Monday December 16th, 2019 9:12AM

The Latest: Player sees if he can make preps-to-pros leap

By The Associated Press
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CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the NBA draft combine (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

North Carolina State signee Jalen Lecque hopes to convince NBA teams he is ready to make the preps-to-pros jump.

A gifted guard known for soaring dunks that have made him a social media sensation with 343,000 Instagram followers, Lecque declared for the draft last month after committing to the Wolfpack. But he is also viewed as a work in progress, someone who will need time to develop rather than make an immediate impact.

Whether he stays in the draft largely hinges on the feedback he gets following this week's NBA combine.

Lecque says, "It's really just based on me. If I feel like after this combine I really feel confident I'm going to get picked in a great situation, I'm going to go."

He says a great situation would "just a team that likes me, a team that I can see that really needs me or wants me — either or."

Lecque is from the Bronx in New York and joined New Hampshire prep powerhouse Brewster Academy for his fifth year of high school after spending the previous season in North Carolina.

He turns 19 next month and can still go to North Carolina State if he doesn't like the feedback he gets from the NBA. He has to decide by May 29, the NCAA's withdrawal deadline for players who wish to maintain their eligibility.


4:55 p.m.

Washington coach Scott Brooks is part of his team's contingent when the Wizards interview draft hopefuls.

And a part of him is sympathetic on what those kids are going through.

Brooks says he feels bad for the player. The coach says he tries "to put myself in their position, being 19, 20 years old. You're being grilled by a lot of people at one time that you don't know. But I tell you what, they handle it a lot better than I probably would at that age."

Given the choice, Brooks wouldn't come to the combine. He'd rather be coaching in the playoffs.

And as a player, Brooks didn't partake in anything like this. Before embarking on his 10-year NBA career as an undrafted player who worked his way through the CBA and eventually being signed by the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooks remembers spending many days from 8 a.m through 11 p.m. in the gym, bringing a sack of sandwiches and fruit to get him through the day.

A summer league director eventually took notice and in time, Brooks' career was born. He remembers playing against Spud Webb, Doc Rivers and the Atlanta Hawks as a summer-league player — a 15-point, seven-assist, no-turnover game.

Brooks says, "All you want is an opportunity."


4:35 p.m.

Though he is thrilled for Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish acknowledges he has a bit a chip on his shoulder.

That's because the talented forward from Duke figures to wait a little longer than his teammates to hear his name called in next month's NBA draft. While Williamson appears headed to New Orleans with the No. 1 pick and New York is a potential landing spot for Barrett at No. 3, Reddish's future is more uncertain.

When asked if he has a chip on his shoulder, Reddish said Thursday at the NBA combine, "Sure. Yeah. Absolutely." He added, "I'm definitely looking forward to what's to come."

Reddish put up solid — not eye-popping — numbers, averaging 13.5 points while shooting 35.6%. He made 33.3% of his 3-pointers.

He hopes his experience sharing the spotlight with Williamson and Barrett opens some NBA eyes.


2 p.m.

Play started at the NBA draft combine Thursday in Chicago, and as always, the attendance list is a who's-who of big names within the NBA game.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra and Dallas coach Rick Carlisle were among the first to arrive at the gymnasium where the combine events are taking place. Atlanta general manager Travis Schlenk and Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks were having a courtside chat, Larry Bird arrived just before play began, and top college coaches like Georgia's Tom Crean and Iowa's Fran McCaffery were also watching the early action.

Almost all of the NBA general managers and most, if not all, of the coaches —at least of the teams not still in the playoffs— are expected to be at the combine events in some capacity, whether they come to see workouts or just interview draft hopefuls over the next few days.


1:30 p.m.

Ja Morant is not taking part in the games portion of the draft combine that opens Thursday.

That's not uncommon for players who are expected to be among the top picks in the NBA draft, and it's widely projected already that the former Murray State guard could go No. 2 overall in the June 20 selections to Memphis.

Presumed No. 1 pick Zion Williamson of Duke is not attending the combine; he met with teams earlier this week and left Chicago before the combine technically started.

The NBA invited 77 players to the combine. Of those, 41 are listed on rosters that will compete in games Thursday and Friday. Others will go through various testing and have their measurements such as height, weight and wingspan recorded — but won't be playing any 5-on-5.

Morant is expected to hold a news conference at the combine later Thursday.


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