Former LSU standouts Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey will attempt to take advantage of an opportunity to enhance their draft status in the NBA combine this week in Chicago.
Sixty-two draft prospects began six days of physical and medical testing as well as interviews Tuesday in Chicago to kick off the final six-week stretch of preparations for the NBA draft, which will be held June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 6-foot-10 Martin and 6-8 Mickey were All-Southeastern Conference first-team picks this season, forming one of the nation’s top power forward tandems as LSU went 22-11 and received its first NCAA tournament berth since 2009.
Both gave up their final two years of eligibility to enter the draft within two weeks of LSU’s last-seconds 66-65 setback to North Carolina State in the NCAA tournament.
Martin, a former McDonald’s All-American from Madison Prep, and Mickey were among 48 college players who applied for early eligibility along with 43 international prospects.
Martin, who was generally considered to be a late first- or early second-round pick when he declared for the draft on March 24, is now solidly projected as a late first-rounder.
Most mock drafts now have Mickey, who also earned a spot on the all-defensive team after leading the SEC and nation in blocked shots, as an early second-round pick.
Martin, who finished third in the SEC in scoring and rebounding last season, apparently will only participate in the physical and medical testing and not take part in the five-on-five scrimmages later this week.
Mickey, who led the SEC in rebounding and blocked shots and was seventh in scoring, is one of 36 players at the combine expected to suit up for the five-on-five work being held for the first time since 2008.
While most of the top first-round prospects won’t be scrimmaging in order to avoid injury, players who are projected as second-round picks and others will have a chance to shine in competitive scenarios in front of front office executives and scouts in full-court situations.
As a result, Martin shows up in the first round on at least five mock drafts.
Two of the five — Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com and Scott Polacek of Bleacher Report — currently have him going 23rd to the Portland Trail Blazers.
NBADraft.net has Martin going 27th to the Los Angeles Lakers, while CBSSports.com writer Gary Parrish has Martin headed to the Boston Celtics at No. 28 with colleague Sam Vecenie having him going 29th to the Brooklyn Nets.
While some mocks don’t go past the first round, Mickey is seen as a high second-rounder by NBADraft.net, going to the Houston Rockets as the 32nd overall pick.
Parrish has him going 34th to the Lakers and Vecenie sees him going 40th to the Miami Heat.
ESPN2 will provide live combine coverage from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.