Saginaw's Brian Bowen talks to the media on Friday at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago about putting his controversial past behind him. The Detroit News
Chicago — Five players whose stock went up this week at the NBA Draft Combine, and five others who went down:
► 1. Isaiah Roby, Nebraska: ESPN might have something against new Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg, as analysts such as Mike Schmitz and Jay Bilas heaped praise on Roby. Coupled with a great performance in Chicago, the forward could climb into the first round, meaning he’s all but assured to be leaving Lincoln for the draft.
► 2. Brian Bowen, Sydney (Australia) Kings: The Saginaw native cooled concerns about how his game is coming along by averaging 10 points in his pair of scrimmages. Playing limited minutes in Australia is not exactly a great sign, but analysts say he should be drafted following a long two years after being named a McDonald’s All-American.
► 3. Charles Matthews, Michigan: The offense could develop, but analysts agree Matthews was as impressive as anyone defensively in Chicago. Comfortable in his hometown, Matthews dutifully answered lots of questions about coach John Beilein’s departure from Michigan and then let his defense do lots of talking.
► 4. Luka Samanic, Croatia: Playing day one of the 5-on-5s and then sitting out day two is usually a good sign. Samanic proved himself capable of handling American competition. In just over 19 minutes, Samanic had 13 points and seven rebounds. He should be a high second-round pick.
► 5. Jalen Lecque, Brewster (N.H.) Academy: The North Carolina State signee jumped his way up draft boards with a 43-inch vertical leap before sitting out day two after a strong day one scrimmage. After playing a fifth year of high school and turning 19, he was allowed to enter the draft. But, if we’re being honest: Michigan legend Jalen Rose is also a winner at the combine. Five prospects were named Jalen (or Jaylen), the most of any name. There also were three Jordans and 1 Tacko.
► 1. Grant Williams, Tennessee: I roll my eyes every year about the parade of projected first-rounders who skip the combine scrimmages, but Williams showed why it’s an annual thing. In two games, the Tennessee tweener totaled 13 points and grabbed four rebounds in 40 minutes against supposed lesser players and didn’t show much.
► 2. Jordan Poole, Michigan: The shooting drill numbers were good, but that was to be expected. What Poole needed to do was go out and show that his game translates to the NBA by playing against other prospects in scrimmages. The unwillingness could be a mistake — like many believe him leaving Michigan was, too.
► 3. Tyler Herro, Kentucky: Thought to be a possible lottery pick, the Kentucky gunslinger may be hurt by his lack of length. With a wingspan of just 6-3¼, Pistons fans might want to look the other way. A wing with shooting potential but a lack of length sounds a lot like Svi Mykhailiuk, who needs minutes to see if the front office’s confidence in him is well founded.
► 4. Kyle Guy, Virginia: A strong scoring line from Chicago won’t change the visuals from the 5-on-5 scrimmages at the combine. Without the blazing speed of an Ish Smith, Guy’s 6-foot-2, 168-pound frame will have trouble lasting long in the league.
► 5. Bol Bol, Oregon: As if the foot injury was not enough to deter selecting one of the draft’s most mysterious prospects, Bol’s weight could do the trick. After being out of action since Dec. 12, Bol weighed in at a concerning 208 pounds, which won’t help him bang bodies in the post.
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.