NBA Combine: Blue, Rice among those to watch

NBA Combine: Blue, Rice among those to watch
May 16, 2013, 10:15 am
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Obviously much of the attention over the next two days at the NBA Combine will focus on the lottery picks, especially for teams owning one of those selections like the Wizards, including players like Otto Porter Jr. and Shabazz Muhammad. Of course more than five dozen players were invited for workouts, interviews and measurements. Some others could sneak into the lottery or be available for the Wizards with one of their two second-round picks.

Whether you're one of those that watches every minute of the NBA Combine on TV or monitors the news about the Wizards and the rest of the NBA online (our J. Michael is filing reports from Chicago), here are five non-lottery projected players (and not names reportedly meeting with the Wizards) to keep an eye on along with their overall ranking per

Vander Blue, Marquette (55)-- The dynamic 6-foot-4 wing guard carried the Golden Eagles offensively throughout the season (14.8 ppg) and certainly during the NCAA Tournament and all the way to the East Regional championship game. Even if the Wizards re-sign their key free agents (Martell Webster, A.J. Price, Garrett Temple), the backup slot behind Bradley Beal is wide open. Blue makes opponents feel that way with his athleticism and daring drives to the basket.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia (15) - Though currently on the cusp of being a lottery pick, Caldwell-Pope could easily jump into the top-10 by draft day as teams get a closer look at his combination of physical and shooting gifts. As a sophomore, the talented 6-foot-6 scoring guard led the Bulldogs in scoring (18.5 ppg), rebounding (7.1) and steals (2.0). Knocked down 37.3 of his 3-point attempts despite taking seven per game and being the constant focus of opposing defenses. His size would allow the  Wizards to use three-guard lineups with Beal and John Wall. If you like players with sweet names and all-around games, this is the one for you.

Erik Murphy, Florida (52) -- John Wall ended the season saying the Wizards need a stretch-four for next season. The 6-foot-10 Murphy drained 45.3 percent of his 3-point attempts this past season, his third straight campaign shooting at least 40 percent from beyond the arc. More than half of Murphy's overall shots came from distance. Also averaged a healthy 5.5 rebounds in 26 minutes per game.

Glen Rice Jr., NBDL (24) - After two up-and-down seasons at Georgia Tech, unique circumstances led the 6-foot-6 wing spent the past season helping the Rio Grande Valley Vipers win the NBDL title. Despite playing with actual pros, the son of former NBA star and Final Four MOP Glen Rice shined during the postseason, averaging 25 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, two blocks and two steals during the postseason. Questions about his character and attitude follow Rice into this process, which is why he's certainly a player with plenty to prove during the combine.

Nate Wolters, South Dakota St. (37) -- One of those college players everyone loves in part because the senior point guard did his thing off the beaten path with the Jackrabbits. Also because the 6-foot-4 Wolters brings scoring punch (over 21.3 pppg each of last two seasons, perimeter shooting (37.9 percent from 3-point range last season) and court vision (at least 5.8 assists in each of his last three seasons). Could make sense for the Wizards in the second round even if Price or Temple return.

Others: Mike Muscala (Bucknell, center), Kenny Kadji (Miami, stretch-four), Tony Snell (New Mexico, wing guard)