Five prospects with Minnesota connections expect — or hope — to hear their names called on Thursday night:

Mike Muscala

F-C, Bucknell, 6-11, age 21

Hometown: Roseville

Draft range: Late first round to second round

Comment: The 6-1 small forward from high school now is a fully grown NBA prospect who still has the perimeter shooting touch left over from his youth. He’s more pro power forward than center, at least until he gets stronger.

He said: “I’ve had to work hard my whole career. I’ve always been doubted, even coming into Bucknell. I suppose it’s natural coming from a small school, to be a sleeper. I like that challenge of proving people wrong. That motivates me every day.”

Trevor Mbakwe

F, Minnesota, 6-8, age 24

Hometown: St. Paul

Draft range: Second round

Comment: Scouts question his size and old age, but not the motor of a guy who made potential top 10 pick Cody Zeller look like a little boy in a game against Indiana last winter. Compares himself to undersized NBA power forwards Kenneth Faried and Jason Maxiell.

He said: “I’m not one of those guys who has to have the ball in his hands to have an impact on the game. I pride myself on my ability to rebound and defend. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m here today.”


Nate Wolters

G, South Dakota St., 6-5, age 22

Hometown: St. Cloud

Draft range: Late first round to second round

Comment: Small-school point guards are becoming the rage, and this guy — the best St. Cloud ever has produced, he suggests somewhat sheepishly — was a big-time college scorer who’ll find his way in the NBA because of his ball-handling and court vision.

He said: “I didn’t think I’d be in this position three or four years ago. I’ve improved every year. In college, just trying to win, I was forced to score a lot, take a lot of shots. My natural position is more of a facilitator, getting other guys involved. I think I can do that in the league.”

Colton Iverson

C, Colorado St., 7-0, age 23

Hometown: Yankton, S.D.

Draft range: Second round

Comment: Former Gopher who transferred after his junior season because he felt he wasn’t improving established himself as an NBA prospect in two years spent at Colorado State. He’s a legitimate 7-footer, and physical, too.

He said: “I just wasn’t improving [with the Gophers], wasn’t really getting the opportunities I wanted. I wanted to find a place where I could be a team leader and show what I could do on the court. Tough to tell, but I probably wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t [transferred]. I think I’m NBA-ready right now.”

Rodney Williams

F, Minnesota, 6-7, age 21

Hometown: Minneapolis

Draft range: Second round

Comment: Long and athletic, he looked like a future lottery pick after he arrived at Williams Arena four years ago, but he never thrived in coach Tubby Smith’s half-court offense and never seemed to get better. Must make the transition from college power forward to NBA small forward.

He said: “It has been pretty tough, trying to live up to the expectations, having my consistency be so up and down those four years at the U. … I can’t take back what I did or didn’t do. Now it’s time to look forward.”