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Bronny among 78 invited to NBA draft combine

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The NBA sent invites to 78 players — including projected lottery picks Zaccharie Risacher, Alex Sarr and Donovan Clingan, as well as USC’s Bronny James — to the 2024 NBA draft combine, which will be held May 12-19 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.

For the first time, all invited players will be required to attend and participate in the event or will be ineligible to be drafted, as part of an agreement the National Basketball Players Association reached with the league in the most recent collective bargaining agreement.

Participation will include medical examinations, sharing of medical history, biomechanical and functional movement testing, as well as strength and agility testing, performance testing and anthropometric measurements. Players also will be required to conduct team interviews and participate in media circuits, player development sessions and more. Players will not be compelled to compete in 5-on-5 scrimmaging and other live-action drills, but will be required to take part in shooting drills.

A handful of exceptions do exist, such as being in-season with a club team — something that will prevent several European projected lottery picks, such as Risacher and Nikola Topic, from participating — or an injury or a family tragedy. Such players will be required to complete combine activities at a later date.

James’ inclusion on the draft combine list was the first step required to begin the process of getting cleared to play in the NBA following his cardiac arrest episode in July and subsequent procedure to treat a congenital heart defect that sidelined him for five months, sources say.

James will need to be examined and approved by the NBA’s fitness-to-play panel before becoming eligible to participate in team workouts and compete in drills or scrimmages at the draft combine.

Sources say NBA-appointed doctors were not able to begin that process until he was formally invited to the draft combine. In past years, players previously referred to the league’s fitness-to-play panel — such as Baylor’s Jared Butler and Kansas State’s Keyontae Johnson — were only cleared several weeks prior to the draft.

Along with a memo detailing the 78 combine invites, the NBA also sent teams a list of prospects that have been designated “Top-10” players by a new composite ranking used to determine how to disperse medical information for the draft’s most elite prospects.

This composite ranking blended publicly available rankings, a panel of experts and a retained-scouting service to determine which teams are permitted to access NBA combine medical, biomechanical testing and functional movement information.

The NBA informed that Perth’s Sarr is ranked No. 1, meaning only teams selecting in the top 10 will have access to his restricted combine data.

Matas Buzelis (G League Ignite), Stephon Castle (UConn), Clingan (UConn), Risacher (JL Bourg) and Topic (Red Star Belgrade) make up, in alphabetical order, the second group of prospects ranked 2-6. Their medical info only will be shared with teams selecting in the top 15.

Rob Dillingham (Kentucky), Ron Holland (G League Ignite), Dalton Knecht (Tennessee) and Reed Sheppard (Kentucky) are the the third group of prospects ranked 7-10, and their medical info will be shared only with teams picking in the top 25.

The NBA draft will be held June 26-27 in New York City. The first round will be conducted at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, followed by the second round the following day at ESPN’s studio in lower Manhattan.

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