Earlier this week, former Syracuse commit Darius Bazley was invited to the 2019 NBA Draft combine. He and 65 other prospects will participate in the Chicago based event in front of scouts from all 30 NBA teams. As expected, Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett were not among those invited to the combine.
Here is your official 66 person NBA Draft Combine invite list. pic.twitter.com/H22fUY6hhU
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) May 8, 2019
This is good news for Bazley, ended up spending last year interning with New Balance instead of playing in the G-Leauge. The job also included an endorsement worth at least $1 million dollars. Considering a lot of questions surrounding his game and the decision to skip college ball, this will be a big week for him with so many important NBA roster decision makers at the combine.
Bazley’s life changed immensely when he decided to de-commit from Syracuse and enter the G-Leauge. However, the move hasn’t necessarily helped him as much as some thought it would. Bazley is now projected to be a mid second-round pick in June’s draft. Frankly, there’s a chance he could have been drafted around that same position had he come to SU. We’ll never really know.
The interesting part here is that he’s invited to the combine while Battle and Brissett were not among those included in the 66 player event. What does that mean for the future of high-level recruits deciding on their future? As long as the one-and-done rule is still intact, we may see more players opt out of the college experience. Bazley’s decision was a test run and I’d say it’s worked out ok so far. We’ll know more in about a month.
Some around the sport see the G-League out of high school as the best option. Not only is the G-League now sponsored, but it has 30 teams for the first time in its history. But let’s be honest here, how could the NBA not invite Bazley to the event? Even though he didn’t end up playing in the league, the NBA doesn’t want to discourage others from doing so, right?
Either way you look at it, Bazley is a big body at 6-foot-9 with plenty of skill to succeed at the next level. The real problem for him will be improving his physicality and finding a spot to excel on the floor. Not to mention, he hasn’t seen much game action in the past year.
It’s still early, but so far the decision to not come to SU hasn’t been totally detrimental to his professional stock. Could he be higher in the mock drafts had he stayed with the Orange? Sure. But it’s not like he’s off the board. We’ll see what happens next month.