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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura skipping NBA draft combine

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura  smiles during a news conference on  March 29  at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura has opted to skip the NBA draft combine next week, apparently following in the footsteps of former Zag Domantas Sabonis.

Hachimura’s name was one of the few noticeable absences on the list of 66 players expected at the combine May 15-19 in Chicago. He reportedly received an invite and declined to attend, the same path Sabonis took in 2016.

It’s considered a bit rare, but essentially many of the top players in attendance don’t participate in every facet of the combine. Some apparently just go through interviews with NBA executives, others do some physical testing or drill work but skip the 5-on-5 game sessions.

“Not all that different a situation I’m told than Domantas Sabonis (same agency, same college) doing the same in 2016,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweeted. “They reportedly want to keep things close to the vest.”

Hachimura, Sabonis and several other former Zags are represented by Wasserman. Sabonis was drafted 11th overall by Orlando and promptly traded to Oklahoma City.

The 6-foot-9, 235-pound Hachimura is projected in a similar range, often from 10 to 15, according to several NBA mock drafts. Hachimura and his agents are reportedly mulling over offers from numerous shoe companies.

DeAndre Ayton and Robert Williams were among first-round picks who skipped the 2018 combine. Washington’s Matisse Thybulle wasn’t among the 2019 list of invites.

Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke, Killian Tillie and Zach Norvell Jr. all are expected to attend the combine, though Tillie could be limited after suffering an ankle injury last Friday in a workout for the Atlanta Hawks.

Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins is one of 40 players attending the G League combine in Chicago from Sunday through Tuesday. Some of the standouts will receive invitations to the NBA draft combine.