Nevada basketball's top draft prospects heading into pro day

Jordan Brown and the rest of the Wolf Pack will go through an NBA pro day Thursday.

The Nevada basketball team hasn’t had a player selected in the NBA draft since 2010 when Luke Babbitt was picked in the first round and Armon Johnson went in the second. Those selections gave the Wolf Pack six draft picks in a seven-year period but the school has gone through a dry spell since. Nevada will look to end its eight-year draft-less drought next June, but first it will play the 2018-19 season. And before that, it will hold its first ever pro day Thursday at the Ramon Sessions Performance Center, which will stream live on NevadaSportsNet.com and run later that day on our TV channel, Nevada Sports Net, from 8-9 p.m. and 10-11 p.m. (with many encore presentations thereafter). Here is a look at Nevada’s top 2019 draft prospects entering the season.

1. Cody Martin

Generally speaking, Caleb Martin appears to be a touch higher on draft boards than his twin brother Cody. Proof of that: Caleb was invited to the NBA draft combine on the first wave of invitees while Cody was a provisional pick who eventually gained access to the event. That being said, I see Cody Martin as the slightly better draft prospect, and I’m far from alone in that evaluation. Many scouts and most people close to Nevada feel that way. There are a few reasons for that. Cody is a high-level defender who at 6-foot-6 can play point guard. That’s great size even for the NBA. He’s a good play-maker with great intangibles and leadership skills. He’s capable of getting to the basket off the dribble and has excellent vision. The big question is his shooting. Martin is a career 27.7 percent shooter from three and shoots 65.8 percent from the free throw line. That’s not great. He must improve both figures this season. But getting and keeping an NBA job is all about finding a niche and filling a role. Martin’s all-around game – he can pass, rebound, block shots and create steals into addition to his slashing ability – is strong enough to find a place on an NBA roster.

Combine measurables

  • Height/weight: 6-6/210
  • Wingspan: 6-10.25
  • Hand length: 8.75 inches
  • Hand width: 9.25 inches
  • Lane agility: 10.64 seconds
  • Shuttle run: 3.05 seconds
  • 3/4-court sprint: 3.09 seconds
  • Bench press: Nine reps at 185 pounds
  • Standing vert: 32 inches
  • Max vert: 41 inches

2. Caleb Martin

This really is a 1 and 1A situation. Both Martins are looked at as second round/undrafted picks, so the 2018-19 season – and this week’s de facto scouting combine – is big for both. Caleb is a far more accurate shooter than Cody. He hit 40.3 percent of his threes last season at a high volume (6.9 attempts per game), although his form is not traditional and he tends to fade at release. If the ball goes in it goes in, but those things were a concern from scouts when he went through the pre-draft process last offseason. Martin has a high basketball IQ with good NBA wing size and one-on-one scoring ability. He was one of the nation’s top clutch performers last year and doesn’t flinch in big moments. Scouts will be looking for improved defense from Martin, who should get more rest with Nevada’s deeper bench, which will allow him to exert more energy on that side of the ball. Like his brother, Martin is “old” for a prospect – the twins turn 23 on Friday – and must show the polish required for an instant impact. Caleb could find a role as a bench scorer at the next level if he has a strong senior season and lands with the right team. A good comp here is Boise State's Chandler Hutchison, who went through the pre-draft process after his junior season, returned to school and became a first-round pick after his senior campaign. Martin, who beat Hutchison for Mountain West player of the year, would surely take that.

Combine measurables

  • Height/weight: 6-6/210
  • Wingspan: 6-10
  • Hand length: 8.63 inches
  • Hand width: 9.13 inches
  • Lane agility: 10.43 seconds
  • Shuttle run: 2.75 seconds
  • 3/4-court sprint: 3.26 seconds
  • Bench press: Nine reps at 185 pounds
  • Standing vert: 29 inches
  • Max vert: 36 inches

3. Jordan Brown

Brown is the rare McDonald’s All-American who isn’t on mock draft boards heading into his freshman season. The 6-10 power forward isn’t listed on ESPN’s latest two-round mock draft (neither is anybody else at Nevada) and isn’t among NBAdraft.net’s top-100 prospects. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but he’ll have to bump his stock throughout this season and his college career rather than similar to Caleb Martin in that regard). Brown is an excellent passer who can handle double teams with savvy. He’s a good athlete rather than a great one but has tremendous length, so he should be able to alter shots if not outright block them. Brown will be an interesting case study. He doesn’t have proven 3-point range, so his fit in the modern NBA – heavy on shooting threes, protecting the rim and being able to switch on defense – will be interesting. (He’s an ideal 1980s big man). Brown, who’s listed at 210 pounds, will have to bulk up as well, but he’s certainly on the radar of pro teams and most likely has an NBA career ahead of him, even if he’s not a one-and-done.

Combine measurables

  • Height/weight: 6-10/210
  • Wingspan: 6-11.25
  • Hand length: 8.88 inches
  • Hand width: 9.5 inches
  • Lane agility: 11.35 seconds
  • Shuttle run: 3.02 seconds
  • 3/4-court sprint: 3.30 seconds
  • Bench press: Three reps at 185 pounds
  • Standing vert: 30 inches
  • Max vert: 35 inches

4. Jordan Caroline

Like the Martin twins, Caroline tested the NBA draft waters last offseason. Unlike the Martin twins, Caroline was not invited to the draft combine, which shows how much ground he must make up to put himself in draft position after this season. Caroline is listed at 6-7 but will probably measure closer to 6-5 (both Martins are listed by Nevada at 6-7 but measured 6-4.75 inches without shoes at the combine). If that is the case, Caroline will have to prove he can stretch the floor because as tough as he is, 6-5 or 6-6 doesn’t really work as an NBA power forward. Caroline will get the chance to show his perimeter skills this season as he kicks out of small forward after playing center last year. He must drastically improve the 32.4 percent he shot from three in 2017-18 (the release on his shot is excellent). Nobody plays harder than Caroline, who has pro bloodlines and draws fouls with the best of them. He can play out of control at times and will have to show he has the lateral quickness to defend wing players, but Caroline is an explosive athlete who has thinned down this offseason to sharpen those perimeter skills. It seems unlikely a team will spend a draft pick on Caroline, but he could still make the league in a Lance Stephenson-type role.

Combine measurables

  • Height/weight: 6-6/230
  • Wingspan: 6-8.5
  • Hand length: 8.38 inches
  • Hand width: 10 inches
  • Lane agility: 10.72 seconds
  • Shuttle run: 2.87 seconds
  • 3/4-court sprint: 3.08 seconds
  • Bench press: 14 reps at 185 pounds
  • Standing vert: 34 inches
  • Max vert: 41 inches

5. Trey Porter

Nevada’s pro day will be more beneficial for Porter than anybody else on the Wolf Pack roster. The four players listed above are well known to NBA teams. Porter, a graduate transfer who has one season of eligibility with the Wolf Pack, is not. Nevada is the third college in Porter's career, and he’s never really been unshackled (his career high in minutes is 23.6 at Old Dominion last season). But Porter has a rare mix of size (listed at 6-11 and 230 pounds) and athleticism (a 45.5-inch max vertical, which is roughly the same as Michael Jordan). Scouts are sure to take notice of that Thursday afternoon. Porter, who has type 1 diabetes, is gazelle-like getting up and down the court. He was one of the nation’s most productive players on a per-minute basis last year and could be seen as a rim runner/protector at the next level. Like the first three on this list, he’s an older prospect, so that will scare off teams who want to project forward, but Porter didn’t start focusing on basketball until later in his athletic career – he was a soccer player – so there should be growth ahead. Given the attention Nevada is getting heading into the season, Porter’s star should rise as the season progressed and scouts see him more often.

Combine measurables

  • Height/weight: 6-11/230
  • Wingspan: 7-1.25
  • Hand length: 9 inches
  • Hand width: 9.75 inches
  • Lane agility: 11.01 seconds
  • Shuttle run: 3.00 seconds
  • 3/4-court sprint: 3.11 seconds
  • Bench press: 12 reps at 185 pounds
  • Standing vert: 33.5 inches
  • Max vert: 45.5 inches

Also of note

* Lindsey Drew could draw some interest as a 6-4, pass-first point guard with NBA bloodlines, but I’m assuming he won’t take part in the combine as he returns from a torn Achilles suffered last February. … Tre’Shawn Thurman is Caroline-lite but doesn’t have the track record or easy path to heavy minutes this season. … Guards Corey Henson (senior), Nisre Zouzoua (junior) and Jazz Johnson (junior) are more realistically aiming for overseas careers.

Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at crmurray@sbgtv.com or follow him on Twitter @MurrayRGJ.

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