career. Players went through physical testing on Thursday after taking measurements Wednesday, and two five-on-five scrimmages served as the main attraction. Essentially the entire league gathered under one roof to lay eye on a talented batch of prospects—the sentiment echoed around the gym was that there’s even more variety of opinion than usual once you get past the top group of players (many of whom skipped the combine completely).
We’ll leave the major takeaways for Friday when the combine wraps. Here’s a look at some day one standouts who coupled positive measurements with strong play in the scrimmages.
Kyle Kuzma, Utah
Kuzma led the second game with 20 points and impressed with his fluidity and motor. He sank four of five threes and showcased some variety to his game. He’s one of the more skilled frontcourt players in the class, and measured well at 6’9.5” with a 7-foot wingspan. He can shoot the lights out, put the ball on the floor, and looks justified staying in the draft at this stage. Kuzma’s testing was also strong, with top-five times in the lane agility and shuttle drills. There’s a lot to like here, and he should be worthy of a second-round selection.
Derrick White, Colorado
White was one of the day’s standouts on the court (16 points in Game 2), showcasing his athletic ability on both ends of the floor and testing extremely well. He posted the day’s top time in the three-quarter court sprint, second-best time in the shuttle run and added a solid 36.5-inch max vertical. He’s excellent at changing speeds, played aggressive defense and was generally hard to ignore any time he took the court. The Colorado standout ranked No. 40 on SI’s most recent Big Board, and has begun to shed the sleeper label. White has made the leap from Division II All-American to probable draftee.
Rawle Alkins, Arizona
With a stellar first half and a high score of 18 points in the first game of the day, Alkins continued to make a strong case for himself. His decision-making, ability to attack the rim and potential to develop into a very good shooter stood out in the combine environment. He’s built some buzz around the league and presently sits in late first round conversations for some teams. Alkins told reporters he’s 50-50 on returning to Arizona. He also posted a 40.5 inch max vertical made all the more impressive given his burly frame.
Jordan Bell, Oregon
Though certainly undersized to play the post, Bell’s nearly 7-foot wingspan and elite quickness and explosion will give him a chance to stick as a defensive specialist. He put up the day’s second best lane agility time, registered a 37" max vertical, and corroborated that with a dominant showing as combine performances go. Bell had one of Thursday’s best showings with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five blocks. That’s not a line you see often in any basketball environment.
Frank Jackson, Duke
Jackson was a catalyst with his slithery handle, change of speeds and ability to attack the basket, and he measured out well for a point guard at 6'2" with a 6' 7.5" wingspan. His draft decision is one of the more significant when it comes to college basketball implications. Jackson is widely seen as a player who can be a first-rounder next year. With another strong day Friday, his decision could get more complicated.
Jonathan Jeanne, Nancy (France)
Stop if you’ve heard this one before: the biggest man at the combine was a massive, skinny, lob-catching, shot-altering Frenchman. Jeanne’s not Rudy Gobert, but he was the tallest player in attendance at 7’2” in shoes with a 9’5.5” standing reach. On the flip side, he’s also the lightest big man here at just 207 pounds. He’ll get drafted based off his serious physical tools, but mustered just three rebounds. Still, people this large are hard to ignore.
Below are some of the top measurements from players who skipped the scrimmage.
De’Aaron Fox officially measured with a 6’6” wingspan, which should put to bed any questions about his physical tools…HamidouDiallo’smeasurables explain why he could be a first-rounder if he stays in, with a 44.5” max vertical tops on the day and his sprint time ranking second in addition to a 6’11” wingspan…Ike Anigbogu owns one of the more ridiculous height-to-wingspan ratios you’ll ever see, standing 6’8.5” without shoes and his crazy length spanning 7’6.25”…Not far behind him was Chris Boucher, who’s still a few weeks away in his recovery from knee surgery. He stands 6’8” barefoot with a 7’4” wingspan and 9’2.5” standing reach, placing him among the draft’s elite bigs physically…Donovan Mitchell posted the top standing vertical of the day at 36.5”… Jawun Evans was the shortest player here at 5’11” but couples that with an impressive 6’5” wingspan…the biggest hands in the group belong to Harry Giles, whose mitts were logged at 10.75” wide and 9.5” long…Devin Robinson owns one of the better blends of strength and explosiveness in the class, despite just 3.2% body fat. Three point two….Full measurements are available here.