The NBA Draft Combine is off and running in Chicago and based on what experts are saying, Morehead State star Kenneth Faried was one of the biggest winners on day one.
For those who tuned into the live coverage being shown on ESPNU it was readily apparent that the 6-foot-8 (we'll see later) was one of, if not the hardest working players to take the floor in front of representatives from all 30 NBA teams. With the bigs taking part in basic drills that involved elevating for rebounds, finishing basic post moves, showing off their jumper and defending the pick and roll, the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder displayed the constant motor that makes him so appealing to pro scouts and GM's. Nowhere was this more obvious than when the players were asked to complete a simple full court sprint which Faried easily won by several strides. It was a microcosm of the morning session in which he exuded effort. He already appeals to a lot of teams given his tremendous prowess on the boards - a skill that translates well to the pro level as we've seen.
Faried also won some points during an on-air interview with ESPN's Andy Katz, proving both humble and refreshingly honest. When asked who he thinks he compares to at the pro level he stated such workhorses as Paul Millsap and DeJuan Blair (good comparisons) and when asked about possibly playing a Ben Wallace kind of role in the NBA, was humble in accepting this praise. These are little victories to be sure, but as we've seen in the past, character and perceived work ethic are definitely factors that impact decisions on draft day, be they for they positive or negative when considering the player.
According to both Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Chad Ford of ESPN, Faried definitely impressed the teams in attendance today.
All in all, a great start for a player that could very well sneak into the back end of the lottery, but almost assuredly will be a first round pick.