May 10, 2013
James Ennis, selected the Big West Conference Player of the Year and an All-American this season, has been invited to participate in the NBA Pre-Draft Combine, held in Chicago next week (May 16-17).
He is believed to be the first Long Beach State player to participate in the current set-up of the camp, to which the top eligible American and International prospects are invited each year to perform skills testing via drills in front of multiple representatives from each of the league's 30 franchises. No five-on-five games are played. Players also are interviewed by team personnel.
"We are excited that James has been invited to the pre-draft workouts in Chicago," said LBSU Head Coach Dan Monson. "It is a great personal achievement for him, and certainly something everyone in our program is proud of. We all wish him much success." The 2013 NBA Draft will be held the evening of June 27 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Ennis, who transferred to Long Beach in the fall of 2011 after earning All-State honors at Ventura Community College, would become the first 49er drafted since 1998, when center Andrew Betts was chosen in the second round by Charlotte.
NBADraft.net projects Ennis as the 30th (and final) pick in the first round, to Phoenix. DraftExpress.com lists Ennis as the 21st choice in the second round, to Orlando.
Ennis is the only player from the Big West invited to the camp, and one of just three players from Southern California schools on the list of 61 invitees published by DraftExpress.com Thursday night.
Over the past two seasons the 49ers played against 14 of the players receiving invitations: Reggie Bullock (North Carolina); Michael Carter-Williams and James Southerland (Syracuse); Dewayne Dedmon (USC); Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Silva (Louisville); Jamaal Franklin (San Diego State); Solomon Hill and Grant Jerrett (Arizona); Pierre Jackson (Baylor); Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA); Tony Snell (New Mexico); Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State); and Jeff Withey (Kansas).
Ennis was among the most heavily decorated players in the West in 2012-13. Besides his BWC and All-American honors (honorable mention by the Associated Press), he was also a first-team all-district selection by the United State Basketball Writers Association and the National Association of Basketball Coaches Association. He averaged 16.5 points and 6.7 rebounds as the 49ers finished 19-14.
Ennis, who scored in double figures over his final 32 games as a 49er (dating to the end of the 2011-12 season), was a key member of teams that won consecutive Big West Conference regular-season titles.
The 49ers won the BWC Tournament title in 2012, earning the program's first spot in the NCAA Tournament since 2007 in the process. Ennis scored 13 points with seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in the team's 75-68 NCAA tourney loss to New Mexico in Portland.
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