Yahoo’s Shams Charania released the official list of players who will attend the 2018 NBA Combine on Friday and neither James Palmer Jr. nor Isaac Copeland were on the list.
The NBA Combine is set for May 16-20 in Chicago. Underclassmen who have not signed an agent will have until May 30, 10 days after the combine, to withdraw from the draft and maintain their college eligibility.
Six of the eight Big Ten players who declared for the draft with an agent (Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop, Michigan’s Moritz Wagner, Penn State’s Tony Carr and Maryland’s Justin Jackson) received invitations. The two that did not were Rutgers’ Corey Sanders and Illinois’ Leron Black.
Both Spartans are projected lottery picks. Bates-Diop had a big-time bounce back season after missing most of last year and was named Big Ten Player of the Year after leading the conference in scoring at 19.8 points per game. Carr, a 6-foot-5 point guard, wasn’t far behind Bates-Diop at 19.6 points per game and shot 43.3 percent from 3 as a sophomore this year.
Wagner and Jackson both participated in the combine last season before returning to school. Wagner helped lead the Wolverines to the National Championship game where they finished runner-up to Villanova. Jackson suffered a shoulder injury that cut his sophomore season short after just 11 games.
Among the underclassmen that declared without an agent, only Maryland’s Bruno Fernando and Kevin Hurter received invitations.
In addition to Palmer and Copeland, Iowa’s Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss, Purdue’s Carsen Edwards and Nojel Eastern, Michigan State’s Nick Ward, Indiana’s Juwan Morgan, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Michigan’s Charles Matthews are the other underclassmen who are testing the waters and did not receive a combine invitation.
The Big Ten did not have any seniors invited.
Maryland has the most riding on the combine this season. The Terrapins had a strong sophomore class return to College Park but lost two pieces of their front court in Jackson and Ivan Bender for more than half the season while part-time starters Michael Cekovsky and and Dion Wiley missed four games apiece. Maryland finished 19-13 and 8-10 in the Big Ten.
According to 247Sports’ composite rating, however, Maryland has a top-10 recruiting class coming in, tops in the Big Ten. Five-star big man Jalen Smith headlines the class but it also includes 4-star guards Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala. If Fernando and Huerter both return and Mark Turgeon adds them to that 2018 recruiting class and one of the better point guards coming back in the Big Ten in Anthony Cowan, the Terrapins could be a conference contender next season.
Edwards, Happ, Morgan and Ward all face decisions that could have a major impact on the Big Ten race next season, but with none of the four receiving a combine invitation it appears more likely than not that they will return to school.
As for the Huskers, Palmer and Copeland could both go forward with attending workouts with teams to seek feedback despite not going to the combine.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.