Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke won’t know for sure where they go until the NBA draft on June 20, but they received a pretty good indication Wednesday.
Hachimura and Clarke received green room invitations to attend the draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Roughly 20 top prospects are expected in the green room, a staging area where they sit with family and friends while commissioner Adam Silver announces first-round selections.
The NBA seeks opinions of general managers to help determine the list of invitations. It’s obviously not a guarantee, but an invite is a strong indication the player will be taken in the first round with a solid shot at being in the lottery (top 14).
Duke’s Zion Williamson, Murray State’s Ja Morant and Duke’s R.J. Barrett, generally considered the top three selections, were among the initial nine invitations that went out last week.
Hachimura, Clarke, Kentucky’s P.J. Washington, North Carolina’s Nassir Little, Indiana’s Romeo Langford and Kentucky’s Tyler Herro reportedly were the next six players invited.
Both GU forwards and multiple members of the coaching staff are expected to attend.
According to NBA.com’s compilation of 10 mock drafts, Hachimura’s stock is on the rise. He’s a lottery pick in six mocks, with four projecting him to land with Minnesota at No. 11. Clarke is also projected to go to Minnesota in four mocks.
Clarke is projected to go to Charlotte at No. 12 and Hachimura at No. 13 to Miami, according to a consensus of the 10 mock drafts.
The 15 players currently with green room invitations rank in the top 16 of the first round of ESPN.com’s mock draft.
The NBA’s goal is to receive accurate feedback from team executives so players avoid an uncomfortably long wait in front of television cameras before hearing their name called by Silver. Once selected, players typically exchange hugs with relatives before shaking hands with Silver on stage and posing for pictures.
There are numerous examples of awkward moments in the green room, the most vivid being Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ four-hour wait before Green Bay took him at No. 24 in 2005 NFL draft.
“It’s not so funny when you’re the last one in the green room,” Rodgers said at the time.
Deyonta Davis and his family left the green room near the conclusion of the first round of the 2016 NBA draft. Davis was still in the building when Boston selected him with the first pick of the second round. He didn’t appear pleased when he went on stage and shook hands with assistant commissioner Mike Tatum, who announced the second-round selections.
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