Hard at work in Santa Barbara preparing for this year’s NBA Draft, ex-Gophers star Daniel Oturu has spent the month of July honing his skills and building up his body for the next level.
Oturu hasn't started the process of talking with NBA teams. But the 6-foot-10 Woodbury product learned recently he would be invited to the NBA Draft Combine when it takes place this summer.
Oturu and ex-Duke point guard and Apple Valley product Tre Jones received emails from the NBA in the last week informing them they were selected to the combine, sources told the Star Tribune.
The NBA told invitees the combine's date, location and format were not known at this time.
It's uncertain with safety concerns during the pandemic whether the combine will be mostly virtual or also include in-person interviews, workouts, drills and measurements.
The draft combine had been scheduled for May 21-24 in Chicago before the draft was postponed due to COVID-19.
Oturu, who was an All-Big Ten first team and All-America center as a sophomore last season, is expected to be the first Gophers player drafted since Kris Humphries in 2004. He has been projected as a consensus first round pick by mock drafts. Some draft analysts have him being taken in the second round.
"Love or no love most important thing is how NBA teams feel about you," Oturu told the Star Tribune this summer. "I just have to continue to work and show people who I am as a person and a basketball player. I think that people are starting to come around and start to realize about me. Even though I had a great season, I felt like I think I was not as high profile as other guys in the draft class. But I’m just continuing to work and to show NBA teams why I’m a first-round talent."
Around 20 NBA teams have already scheduled interviews with Oturu. But he's not in any rush to start that part of the process. His training in Santa Barbara will last another five weeks.
The combine is expected to take place some time after the Aug. 20 draft lottery. The NBA Draft has been rescheduled for Oct. 16.