Tom Thibodeau, Gar Forman combine to watch NBA prospects

Written By BY MICHAEL O’BRIEN Staff Reporter Posted: 05/15/2014, 03:30pm
Array Adreian Payne from Michigan State, left, and Aaron Gordon from Arizona, watch players participate in the 2014 NBA basketball Draft Combine Thursday, May 15, 2014, in Chicago. Payne is not scheduled to participate due to an illness. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Jabari Parker, along with fellow likely top picks Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, is not participating the NBA Draft Combine at Quest Multisport on the West Side this week.

Parker’s post-NCAA career path has been quite a bit different than the usual lottery pick. He actually stayed at Duke after declaring for the draft and finished up his first year of classes. Parker spent the past week working out in Chicago with his older brother Chris, according to

a source.

“I haven’t talked to (Parker) about why he didn’t come,” said Duke teammate Rodney Hood, who is participating at the combine. “I’m sure he has a great reason.”

Parker, Wiggins and Embiid started a trend, one that doesn’t thrill the NBA. A dozen players decided not to participate in the drills at the combine. Most made themselves available for interviews and some will take part in the strength and agility tests on Friday. Parker, Wiggins and Embiid will not participate at all.

“I planned on working out and doing the drills but my agent (Aaron Mintz) told me yesterday he was going to sit me out,” said Michigan State’s Gary Harris. “I trust him. He said that’s right so that’s what I’ll do.”

Michigan’s Nik Stauskus, a player the Bulls will likely be interested in if he remains on the board until their pick in the draft, didn’t think he had anything to gain by playing in front of the NBA personnel on hand.

“I felt like even if I had a great day shooting the ball it wasn’t really going to do much for me because teams already know that’s my strength,” said Stauskus.

The lack of attention on the court had plenty of eyes wandering to the sidelines, especially on the interactions between Bulls General Manager Gar Foreman and coach Tom Thibodeau.

Thibodeau’s name has surfaced in connection with several open coaching jobs, adding to the speculation that there is a significant rift between Thibodeau and Foreman. They began the day sitting in different rows, but were sitting near one another and chatting amicably by the afternoon session.

Hood was one of the standout players in the afternoon, displaying a shooting touch the Bulls desperately need.

“It felt pretty good, just getting repetitions,” said Hood. “I had a little jitters, but once I got going I was knocking down shots.”

Hood met with four NBA teams on Wednesday night and had seven interviews scheduled for Thursday night. He meets with the Bulls on Friday, a team he says would be a perfect fit.

“Most definitely, especially with Derrick (Rose) coming back,” said Hood. “Being able to push the ball and find shooters. I think that’s something they lacked this year. I could come in right away and knock down shots for them.”

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