NBA releases list of players invited to June draft combine in Chicago

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Ahead of the NBA draft, sixty players have been invited to the NBA draft combine, an event held June 7-8 to test players with drills, workouts, and scrimmages as they prepare to be selected on June 28.

In addition to physical workouts, players will take part in interviews and psychological testing, much in the same way that the NFL runs its combine.

Among those on the list are Kyle O’Quinn, the Norfolk State hero who has burst onto the scene, former Syracuse center Fab Melo, and all six Kentucky players who declared for the draft.

Check out the entire list, found below:

Quincy Acy, Baylor

Harrison Barnes, North Carolina

Will Barton, Memphis

Bradley Beal, Florida

J’Covan Brown, Texas

William Buford, Ohio State

Jae Crowder, Marquette

Jared Cunningham, Oregon State

Anthony Davis, Kentucky

Marcus Denmon, Missouri

Andre Drummond, UConn

Kim English, Missouri

Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt

Evan Fournier, France

Drew Gordon, New Mexico

Draymond Green, Michigan State

JaMychal Green, Alabama

Moe Harkless, St. John’s

John Henson, North Carolina

Tu Holloway, Xavier

Robbie Hummel, Purdue

Bernard James, Florida State

John Jenkins, Vanderbilt

Orlando Johnson, UC Santa Barbara

Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette

Kevin Jones, West Virginia

Perry Jones III, Baylor

Terrence Jones, Kentucky

Kris Joseph, Syracuse

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky

Doron Lamb, Kentucky

Jeremy Lamb, UConn

Meyers Leonard, Illinois

Damian Lillard, Weber State

Scott Machado, Iona

Kendall Marshall, North Carolina

Fab Melo, Syracuse

Khris Middleton, Texas A&M

Darius Miller, Kentucky

Quincy Miller, Baylor

Tony Mitchell, Alabama

Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State

Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech

Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure

Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State

Miles Plumlee, Duke

Austin Rivers, Duke

Thomas Robinson, Kansas

Terrence Ross, Washington

Mike Scott, Virginia

Henry Sims, Georgetown

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt

Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas

Marquis Teague, Kentucky

Hollis Thompson, Georgetown

Dion Waiters, Syracuse

Royce White, Iowa State

Tony Wroten, Washington

Tyler Zeller, North Carolina

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

No. 1 Kentucky survives without Tyler Ulis in lineup

Tyler Ulis
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Less than a week after giving No. 2 Maryland all they could handle, Illinois State went into Lexington and gave No. 1 Kentucky fits.

The Redbirds never really threatened UK in the second half, but they went into the break tied and were within single digits down the stretch, eventually losing 75-63.

Kentucky was flustered. They turned the ball over 15 times compared to just eight assists, they shot 2-for-12 from three and just 29-for-46 (63 percent) from the charity stripe. They simply did not handle Illinois State’s pressure all that well.

And there was a reason for that.

Tyler Ulis didn’t play.

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate just what a player brings to a team until that player is not in the lineup, and that was precisely the case with Ulis on Monday night. It was crystal clear what he provides Kentucky. Beyond leadership and the ability to break a press without throwing the ball to the other team, he’s a calming presence. He doesn’t get rattled when a defender is harassing him and he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a situation like a mid-major threatening the No. 1 team in the country in their own gym.

He’s everything you look for in a pure point guard, and for as good as Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe have looked at times this season, it should be crystal clear who the most important player on this Kentucky team is.

LSU loses to Charleston, eliminates at-large bid margin for error

Ben Simmons
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Ben Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, the second time in his six-game career that the LSU freshman has collected that many caroms, but that wasn’t enough for the Tigers to avoid dropping a game on the road to the College of Charleston, 70-58. It was the third straight loss for Simmons’ crew, as they fell to Marquette and N.C. State at the Legends Classic last week.

But here’s the thing: LSU didn’t just lose.

The game really wasn’t close.

LSU was down by as many as 23 points. It was 39-17 at the half, and that was after Charleston had a shot at the buzzer called off upon review. They made a bit of a run in the second half but never got closer than seven. When LSU would cut into the lead, the Cougars would respond with a run of their own, killing LSU’s spirit while keeping them at arm’s length.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons’ one college year a waste?]

Now, there are quite a few things here to discuss. For starters, LSU’s effort was, at best, apathetic, and, at worst, regular old pathetic. The team has a serious lack of leadership that was plainly evident on Monday night; would Fred VanVleet let his team fold against a program picked to finish at the bottom of the SoCon? Would Tyler Ulis? For that matter, would Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski or John Calipari?

Perhaps more importantly, does any of that change when Keith Hornsby and Craig Victor get back?

Simmons did show off his potential — 18 boards, four assists, he even made his first three of the year — but he also showed precisely why there are scouts that are trying to curtail the LeBron James comparisons. Simmons was 4-for-15 from the floor with seven turnovers against a mediocre mid-major team. There are so many things that Simmons does well, but scoring efficiently — particularly in half court setting — and shooting the ball consistently are not on that list.

But here’s the biggest issue: LSU may have put themselves in a situation where they aren’t a tournament team. As of today, they’re 3-3 on the season with losses to a pair of teams that, at best, seem destined to be in the bubble conversation on Selection Sunday in addition to this loss to Charleston. The rest of their non-conference schedule is ugly. The only game worth noting is at home against No. 6 Oklahoma at the end of January.

The NCAA factors in non-conference schedule strength when determining at-large teams. You need to at least try, and LSU didn’t try; they have one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country.

The great thing about being in the SEC — as opposed to, say, the Missouri Valley — is that the Tigers will have plenty of chances to earn marquee wins. Six, by my court: Kentucky twice, Texas A&M twice, Vanderbilt on the road and Oklahoma at home. They probably need to win at least two or three of those games to have a real chance, and that’s assuming they can avoid anymore horrid losses in the process.

The season isn’t over six games in, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But LSU has done a hell of a job eliminating their margin for error.