Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats NBA scouting combine notes: Day 3


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Rondae Hollis

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson takes part in one of the agility drills at yesterday’s NBA scouting combine (YouTube video capture)

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“I’ll be a basketball defensive genius. Right now, I’m a couple steps ahead of my generation and a couple of guys. I’m playing chess out there and a lot of guys are playing checkers.”
— Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

From now until the NBA draft next month, you will read and hear plenty of analysis on the four former Arizona Wildcats at the NBA scouting combine in Chicago.

One of the media’s most popular former Arizona Wildcats players, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, offered his assessment of his value yesterday to national reporters who are covering the NBA scouting combine in Chicago.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a basketball defensive genius,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “That’s a little along the lines of when I get older because a man isn’t fully developed until he’s 25. I would say along those lines, I’ll be a basketball defensive genius. But right now, I’m a couple steps ahead of my generation and a couple of guys. I’m playing chess out there and a lot of guys are playing checkers.”

When Stanley Johnson was asked about his assessment of his former Arizona Wildcats teammate, Johnson told the national reporters at the NBA scouting combine what Arizona followers already know about Hollis-Jefferson.

“Fiercest competitor,” Johnson said. “One of the best teammates you’ll ever see. One of the most athletic players you’ll ever see. One of the hardest workers you’ll ever see. One of the best defenders you’ll ever see come through here. He really wants to be great. That’s what he’s about. So whatever he doesn’t do well, I guarantee you when you see him again — a year or a month later — he’ll be better at that.”

Hollis-Jefferson said he thinks he can guard an opponent’s No. 1 or 2 perimeter option “immediately.”

Arizona coach Sean Miller has instilled that strong defensive mentality in the former Arizona Wildcats who are at the NBA scouting combine.

“Coach Miller, if you didn’t play defense you weren’t playing in the game,” Johnson told MassLive.com. “I don’t think anything will be different for me. I think I’ll be more prepared than anybody else. Me and Rondae, I think we’re the two best defensive players in the class this year, just because we want to do it, and we know how to do it, and we’re nasty with it. That’s how Coach Miller trains his players, that’s what we’re bringing to the table.”

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ARIZONA WILDCATS NBA SCOUTING COMBINE DRAFT MEASUREMENTS

Player Pos Body Fat% Hand Length (in.) Hand Width (in.) Ht. no shoes Ht. w/shoes Stand reach Weight Wingspan
Brandon Ashley PF 8.80% 9.00 9.50 6'7.25" 6'8.5" 8'9" 228.0 7'3.75"
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 5.00% 8.75 9.75 6'5.5" 6'7" 8' 8" 210.8 7'2"
Stanley Johnson SF 7.50% 9.00 9.00 6'5" 6'6.5" 8'6" 241.8 6'11.5"
TJ McConnell PG 7.30% 7.50 7.00 6'0.5" 6'2" 8'0.5" 187.8 6'2"

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CELTICS INTERESTED IN JOHNSON

Johnson was one of the players Boston interviewed this week in Chicago. The Celtics would have to trade up from the No. 16 spot in the first round to take Johnson.

“That’s always a possibility for any team that’s in the draft,” Johnson told MassLive.com. “If they’re interviewing me, obviously they have interest in me. So wherever I may fall at, or wherever I’m at, they probably want to get me. It’s up to them and their front office to decide those decisions. In my opinion I think it’s definitely a possibility for them. It would be awesome if it could (happen). If it doesn’t, it is what it is.”

McCONNELL PLAYS ERROR-FREE HOOPS AGAIN

McConnell’s box score line from yesterday’s 5-on-5 game at the NBA scouting combine reads like many of his very solid-but-not spectacular games at Arizona:

He did not score, unfortunately missing both of his free-throw attempts, but he had five assists with only one turnover in 18 minutes. He also recorded two steals.

Give McConnell some time. He did not get an invitation to the NBA scouting combine until Monday. He is in the “surreal” phase of adjusting to NBA executives such as Larry Bird and Pat Riley watching his every move, according to a report by The Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe.

“If you told me before I started college that I would have played in the NBA combine, I would have laughed in your face,” McConnell told Pascoe. “It’s kind of surreal to me. I’m blessed to be here. And that’s why I’m working as hard as I can. I know so many other players want to be in my position, and I’m not gonna let the opportunity slip.”

BRANDON ASHLEY SPEED & AGILITY RESULTS MIXED

Ashley’s shuttle-run time of 3.35 seconds at the NBA scouting combine was fourth from last among those measured yesterday, although he was ahead of two point guards — Quinn Cook (3.40) and Delon Wright (3.50).

Ashley recorded the slowest three-quarter sprint time of 3.58 seconds.

His foot speed is not his strength. That is not breaking news.

He is a power forward with the ability to extend defenses with his ability to shoot from the perimeter. That’s his calling card. Ashley must work on his strength more than anything to adjust to the more physically demanding NBA in the paint. He will not make a living only from the perimeter.

Ashley has some athleticism. His standing and max vertical leap measurements were favorable compared to others who were measured yesterday.

His standing vertical leap of 31.5 inches ranked No. 15 out of the 36 players measured yesterday. It was third among nine power forwards. Ashley’s max vertical leap of 35.5 seconds ranked No. 16 overall and fourth among power forwards.

This is an overwhelming adjustment phase for all prospects, especially one like Ashley who is a projected second-round pick. One observer who writes for Boston’s NBA.com page mentioned in an article that Ashley did not know where to stand during a free-throw attempt.

Ashley made one of the two free-throw tries and finished seven points and six rebounds in his 5-on-5 game. He also had a steal but missed both of his three-point attempts in 21 minutes.

“It’s certainly an adjustment,” Ashley told Pascoe. “You’re playing on a team with guys you’ve never played with in your life and everyone’s trying to do what I’m trying to do — trying to showcase myself.”

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Stanley Johnson worked out with Kobe Bryant last summer. That created a buzz among national reporters yesterday at the NBA scouting combine.

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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