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Tom Thibodeau, Gar Forman combine to watch NBA prospects

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Updated: May 16, 2014 11:56PM



Jabari Parker, along with fellow likely lottery picks Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, is not participating in the NBA combine at Quest Multisport on the West Side this week.

Parker’s post-NCAA career path has been quite a bit different than the usual lottery pick. He stayed at Duke after declaring for the draft and finished up his first year of classes. Parker spent the last week working out in Chicago with his older brother Chris, according to a source.

“I haven’t talked to [Parker] about why he didn’t come,” said Duke teammate Rodney Hood, who is participating at the combine. “I’m sure he has a great reason.”

Parker, Wiggins and Embiid started a trend, one that doesn’t thrill the NBA. A dozen players decided not to participate in the drills at the combine. Most made themselves available for interviews, and some will take part in the strength and agility tests on Friday. Parker, Wiggins and Embiid will not participate at all.

“I planned on working out and doing the drills, but my agent [Aaron Mintz] told me yesterday he was going to sit me out,” Michigan State’s Gary Harris said. “I trust him. He said that’s right, so that’s what I’ll do.”

Michigan’s Nik Stauskas, whom the Bulls likely will be interested in if he remains on the board when they pick, didn’t think he had anything to gain by playing in front of the NBA personnel on hand.

“I felt like even if I had a great day shooting the ball, it wasn’t ­really going to do much for me ­because teams already know that’s my strength,” Stauskas said.

The lack of top-echelon talent on the court had plenty of eyes wandering toward the sidelines, especially to watch the interaction between Bulls general manager Gar Forman and coach Tom Thibodeau.

Thibodeau’s name has surfaced in connection with several coaching jobs, adding to the speculation that there’s a rift between Thibodeau and Forman. They began the day sitting in different rows but were sitting near one ­another and chatting amicably by the afternoon session.

Hood was one of the standout players in the afternoon, displaying a shooting touch the Bulls desperately need.

“It felt pretty good, just getting repetitions,” Hood said. “I had a few jitters, but once I got going, I was knocking down shots.”

Hood met with four NBA teams Wednesday night and had seven interviews scheduled for Thursday night. He meets Friday with the Bulls, a team he says would be a perfect fit.

“Most definitely, especially with Derrick [Rose] coming back,” Hood said. “Being able to push the ball and find shooters. I think that’s something they lacked this year. I could come in right away and knock down shots for them.”

Email: mobrien@suntimes.com

Twitter: @michaelsobrien



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