NBA hopefuls prepare for draft at Chicago Combine

All eyes will be on Duke’s Big Three, while other N.C. players look to make an impression before next month’s draft

Duke’s Zion Williamson, who is expected to be the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, will meet with teams during this week’s NBA Combine in Chicago but will not work out. (Patrick Semansky / AP Photo)

The NBA Draft Combine begins Wednesday in Chicago, with interviews and player testing. Later in the week, NBA hopefuls will participate in drills and scrimmages, hoping to impress pro scouts prior to next month’s draft.

Several players with North Carolina ties will be in Chicago, hoping to improve their draft stock this week. Here’s a look at who to watch as NBA Draft season kicks into high gear.

Zion Williamson, Duke: It’s doubtful that the one-and-done superstar for the Blue Devils participates in much on-court activity in Chicago, but Williamson will be in attendance to meet with teams. The biggest moment of the week came Tuesday night when the New Orleans Pelicans won the Draft Lottery, putting them in position to draft the Duke power forward first overall.

RJ Barrett, Duke: The leading scorer for the Blue Devils, ahead of Williamson, is expected to be chosen soon after his teammate. Barrett could give Duke the first and second picks in the draft and isn’t expected to go any lower than No. 3. It’s unknown whether he’ll participate in any on-court activities.

Cam Reddish, Duke: The third of Duke’s one-and-dones this season, Reddish didn’t earn the national notoriety of his teammates, but his game is considered to be tailor-made for the NBA. Many teams, including the Knicks, are supposedly very intrigued by Reddish, who will likely be busy with interviews this week.

Coby White, UNC: The leading scorer for the Tar Heels is going the one-and-done route. He’s expected to go early in the first round, with many mocks slotting him in the top 10. The measurements will likely be interesting for NBA teams, as White’s slim build might concern them.

Nassir Little, UNC: Another one-and-done for Roy Williams. Little, like Reddish, didn’t have the same immediate impact as the other freshmen on both teams, but, also like Reddish, his game appears suited for the pros. Little is projected to be picked just behind White, on the fringes of the top 10.

Cameron Johnson, UNC: The only four-year player from the state — and, in fact, the only local player with more than one year of college experience — to get an invite to the Combine, the graduate transfer from Pitt is trending up and is believed to be a first-round candidate. He’ll get the chance to show off his skills during the scrimmages.

Jaylen Hoard, Wake Forest: The one-and-done freshman announced in late April that he was remaining in the draft, a bit of a surprise to some scouts who questioned his readiness. His potential could capture the fancy of a team with a late pick, or Hoard, a former French national team player, could spend time overseas.

Jalen Lecque, Brewster Academy: The NC State high school recruit spent a fifth-prep year at the New Hampshire private school, making him eligible to go one-and-done in the draft. By all reports, he has not yet hired an agent, leaving open the option of heading to Raleigh for college, but the Pack appears to have filled his roster spot with grad transfers. He’ll be looking to move up from his second-round projection at the Combine.

In addition to the NBA Combine, the developmental G-League is holding a combine in Chicago this week, with top performers getting an invite to the NBA drills and scrimmages on Thursday.

Javin DeLaurier, Duke: The junior is testing the draft waters. He scored four points with three rebounds in his first G-League Combine game.

Amir Hinton, Shaw: The junior guard is one of the top Division II players in the country. He’s impressed in his first two combine games, scoring six points with three rebounds and five steals in one, adding nine points and three boards in the other.

Chris Clemons, Campbell: One of the top scorers in NCAA history continues to light it up at the next level. He scored 17 points, with 3-for-5 shooting from three, in his first game, then added 14 points and four assists in his second contest, though he struggled from long range, going 1-for-6.

Caleb Martin, Nevada: The NC State transfer averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in his first two games this week.

Cody Martin, Nevada: Caleb’s twin brother and a fellow NC State transfer, Martin scored nine points with five boards in his first game.

Luke Maye, UNC: The Tar Heel senior did not dress for his team’s first game due to an undisclosed illness or injury.

Other significant local players who did not receive an invitation to either event in Chicago include UNC senior Kenny Williams, NC State junior point guard Markell Johnson and Duke junior power forward Marques Bolden.