What do KU's players need to prove at the NBA combine? Here's one scout's take

By Alex Schiffer aschiffer@kcstar.com

Kansas will have five players representing the program at this week’s NBA Draft combine, which starts Thursday in Chicago.

None of the Jayhawks have completely won over scouts for a variety of reasons. Here’s what an NBA scout said about each player going into the workouts. Scouts are not allowed to publicly comment on players they evaluate.

Udoka Azubuike

The 7-foot sophomore declared for the draft without hiring an agent and recently worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers. With questions about his shooting and rebounding ability, the biggest concern appears to be his fitness.

Scout's take: “He’s very limited. Biggest thing you want to see with him is the motor. How does he get up and down the floor. Because you’re going to have to at the next level. I just think he’s very limited. Conditioning is an issue. The NBA has changed a lot. As a result of small ball. I just don’t know if someone like him is needed anymore. I just think he’s in the wrong era.”

Devonté Graham

KU’s leading scorer with 17.6 points per game this past season, Graham shot 40 percent from three and dished out seven assists a game. Graham heads to Chicago with questions about his position and identity in the NBA.

Scout's take: “I think he’s likeable, I don’t know if he’s loveable. He can shoot it, he showed he can play the point this year, still not sold on him being a full-time point on the next level. He showed what he can do this year but I don’t know what the one thing is that he hangs his hat on.”

Malik Newman

In his first year eligible after transferring from Mississippi State, Newman was the Jayhawks' postseason hero. He put on a three-point shooting clinic in the NCAA Tournament, leading KU to a 15th Final Four. Newman averaged 14.2 points per game and shot 42 percent from three but questions remain about his measurables and his ability to score inside.

Scout's take: “Three-point shot really improved, but you do kind of worry about his size and his ability to finish. Outside of scoring, what else can he do?”

Svi Mykhailiuk

A 20-year-old senior, the 6-8 Mykhailiuk enters the combine with the most to gain as scouts consider him a potential breakout player. He shot 44 percent from three this season and averaged 14.6 points per game. He’s young as an upperclassman and considered to be underrated to some. Similar to Newman, scouts wonder what else he can show aside from his shooting.

Scout's take: “He’s matured, he’s grown up a lot. He’s not a good athlete. That’s the one thing people will worry about. He’s become a better shooter, he’s become more confident. He’s a better ball handler then he gets credit for. He could get exposed but he can also show some things you usually don’t see out of him.”

Billy Preston

Preston potentially has the most to lose. He didn't play at Kansas because of eligibility issues and signed with a pro team in Bosnia, but left soon after because of a shoulder injury. Preston, a 6-9 McDonald's All-American, was considered a potential lottery pick going into the season.

Scout's take: “He has a lot to gain and a lot to lose. He’s the mystery guy. He can really help himself or really hurt himself. That’s the beauty of the mystery.”


More from this section