UPDATE: Draft Express reports he pulled out. That's one way to keep last week's positive momentum.
Nikola Vucevic isn't the hottest prospect heading into the 2011 NBA Draft, but his performance (and measurements) at last week's official NBA Draft Combine definitely made NBA decision makers think twice about passing up the former USC Trojans center in next month's NBA Draft.
Vucevic, one of 12 prospects expected at today's pre-draft workout being hosted by the Minnesota Timberwolves, helped himself out quite a bit last weekend. As I wrote last week, One person who was in the gym at Attack Athletics sent a text that USC Trojans big man Vucevic was more impressive than Enes Kanter during Thursday's morning session. Tough to read too much into these workouts, but it's quite impressive that a player projected as an early second round pick is outperforming an early first round pick.
When not impressing on the court, Vucevic measured out very well in the Combine's official measurements. His height came in at 6-foot-11¾ with shoes on (meaning he'll be listed as a 7-footer in the NBA) and 260 pounds despite just 6.1 percent body fat. In the physical attributes that won't be listed on his NBA.com bio, Vucevic scored an impressive 7-foot-4½ wingspan and 9-foot-4½ standing reach.
As a junior at USC, Vucevic averaged 17.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting better than 50 percent from the field. The 20-year-old also earned All-Pac 10 First Team honors and was named the Pac-10's Most Improved Player as a sophomore.
All of that said, the goodwill Vucevic earned last week in Chicago will need to be built upon in Minnesota. Vucevic did most of his work in the post while at Southern Cal -- or at least near the basket -- but it seems that he also has the ability to step out and shoot as he made 40 percent of his jumpers last season (50 percent inside the three-point line, a skill he seems to be working to develop).
Other players scheduled to be at this morning's workout, at least as of last week, are posted below:
Keith Benson, F-C, Oakland
Marshon Brooks, G-F, Providence
Tyler Honeycutt, F, UCLA
Reggie Jackson, G, Boston College
Cory Joseph, G, Texas
Malcolm Lee, G, UCLA
Jon Leuer, F, Wisconsin
Shelvin Mack, G, Butler
E`Twaun Moore, G, Purdue
Jereme Richmond, F, Illinois
Nikola Vucevic, F, USC
Jordan Williams, F, Maryland