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Hopeful Big Ten draftees receive combine invites

Seven Big Ten players among the reported 60-plus invited to NBA Draft Combine

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Tournament-Michigan vs Purdue Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The names on the 2017 NBA Draft Combine invite list started to trickle out over the weekend. More than 60 players have reportedly been asked to participate in the pre-draft event, including seven players who spent last season playing in the Big Ten.

Three of the seven invited Big Ten players have signed with agents, including two from Indiana. Thomas Bryant made the decision to sign with an agent and stay in the draft over the weekend, as reported by Evan Daniels of Bryant, a 6-foot-10 big man, is coming off a sophomore year in which he averaged 12.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game for an Indiana team that struggled.

Bryant’s former teammate, OG Anunoby, has also signed with an agent despite missing much of his sophomore year due to injury. However, the 6-foot-8 forward showed ability during his time as a Hoosier, including averaging 11.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 steals in 16 games last season. Anunoby won’t be able to participate in the combine after having knee surgery in January.

Maryland’s Melo Trimble is the third Big Ten athlete to have signed with an agent and earned an invite to the combine. The 6-foot-3 guard spent three years in the spotlight at Maryland, averaging 16.8 points, 3.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game as a junior last season.

The rest of the Big Ten’s invitees will likely use the combine to see where they stand in the eyes of scouts and if they want to continue in the draft process. The combine will be held in Chicago from Tuesday, May 9 until Sunday, May 14. The players who haven’t signed an agent and have eligibility remaining must make a decision on staying in the draft by Wednesday, May 24. The process concludes with the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 22.

The Big Ten underclassmen invited to the combine are:

  • Justin Jackson (Maryland)
  • Caleb Swanigan (Purdue)
  • Moritz Wagner (Michigan)
  • DJ Wilson (Michigan)

Swanigan would assuredly be drafted this year after putting together an All-American season at Purdue this winter. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a sophomore, leading Purdue to the 2016-17 Big Ten title.

Wilson and Wagner drew attention after helping Michigan go on runs in the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament. The 6-foot-10 Wilson’s breakout junior year ended with season averages of 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

Wagner, a 6-foot-11 forward from Germany, collected 12.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game as a sophomore. The mobile Wagner showcased himself in the postseason, including scoring a career-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting to help Michigan beat Louisville and advance to the Sweet 16.

Jackson showed potential at Maryland, but never truly broke out during an up-and-down freshman season. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 10.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game for a young Maryland team that had Trimble running the show.

Finally, a pair of Big Ten seniors are reportedly combine alternates. Michigan’s Derrick Walton and Iowa’s Peter Jok will be asked to participate in the combine depending on how many of the invited players agree to attend.

[Editor’s Note: Iowa’s Peter Jok, Michigan’s Derrick Walton, and Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes were added to the Combine after the publication of this article.]