CHICAGO – It wasn’t quite the Wonderlic, but Kansas State’s Wesley Iwundu received a question from Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra at the NBA Combine that he’s sure he will not hear from any other team.
“If I roll the ball under the table, who would get it you or Rodney McGruder?” Spoelstra asked the 6-foot-7 wingman who counts the Heat forward – and former Wildcat – as a “good friend.
“I said ‘Rod is my guy, but for sure I’ll get it,’” Iwundu said. “Just some fun competition there. Rodney is a good guy.”
Iwundu is one of 67 players to participate in the three-day NBA Combine at the Quest Multisport Complex. The Heat will interview their allotted 20 players by Friday and then work out others in Miami before the June 22 draft.
Several players made available to the media on Thursday said they met with the Heat in the last two days. Others have an interview or workout scheduled.
“I think they try to stress you out and see if you can handle it,” said Semi Ojeleye, a 6-7 power forward from SMU who met with the Heat.
Several Heat executives were involved in the interviews including Spoelstra, President Pat Riley, GM Andy Elisburg, vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer and director of basketball development Shane Battier.
The Heat interviewed players at the combine who are not coming to Miami for a private workout, many being possible targets if they trade for a second-round pick or even sign as undrafted free agents.
Miami has the 14th pick entering Tuesday’s lottery and just a 1.8 percent chance of moving into the top three. Miami does not own a second round pick.
“It’s all part of the process,” Kammerer said about the interviews at the combine. “What this does is it gives you a little bit of a feel whether there is anything there that concerns you.”
Two players on the Heat radar played their college ball in Florida. Florida State’s 6-6 shooting guard Dwayne Bacon will work out in Miami next week and Florida’s 6-8 forward Devin Robinson has a meeting scheduled with the Heat at the combine on Friday. Robinson attended the Heat-Lakers game this season in Miami.
UCLA’s TJ Leaf, a 6-10 power forward, has yet to meet with the Heat but said he has been in contact with Miami and expects to work out at AmericanAirlines Arena sometime after the combine.
Leaf, who is leaving after his freshman season, is projected to be drafted anywhere from No. 10 to No. 20 overall. And he does his homework, studying the rosters of team’s that have shown interest in him.
“Coach Spoelstra did a heck of a job with that roster,” Leaf said, adding that Dion Waiters “really came along” and singling out the play of center Hassan Whiteside and point guard Goran Dragic.
“They have a lot of weapons,” he said. “I think if they would have made the playoffs they could have made some noise.”
The Heat also met with Jordan Bell, a 6-9 power forward from Oregon projected to go late first or early second round. The conversation steered toward his defense. Bell was named the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“Teams like that who are mostly defensive minded those are the teams I fit best on because I hang my hat on playing defense, blocking shots,” Bell said. “An organization like that would be a great fit for me.”
Others who have interviewed with the Heat at the combine: a pair of South Carolina shooting guards, Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier; Villanova shooting guard Josh Hart, Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, Iowa shooting guard Peter Jok and North Carolina power forward Isaiah Hicks.
Kadeem Allen, a shooting guard from Arizona, met with the Heat at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.
North Carolina wing Justin Jackson, the ACC player of the year, said the Heat are interested in him but nothing has been set up as of yet.