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NBA Draft Combine, Day One: Ryan Richards Makes a Name for Himself

Danny Flynn@FlynnceptionSenior Analyst IMay 21, 2010

The NBA Combine being held in Chicago this weekend may lack the attention of it's NFL counterpart, but it is still an important part of the evaluation process leading up to next month's draft.

On Day One of the combine, televised on ESPNU, the public was able to get an inside glimpse of the workouts usually only privy to NBA GMs, coaches, and personnel.

The combine is similar in nature to the NFL's February event in Indianapolis in the sense that players get measured, undergo physicals, go through individual interviews with different teams, and go through live drills to show off their talents for scouts.

Many of the top names such as John Wall, Evan Turner, Wesley Johnson, and most of the sure fire lottery picks have opted not to go through the workout portion of the combine. However, we were able to see players such as Jarvis Varnado, Patrick Patterson, Paul George, Larry Sanders, Lance Stephenson, and many others sweat it out as they got put through the ringer of drills throughout the workout period.

One off the radar player that seemed to be making quite a name for himself during the telecast was power forward Ryan Richards of England.

Richards came to Chicago without much fanfare as he wasn't considered one of the better international prospects like Dontas Motiejunas of Lithuania.

From what was shown, the 6'10 235 pound lefty looked impressive in the drills and was able to keep pace with many of the top collegiate talents that were competing. He looked smooth and showed off good athleticism for his size.

He will surely have to keep making improvements to his all around game in order to compete at an NBA level but he more than held his own today.

The background on the 19 year old is a positive yet largely unproven one. He has played in both Spain and England throughout his teenage years, spending time on the Kent Crusaders before ultimately moving on to play with Gran Canari in Spain, before being loaned to BBC Monthey in Switzerland this past year.

He first made an impression with NBA scouts back in 2007 when he became the youngest player to ever participate at the Nike Hoop Summit at the age of 15.

Richards by most accounts is still considered to be an extremely raw yet talented prospect and he seems to be your typical "foreign upside" type player that will probably have to spend a few years over in Europe working out the kinks in his game before making any considerable impact in the NBA.

During an interview with Andy Katz, Richards was was asked what he does best. He answered in a point blank manner, "score the basketball." He also discussed his ability to defend on the inside and outside which would make him a versatile asset to an NBA team.

It will certainly be interesting to see how his stock develops over the next month.

Unlike stateside college players, Ryan has until mid-June to decide if he wants to pull out of the draft but after today it looks like he'll be keeping his name in.

If he keeps showing solid skills in future individual workouts like he was able to do today, it would seem very likely for a team to take a flyer on him in the second round of this year's draft.

It only takes one team to fall in love with a player, especially is the case with foreign guys so it's definitely possible for Richards to become a bit of a workout warrior type of player and sneak his way into the end of the first round depending on how the next month goes.