With his college career completed, Egor Koulechov set his sights on the professional ranks by participating in the Professional Basketball Combine, an event taking place at IMG Academy in Florida. An exhibition secondary to the official draft combine the NBA puts on, an invitation to the PBC is still highly coveted and gives established college basketball players (and, ahem, LiAngelo Ball in this year’s case) the chance to showcase their abilities in front of NBA and European club executives. Koulechov was joined at the event by a lot of family faces from around the college basketball universe including Xavier’s JP Macura, Louisville’s Quentin Snider, and Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate. Here is how Koulechov performed.
With modern basketball so driven by physical testing such as wingspan, hand size, and vertical reach the measurement portion of any event has become extremely key for anyone in attendance. Known as a pint-sized power forward for the Gators, Koulechov’s measurements confirmed what many people already assumed. Height-wise he came up at 6’5.25” in shoes with a wingspan of 6’6”. Obviously this isn’t great, even for a player that projects to be a wing in the professional ranks, but his lack of height or length shows how truly impressive it was that he was able to haul in 6.4 rebounds a game last season for the Gators especially against the difficult schedule they played in the gritty SEC. For a reference of Koulechov’s size, former Gator guard Bradley Beal measured at 6’5.25” inches tall with a 6’7.25” wingspan when he was at the NBA combine, making him a longer and therefore an essentially bigger player than Koulechov, and Beal is a shooting guard. If you were watching the NBA conference finals, you may find it interesting the Koulechov measures in at a very similar size to Houston Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon. If you put his wingspan against some of the players in the NBA combine you’d see he has a shorter wingspan than 6’1” guard Aaron Holiday (6’7” wingspan), 6’3” guard Collin Sexton (6’7.25” wingspan), and 6’0” Carsen Edwards (6’7” wingspan). The fact that Koulechov’s small frame was confirmed at the combine may hurt his professional prospects a bit it is also a testament to his will that he was able to play against big bodies in the SEC while boasting the size of a shooting guard.
The next portion of the PBC was athletic testing where players get their speed, strength, and reaction time tested. Maximum vertical leap has become one of the most talked about events in any combine and unfortunately this is not one of Koulechov’s strong suits as his 30” jump was one of the lowest in the event. Considering we just found out how small he truly is and now know how jumping isn’t a strength the fact he was able to rebound so well in college is even more impressive. He also was in the lower portion of the combine in ¾ court sprint and the lane agility test, though something truly baffling happened in the shuttle run. Koulechov boasted the best shuttle run time in the combine with a 2.74 clock, a number that…I don’t actually find believable. If this number was properly recorded, he not only would have lead this combine but would have posted a time that would have lead the NBA combine. That would mean his shuttle run time would be better than super-athletes Lonnie Walker (Miami), Allonzo Trier (Arizona), and Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech) and every other freak physical specimen at the NBA Combine. Perhaps my claim of a faulty clock is invalid, but I personally find that time more than a little bit hard to believe. But, as it stands, Koulechov has the fastest shuttle run of anyone eligible for the NBA Draft. Do with that information what you will.
3 on 3
After all the isolated testing it’s always a treat to watch the players actually get down to business with some game action. The PBC is different than the NBA combine in that it doesn’t do 5 on 5 scrimmages but instead runs 3 on 3 games where players can have the ball in their hands more often. Here are the stat lines for Koulechov in his two games.
5-11 FG (3-4 3FG)
7-15 FG (3-9 3FG)
Koulechov played pretty well, especially considering the fact that 3 on 3 isn’t a game type that I would have expected to showcase him in the best light. Where Koulechov is very much a floor spacer suited for the normal 5 on 5 game, 3 on 3 basketball is all about being an athlete and being able to work well in space. Koulechov wasn’t great defensively but scored the ball efficiently and showed he could pick his spots.
Ah, this is what we all wanted to see. Koulechov’s role at the next level is almost certainly as a shooter and knocking down shots at the PBC would be something that could really help him stand out from the pack. There are two elements to the shooting tests, 50 shots from the college 3-point line and 50 shots from the NBA 3-point line with 10 shots being taken from 5 different spots. Here’s how he did.
Right Corner: 4/10
Right Wing: 3/10
Top of the Key: 6/10
Left Wing: 6/10
Left Corner: 4/10
Total: 23/50 (46%)
Though 46% might sound good, in a shooting drill with no defenders this is actually not a great number and was the lowest of anyone in his group and near the bottom of the combine. Koulechov not shooting well? Unexpected. However…
Right Corner: 7/10
Right Wing: 6/10
Top of the Key: 9/10
Left Wing: 7/10
Left Corner: 8/10
Total: 37/50 (74%)
I guess he prefers the deeper shot. The 74% was second in the combine (behind NC State’s Maverick Rowan with a ridiculous 82% clip) but was definitely enough to impress. He can clearly knock down threes at the NBA and FIBA (what they play in Europe) lines and his stroke should get some good looks.
I thought Koulechov performed pretty well and didn’t show anything particularly surprising. His physical testing and measurements weren’t impressive but I don’t think anyone expected them to be, and his shooting was great but that was also to be expected. Any team that signs Koulechov will be factoring in his intangibles more than his wingspan, and the PBC should just be another indication that he can compete at a high level despite his lack of physical gifts.