NBA Draft Combine: Rice, Larkin interview with Bucks, workout scheduled for Dieng

USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NBA Draft Combine opened up in Chicago on Thursday, and the Milwaukee Bucks are already hard at work interviewing prospects and scheduling workouts.

Thursday marked the first day of the 2013 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, with organized drills commencing in between a whole lot of talking. In fact, talking was about all spectators got out of the true top prospects, as the trend of lottery-bound talent opting to sit out real competitive workouts continued. Some players are dealing with injuries, including Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly of Duke, and NC State forward C.J. Leslie. And the top-tier guys who are hurting (like centers Nerlens Noel and Alex Len) likely wouldn't have participated much anyway. That doesn't mean there weren't a lot of faces gathered around the court, whether they were players or the furiously scanning eyes of front-office-types from around the NBA.

The Bucks are currently hard at work searching for their future head coach, something one would expect they'd like to have finished before the draft, but representatives at the Combine have already heard from a few prospects and are organizing workouts with a few select players with more sure to come.

After suggesting the Bucks would focus primarily on this year's crop of guards, Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times reported that a few big men have already been approached by the team:

Dieng is dealing with an ankle injury at the moment and was presumed to be keeping on-court workouts to a minimum, so it's unclear exactly what his meeting with the Bucks would entail. Woelfel also reported that French big man (emphasis on big) Rudy Gobert and Duke senior Mason Plumlee would interview with the team.

On the guard front, one intriguing prospect associated with the Bucks in a few early mock drafts has already talked to the team:

Interviews are sure to be key to Rice's pre-draft strategy. He played extremely well in the D-League and has big-time talent, but his off-court issues were serious enough to get him dismissed from Georgia Tech. Proving he's worth the risk to an NBA team might not be easy.

Gardner also said the Bucks interviewed Florida point guard Shane Larkin on Wednesday and that he would work out for the team later this month. Larkin had a good opinion of the interview and appreciated the "family atmosphere" the Bucks showed. Nice sentiments, sure, but entirely predictable this time of year--what else is he going to say?

We'll surely hear from many more players as the Combine continues, as well as lots of guys who aren't participating. Check back often for the latest updates.

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