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Former Gonzaga standouts Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert receive green room invites to NBA draft

UPDATED: Fri., July 16, 2021

Gonzaga wing Corey Kispert, top, and guard Jalen Suggs received green room invites to the NBA draft.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga wing Corey Kispert, top, and guard Jalen Suggs received green room invites to the NBA draft. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Former Gonzaga standouts Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert have received green room invitations at the NBA draft.

It’s another strong indication that Suggs, likely to be selected in the top four, and Kispert, a possible lottery pick (top 14), shouldn’t have to wait long before hearing their names called July 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Green room invites are extended to about 20 top prospects, who gather in a staging area with family, friends, agents and others important to their careers while Commissioner Adam Silver announces first-round picks.

When they hear their names called, players make the short walk to join Silver on stage.

Fifteen players, including projected No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham, have been invited to the green room and five more invitations are expected, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

The NBA typically seeks opinions from team executives when formulating the green room list. It’s not a guarantee that invited players will be taken in the first round, but it generally signals they have a strong shot at being in the lottery or at least in the top 20.

One of the NBA’s goals is to avoid players experiencing an uncomfortably long wait in front of television cameras waiting for their names to be called.

Suggs will become the Zags’ second one-and-done freshman, joining Zach Collins, who was taken with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft. Suggs has a shot at becoming the program’s highest draft pick, held by Adam Morrison (No. 3 to Charlotte in 2006).

Suggs, a 6-foot-4 point guard who earned AP second-team All-America honors, is expected to be in the top four with Cunningham (Oklahoma State), Jalen Green (NBA G League Ignite) and Evan Mobley (USC).

Suggs averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 assists.

Kispert was a unanimous first-team All-American and first-team Academic All-American. The 6-7 wing had a huge senior season, hitting 44% of his 3-point attempts and averaging 18.6 points and 5.0 rebounds.

Kispert generally falls in the 10-20 range in most mock drafts.

NBA.com’s compilation of 12 mock drafts, updated a week ago, has Suggs at No. 4 to Toronto and Kispert just outside the top 14. Suggs goes to Toronto in 11 of the 12 mock drafts, with CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish pegging Suggs at No. 2 to Houston.

Kispert is selected as high as No. 10, according to the Ringer, and at No. 11 in two mocks.

The NBA.com consensus draft has Moses Moody at No. 12, Jalen Johnson at No. 13 and Alperen Sengun at No. 14, with Kispert the lone player mentioned in other prospects to watch.

Eight players – Cunningham, Green, Mobley, Suggs, Scottie Barnes, Jonathan Kuminga, Davion Mitchell and Josh Giddey – are lottery picks in all 12 mocks drafts.

Former Gonzaga stars Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke were in the green room and first-round round picks in the 2019 draft held at Barclays Center. Washington picked Hachimura at No. 9. Clarke went to Memphis at No. 21. It was the first time two Zags were selected in the first round of the same draft.

ABC and ESPN will televise the draft, which begins at 5 p.m.

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