Nevada’s Kendall Stephens Looks To Make Impact At Pro Basketball Combine
The Nevada sharpshooter will participate in this week’s combine event
The PBC begins Tuesday in Florida
No route to professional basketball is the same. Luckily for players like Nevada’s Kendall Stephens, the Pro Basketball Combine provides a valuable platform for former college and high school stars.
The Pro Basketball Combine, which is a developmental combine for NBA prospects, will be held at the IMG Academy in Brandenton, Florida, starting Tuesday. Former college players from various high-major and low-major conferences will be participating in the two-day event. Notable names include Louisville’s Deng Adel, Providence’s Rodney Bullock, West Virginia’s Daxter Miles, and Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate.
Among the competitors, as previously stated, is ex-Wolf Pack sharpshooter Kendall Stephens. The former Purdue Boilermaker spent his last collegiate season as a member of the Nevada Wolf Pack, exploding onto the scene to help lead Eric Musselman’s group to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Stephens’ improvement as a senior pops off the page, while his measurables, style and bloodlines are enough to draw some intrigue from NBA front offices. Everette Stephens, Kendall’s father, played two seasons in the NBA after being selected 31st overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1988 NBA Draft.
Stephens’ ideal role at the pro level would be as a three-and-D wing, meaning his primary focuses would be perimeter shooting and defense. Statistically, it’s hard to find better options when it comes to this prototype. Stephens is one of just two players since 2010 to average a true shooting percentage of 60.0%, 3.0 three-pointers per game, and a block percentage of 2.5% in a single season. The other player who accomplished the feat, Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter, was selected 28th overall in the 2015 draft.
At 6-6 with a soft stroke and long arms, Stephens is able to slice opponents up from long range while also defending multiple positions. During his one and only season in the Mountain West, Stephens broke Jimmer Fredette’s single-season three-point record with 126 made triples.
The Pro Basketball Combine (usually stylized as the “PBC”) is in just its second year, but the opportunity to participate in combine-like workouts and training is huge for players who aren’t guaranteed to hear their names called on draft night.
“It’s a great opportunity for all players,” Jake Kelfer, the founder and director of the Pro Basketball Combine, told Mountain West Wire. “Some players come from elite programs and it’s great to see their skill set outside of the program. For mid-major and lesser-known guys, the PBC is a huge opportunity for these players to play in front of a majority of NBA teams.
Sports Illustrated published a story earlier this week about the initial formation of the event. After the NBA passed the two-way contract rule, which allows players to spend time on both the 15-man and G-League on the same contract, Kelfer – an up-and-coming sports entrepreneur – knew he needed to capitalize on his plans. What soon materialized was a marquee draft combine event hosted in front of dozens of NBA scouts in a state-of-the-art basketball facility.
Former Colorado State and Mountain West Player of the Year Gian Clavell participated in the event last year, cashing in on his pre-draft success by landing an eventual contract with the Dallas Mavericks. Without the event, it’s hard to know whether Clavell would have ever had the opportunity to prove his talent to NBA scouts without going overseas.
“Some of these guys get as much national TV time so a stage like this is big. The PBC also gives players a chance to show what they can do and build some momentum heading into the NBA Draft, Summer League, and beyond,” Kelfer said.
Though currently pegged as an undrafted prospect on most big boards, Stephens will hope to use the PBC as a route towards an NBA contract.
After all, we’ve already seen the dream come to fruition for one former MWC star and PBC alum.