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Sports >  NCAA basketball

Corey Kispert expected to be lone Gonzaga representative at draft combine

UPDATED: Tue., June 15, 2021

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Corey Kispert (24) grabs a high five from guard Jalen Suggs (1) after he hit a three off an assist from Suggs during the first half of a college basketball game on Saturday, February 27, 2021, at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Corey Kispert (24) grabs a high five from guard Jalen Suggs (1) after he hit a three off an assist from Suggs during the first half of a college basketball game on Saturday, February 27, 2021, at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Corey Kispert is the only former Gonzaga standout expected to participate in the NBA draft Combine next week.

Kispert is among 69 players participating in the combine June 21-27 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, according to an NBA release. The 6-foot-7 wing has been training in Chicago in preparation for the NBA draft on July 29.

The combine list didn’t include former Gonzaga guards Jalen Suggs or Joel Ayayi. Suggs, projected inside the top five in nearly every mock draft, likely received an invite and declined. It’s not uncommon for players at or near the top of the draft to bypass the combine with very little opportunity to improve their draft position.

For example, Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, considered a frontrunner for the top pick, isn’t attending the combine.

It’s also possible that players will skip the combine if they’ve received a first-round guarantee from an NBA team. Former Oregon standout Chris Duarte declined an invitation, “fueling talk among teams that the combo guard could have a first-round promise,” The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie tweeted last week.

It wasn’t immediately known if Ayayi received an invite. He’s been mentioned as a possible late first-round pick, but he appears more often in the second round.

Hoopshype.com, which combines eight mock drafts from outlets such as ESPN, Yahoo! and CBS Sports, has Suggs at No. 4, Kispert at No. 14 and Ayayi at No. 47. Former GU forward Filip Petrusev, who played professionally in his native Serbia last season, is No. 48.

CBS Sports has Suggs at No. 2 and Kispert at No. 14 in its one-round mock.

Pepperdine forward Kessler Edwards and Kispert will be the only WCC players at the combine.

Combine participants will be involved in interviews with NBA organizations and participate in 5-on-5 scrimmages and shooting, strength and agility drills. Last year’s combine was reduced to a scaled-down version due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were no Zags on the list of 40 invited to the NBA G League Elite Camp that will be held Saturday-Monday in Chicago. A small number of camp standouts will earn invitations to the draft combine.

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