NBA draft invitations include Morrison, Redick

Updated: June 26, 2006, 9:54 AM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

The NBA doesn't take its invite list to the draft lightly.

The league doesn't want anyone sitting in front of the stage, head down, feeling like the last kid picked for dodge ball in elementary school.

So, this is usually a good indication of who will be the top 15 players in Wednesday's draft, save a few exceptions.

On the exclusive list released Thursday, the NBA invited one foreign player -- Italy's Andrea Bargnani, who may have the inside track on being the top pick in the draft for Toronto, especially after his former general manager of Benetton Treviso (Maurizio Gherardini) was hired as an assistant to Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo. Bargnani is expected to arrive in New York by Monday after winning Italy's top championship.

The other potential contenders for No. 1 -- Texas sophomore center LaMarcus Aldridge, LSU freshman forward Tyrus Thomas and Gonzaga junior forward Adam Morrison made the cut. So, too, did likely top seven players Washington senior guard Brandon Roy, Connecticut sophomore wing Rudy Gay and Duke senior forward Shelden Williams.

Villanova senior guard Randy Foye, Connecticut junior guard Marcus Williams, two point guards who may go in the top 10, also made the cut. Duke senior guard J.J. Redick, fresh off news that he tweaked his back and an arrest for DWI, was invited. But Redick, maybe more than any other player, is expected to handle any added media scrutiny since he was the most interviewed player in college basketball, let alone most watched, last season.

NC State sophomore center Cedric Simmons and Bradley sophomore center Patrick O'Bryant, two players who have been climbing steadily will also be in attendance.

So, too, will Arkansas junior guard Ronnie Brewer, who could go as high as No. 7 to Boston but may also slide to the mid-teens, will be there, too. Memphis senior forward Rodney Carney and Connecticut senior center Hilton Armstrong appear to float anywhere from No. 9 to 16.

The uninvited players who could leap into the top 15 are 6-6 Thabo Sefolosha, who plays for Angelico Biella in Italy, 6-11 Saer Sene who is from Senegal but plays in Belgium, Villanova sophomore point Kyle Lowry, Kentucky sophomore point Rajon Rondo, 6-3 point Sergio Rodridguez of Spain, Temple senior guard Mardy Collins, Michigan State junior guard Shannon Brown, Rutgers junior guard Quincy Douby and Memphis freshman forward Shawne Williams.

The NBA doesn't prevent players who are in attendance in the stands from walking up and shaking the commissioner's hand (or the deputy in the second round) even if they aren't on the official invite list. Every year there are players who are in the stands that make their way to the stage.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com