With NBA Draft season coming up for the first time in years there are a number of Florida Gator storylines to watch out for, a pleasant development after 8 years without a Gator getting selected.
For starters, Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis both received invitations to the NBA Combine. This is huge for them as historically most of the players selected in the two-round NBA Draft are invited to the Combine, though it’s certainly not exclusively combine players that can be selected.
In the case of Mann, the invitation was no surprise at all. He’s projected by nearly every scouting service to be a first round pick, with most seeing him going between 18-26. Many of the most reputable scouting analysts have him on the lower end of that range, though rumors are swirling that the New York Knicks, selecting 19th, are strongly considering him.
Scottie Lewis getting an invite to the combine wasn’t exactly a sure thing, though many expected him to get the call. There are 100 total players that will receive invites to the NBA and G League Combine, with 60-70 attending the bigger and more prestigious NBA Combine. Invitations are decided by NBA teams themselves, meaning there are several organizations that want a look at Lewis. Currently Lewis is projected by some analysts to be a late second round pick, while others have him going undrafted. With his wide range of potential outcomes, the combine is going to be extremely important for him. Some of the most publicized events at the combine are the athletic testing, somewhere where Lewis could shine, and that would be huge for his professional prospects.
Colin Castleton did not receive an invitation, though it’s hypothetically possible he could still get a secondary invite after they see who will be attending. Many of the top players choose not to attend which opens up more spots and another round of invitations and he’ll be hoping to be in that group. He has already started having NBA workouts, first with the Minnesota Timberwolves. These are fantastic one on one or small group opportunities for players to showcase their skills, and if Castleton does well in the workouts he has scheduled it could help him get an invitation to the NBA Combine. Currently, without an invite it means his chances of getting drafted are likely quite low, music to the ears of Gator fans who want to see him back in Gainesville.
When first going through the pre-draft process Castleton didn’t hire an agent but a few weeks later he ended up signing with JCK Sports, an NCAA certified agency. Because they are NCAA certified, he would be able to return to Florida should he decide to withdraw from the draft. It is an interesting development that he went from not feeling he needed an agent to then deciding he wanted one, perhaps suggesting his interest in going pro is higher than what was first reported by much of Florida media.
Tre Mann signed with Hazan Sports Management soon after declaring for the draft, a reputable agency with a number of NBA clients.
Scottie Lewis made the most interesting agent possible, signing with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Quite simply put, Klutch Sports is arguably the most powerful agency in all of sports and Rich Paul is arguably the most powerful agent.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, John Wall, Draymond Green, Ben Simmons, Lonzo Ball, Trae Young, Anthony Edwards, and more are all signed with Paul, and he has orchestrated much of the wild player movement that has occurred in the NBA recently. Really, there is no one better for a young player to be under than Rich Paul, and the fact he chose to sign Lewis speaks to his belief in him as a player. With that being the case, don’t be surprised at all if Lewis ends up getting drafted earlier than you might expect.
The draft isn’t until July 29th and on that day we’ll get to see where Tre Mann and possibly Scottie Lewis will play next. The NCAA withdrawal deadline is July 7, meaning that Colin Castleton still has lots of time to gauge NBA interest and decide what he wants to do next.