SACRAMENTO - Draft season is roaring in Sacramento. Well, maybe it’s idling quietly, just waiting for the right moment to pounce. For the second time in a week, the Kings paraded six draft hopefuls through the practice facility, one even had to duck to get through the door.
When the screen lifted in Sacramento, 7-foot-6 big man, Mamadou Ndiaye, stood out like a sore thumb. This isn’t Sim Bhullar 2.0. Ndiaye has an incredible frame, including an 8-foot-1 wingspan. He has the potential to go in the second round of the draft and he has already hired an agent, so there is no going back to UC Irvine.
The 22-year-old out of Dakar, Senegal, hit 18-foot jumpers from the top of the key, shooting down at the rim despite not leaving his feet.
“Mamadou, he’s a great guy, I love playing against him,” draft prospect Nick Faust said. “He plays with a lot of heart. To have him on my team in 3-on-3 was a little different, but he’s a great competitor, he plays hard.”
Faust knows Ndiaye well from their matchups in the Big West Conference. While Ndiaye was helping the UC Irvine Anteaters to a 28-10 overall record, Faust was busy making strides at Long Beach State. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard posted solid numbers at Long Beach after spending three seasons with the Maryland Terrapins.
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“Great transition for me,” Faust said of transferring to Long Beach. “Sometimes I sit back and say, ‘What if I would have stayed at Maryland?' Would I be in this predicament that I am right now or would I be working a 9-5?”
Faust is a big time athlete who finished his senior year averaging 17.7 points on 36.7 percent shooting from long range for the 49ers. He has the quickness to be a defensive specialist at the next level, although he’ll need to bulk up from his current 172-pound frame.
“I’m very quick on my feet, I can guard a lot of different guys - the 1, 2, 3,” Faust said. “That is future potential - maybe I can be a 3-and-D guy. Any role, I’m taking it.”
Eastern Washington banger, Venky Jois, joined the workout as well. Whether it was a skewed perspective after seeing Ndiaye moments earlier or a generous college measurement, the productive forward looked three or four inches shorter than his listed 6-foot-8. Jois posted 16.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in his senior season with the Eagles.
“This was my first (workout) and it was just an eye-opening experience,” the Australian-born Jois said. “It was really fun to compete against some really good players.”
Joining Ndiaye, Faust and Jois was 7-foot center Mike Tobey out of Virginia, Wake Forest guard Codi Miller-McIntyre and shooter Anthony Beane out of Southern Illinois.
The Kings are scheduled to take the weekend off from draft workouts before returning next Tuesday with another group. There is no word yet on who will be in attendance.
Despite opting out of his contract following the season and becoming a restricted free agent, Seth Curry was in attendance at the Kings practice facility Tuesday afternoon. The 25-year-old guard played well down the stretch and is looking for more security than the one-year, league-minimum deal he had with the Kings. A return to Sacramento is still a possibility, but the Kings will likely let Curry set his market price before deciding whether to match a potential offer sheet.