What we heard at the NBA combine, including Bronny James on his future and Terrence Shannon Jr. addressing his arrest

Julia Poe, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

CHICAGO — All eyes were on Bronny James this week in Chicago as the son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James showed out at the NBA combine at Wintrust Arena.

James isn’t projected to be picked in the first round of the NBA draft. In fact, most mock drafts place him deep in the second round. But the eagerness of his father — a four-time MVP and four-time NBA champion — to play at least one season with his son has brought heightened attention to the 19-year-old’s future despite playing only 25 games as a freshman at USC last season.

For Bronny, the NBA dream is a little bit different.

“My dream has always just been to put my name out, make a name for myself and of course get to the NBA,” James said this week. “I never thought about playing with my dad — but of course he’s brought it up a couple times.”

James is a different player from his father, flexing more of a three-and-D style of play. He had a solid outing during Monday’s drills, posting a 40-inch max vertical jump and going 19 for 25 to finish second in 3-point shooting.

Here’s what else we heard at the NBA combine.

Terrence Shannon Jr. addresses his pending court case

The combine was a crucial moment for the Illinois standout, who addressed the media for the first time since his arrest in December. He faces one count of rape or an alternative count of felony aggravated sexual battery and is accused of assaulting a woman at a bar in Lawrence, Kan., last fall.

Shannon was suspended by Illinois and missed six games but was reinstated to the team after receiving a temporary restraining order against the university.

Before his arrest, Shannon was projected as a first-round pick, and he lived up to those expectations on the court in his final year with Illinois, averaging 23 points, four rebounds and 2.3 assists. But his NBA prospects have severely shifted because of his looming court date on June 10 — 16 days before the draft. He did not participate in Monday’s drills or any five-on-five scrimmaging because of a strained hamstring.

“Obviously it’s a real serious accusation and I’m aware of that,” Shannon said of the rape charge. “I can’t go into much detail about it, but I’m focused on what I can control and that’s basketball and what I do on the court, in the weight room and with my family.”


Zach Edey out to prove himself

It might not seem like the former Purdue standout has much to prove heading into the NBA draft — after all, he’s a two-time national player of the year who led the Boilermakers to their first Final Four in four decades. But starring in college is much different than landing a spot in the NBA.

“I’m the college player of the year, but I’m going to the NBA,” Edey said. “You’ve got to leave all that behind. Now I’m an NBA player. I have to reestablish myself.”

Edey made the most of his combine outing this week. His physical testing proved all of the tangible differences that make him stand out from the rest of the 2024 draft class — he weighed in at 299 pounds, measured 7-foot-5 in shoes and recorded a wingspan close to 7-foot-11.

And he was efficient in shooting drills Monday, going 14 for 25 from 3-point range and shooting 60% on shots off the dribble. Edey also recorded a 31.5-inch vertical and ran the three-quarters court sprint in 3.51 seconds, two figures that might help offset concerns about his agility matching up to NBA competition.

Devin Carter headlines combine drills

This year’s combine had increased participation — in both drills on Monday and scrimmages on Tuesday and Wednesday — after plenty of players chose to sit out the event last year. That reflects a lower-expectation draft class full of athletes jockeying to improve their draft stock.

Monday’s drills allowed teams to observe the physicality of the players in attendance. Carter, Trentyn Flowers, Keshad Johnson and Reed Sheppard tied for the best maximum vertical jump at 42 inches.

Carter, a guard out of Providence, stood out in the physical drills, measuring the longest wingspan of any point guard (6-8.75) and finishing third in the agility drill at 10.63 seconds before setting a record for the three-quarter court sprint at 2.87 seconds.

©2024 Chicago Tribune. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



blog comments powered by Disqus