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06-16-2003, 10:43 AM
Draft Rumors: Bell draft's top athlete
By Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Send an Email to Chad Ford Monday, June 16
Updated: June 16
11:15 AM ET


Results of the physcical testing done at the NBA's Chicago combine are in, and Boston College's Troy Bell is at the top of the list.


Insider obtained an exclusive copy of the confidential report this weekend.

Among all players tested, Bell ranked second in vertical jump (41 inches), second in the 3/4-court run (3.06 seconds) and bench pressed the 185-pound bar an impressive 17 times. His combined total score of 299.0477 ranked him far and away the best athlete in the draft. The next closest player was Ohio's Brandon Hunter who scored 290.1428.

Ball State's Theron Smith, Wisconsin's Kirk Penney, Texas Tech's Andre Emmett, San Diego's Jason Keep, Mississippi State's Derrick Zimmerman, Washington Doug Wrenn, Cincinnati's Donald Little and BYU's Travis Hansen rounded out the top 10.

Of the top prospects tested, Dwyane Wade finished 14th, Kirk Hinrich 20th, Josh Howard 22nd, Carmelo Anthony 38th, Darko Milicic 41st, T.J. Ford 44th, Chris Kaman 45th, Chris Bosh 51st, Nick Collison 54th, David West 61st, Luke Ridnour 63rd, Brian Cook 68th, Mike Sweetney 70th and Pavel Podkolzine 76th.

While NBA teams don't rely on combine results to nearly the extent that NFL teams do, it can be an important factor in the draft process.


Troy Bell registered high scores in most phases of the NBA combine.
Here are a few interesting facts from each category:

Bench Press: San Diego's Keep set a Chicago record with 27 repetitions of the 185-pound bar. Smith and Hunter came in a close second with 25 reps each. DePaul's Sam Hoskin, Wisconsin's Uche Nsonwu-Amadi, Florida's Matt Bonner and Georgetown's Wesley Wilson were the only other players to raise the bar 20 times or more.

Among the top prospects taking the test, Kaman lifted the bar an impressive 15 times. Darko did 13 reps, West 11, Hinrich 10, Wade and Bosh had nine each, and Carmelo Anthony had seven. Cook could only press the bar six times; Podkolzine had five; Wake Forest's Howard had four; Sweetney had a shockingly low three reps (maybe he isn't the next Elton Brand after all); and Ford and Ridnour couldn't manage to get one rep.

One important correction. The early report Insider obtained on the combine results had Nick Collison doing only four reps. That was inaccurate. According to the official NBA report, Collison lifted the bar eight times.

Vertical Jump: LSU's Ronald Dupree recorded the highest vertical jump at 41.5 inches. Washington's Doug Wrenn and Bell were the only other two athletes to record 40-inch vertical jumps.

T.J. Ford had a big-time 39.5-inch jump. Duke's Dahntay Jones, N.C. State's Josh Powell and Detroit's Willie Green also recorded jumps of better than 38 inches.

Among the top prospects taking the test, Ford had the highest jump at 39.5 inches. Wade recorded a 35-inch jump, Howard reached 36.5, Hinrich and Anthony went 33.5, Bosh and Collison 33, Darko and Ridnour 32.5, West 31.5 and Kaman 30.5. Below that, Sweetney had a 28, Cook a 25, and Podkolzine reached just 22.5.

Lane Agility: Wisconsin's Penney led the field with a time of 10.44 seconds. Wade (10.56), Jason Gardner (10.66) and Jameer Nelson (10.66) also had great scores in the drill.

Among the top prospects taking the test, Wade had the best score at 10.56 seconds. Howard finsished in 10.89, Hinrich in 10.98, Ridnour 11.0, Darko 11.3 and Kaman 11.33. The rest: Anthony clocked in at 11.4, Ford at 11.45, Collison at 11.62, Bosh at 11.8, Cook at 11.87, West at 12.18, Sweetney at 12.9 and Podkolzine at 13.4.

3/4-Court Sprint: Penney again led the field with a time of 3.04 seconds. Bell finished second at 3.06, Weber State's Jermaine Boyette finished third at 3.07 and Wade and Utah's Britton Johnsen finsished in 3.07.

Among the top prospects taking the test, Wade had the best score at 3.08 seconds. Howard finished in 3.09 seconds, Hinrich in 3.1, Anthony 3.15, Ford 3.2, Collison and Sweetney in 3.28, Bosh 3.3, Darko 3.36, Kaman 3.37, West 3.43, Cook 3.45 and Podkolzine finished at 3.8.

Body fat: An interesting statistic is the body fat measurement the NBA takes. The average body fat of all the players tested was 9.64 percent. Chris Marcus threw things off quite a bit when he measured a hefty 23.1 percent body fat. Here's a few other guys who could use a diet:

James Lang was at a killer 21.4 percent. Collison recorded 17 percent body fat. Kaman measured 16.3 percent. Sweetney was at 14.1 percent. And for those worried that Anthony looks a bit on the heavy side, he measured in at just 8 percent body fat. Not too shabby.

What does all this mean? It's no surprise that of the top prospects, the two best athletes -- Wade and Hinrich -- are also on fire as far as their draft prospects go. The bottom four -- Podkolzine, Sweetney, Cook and Ridnour -- have some explaining to do. It's pretty easy to explain away Podkolzine and Sweetney. Podkolzine tested just a day off the plane and had literally never been through most of those drills in his life. Sweetney has not hired an agent and spent his time at Georgetown working out there. In other words, neither of these guys has been at Tim Grover's A.T.T.A.C.K. Athletics or IMG preparing for the event. Cook and Ridnour have been working out, however, and their relative lack of athleticism will come back to hurt their draft stock in the end.

Among the surprises? Darko appears to be just as athletic as Carmelo. That will shock a lot of people. Ford doesn't appear to be quite as fast as he has been rumored to be. Kaman is a better athlete than people think And Bosh? His results were pretty lackluster.

The two guys to watch are Bell and Hansen. They were the only guys on the first-round bubble to finish in the Top 10 athletically. Their strong finish should help both of their causes.

What about LeBron?

Obviously, LeBron James is the exception to the rule here. He missed the combine to attend his high school graduation. He did arrive on Sunday to meet with the media and have his measurements taken, but he didn't participate in any of the drills.

For the record, James measured 6-foot-7 without shoes, 6-foot-8 with shoes. He weighed 245 pounds. His body fat was a super low 6.7 percent, meaning he's all muscle. His wingspan was 7-0.

Nuggets still waffling on Carmelo?

Carmelo Anthony rolled into Denver on Saturday and went through a light workout with the Nuggets on Sunday. The team rolled out the red carpet for the potential No. 3 pick. Afterward, GM Kiki Vandeweghe had lots of nice things to say.

"We want to give Carmelo Denver hospitality family-style," Vandeweghe told the Denver Post. "Mr. Kroenke is in town with his wife. We want to demonstrate that we have a family atmosphere from the owner to the coach to the fans. We want to welcome him to Denver. We love him as a player. I think he would fit in very well."

Fair enough. So why exactly did the Nuggets have Dwyane Wade in working out on Saturday?

"Well, you just never know," Vandeweghe said. "It's happened before ... like last year (when the Nuggets drafted Nikoloz Tskitishvili with the fifth pick and acquired Nene Hilario, the seventh pick). So you just never know. There's a lot of things that can happen on the day of the draft. You know people trade future draft picks if they want to point to the future or if they don't happen to want a first-round pick this year. You just never know."

So are the Nuggets shopping their No. 3 pick or aren't they?

"I don't know if we're controlling the draft, but it's an interesting position to be in, and I think we will see a lot of interesting offers for that pick," Vandeweghe said. "We'll listen, but it's going to be very very difficult to trade that pick. I would say it's very unlikely. But you know, you have to listen. At the end of the day, our job is to improve the team. But I can't imagine what we'd ever trade that for ... maybe Shaq."

Pavel still turning heads

The Siberian bear, 7-foot-5, 303-pound big man Pavel Podkolzine continues to wow teams in individual workouts.

After a so-so outing in Memphis, Podkolzine has impressed the Bucks, Raptors, Knicks and Heat in individual workouts. He's in Los Angeles today working out for the Clippers.

Heat GM Randy Pfund and Knicks GM Scott Layden both were upbeat about the workouts and claim Podkolzine is in the mix for their first round picks, No. 5 and No. 9, respectively.

While teams are certainly wary because of Pavel's relative inexperience, Layden tried to put that into perspective.

"You want to look at a player at his age and where he is at the development of his game," Layden told the Sun Sentinel. "We're talking about a high school senior, really, who has tremendous potential."

Thomas In or Out?

Notre Dame point guard Chris Thomas is expected to decide today whether he'll keep his name in the NBA draft.

"I've stayed away from him, but we talked a little bit (Sunday)," Irish head coach Mike Brey told the South Bend Tribune. "He wants to get a little more feedback (from NBA teams)."