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Michigan State's Max Christie, Michigan's Moussa Diabate to attend NBA Draft Combine


Michigan State’s Max Christie and Michigan’s Moussa Diabate have landed coveted invites to next week’s NBA Draft Combine.

The league revealed its field of expected participants for the pre-draft showcase, which will be held May 16-22 in Chicago, and the two freshmen were among the 76 players on the list.

Receiving an invitation is a promising sign for Christie and Diabate, considering invites are determined by a vote among NBA front offices. Over the course of the event, the two will get the chance to test and compete in front of NBA teams, and get to interview with them before the NCAA’s June 1 withdrawal deadline arrives.

Christie, a 6-foot-6 wing, started all 35 games for the Spartans and was often tasked with guarding the opponent’s top perimeter player. He averaged 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in a team-high 30.8 minutes per game and shot 31.7% (39-for-123) from 3-point range. However, he seemed to tire down the stretch, scoring in double figures just once in the final eight games.

Diabate, a 6-11 forward, began the year on the bench before quickly moving into the starting lineup. He averaged nine points and six rebounds in 24.8 minutes per game. Diabate was a menace on the glass and did much of his damage down low while being paired in the frontcourt with center Hunter Dickinson, but he wasn't much of a scoring threat away from the basket

The combine will give Christie and Diabate, a pair of former five-star recruits who were named to the All-Big Ten freshman team, an opportunity to improve their draft stock.

Christie’s draft projections range anywhere from a late first-round pick to undrafted, while Diabate’s name hasn’t appeared in most two-round mock drafts. When it comes to top 100 draft prospect rankings, Christie is listed No. 40 by The Athletic and No. 43 by ESPN and Diabate is slotted at No. 51 by The Athletic and No. 68 by ESPN. But that can all change with a strong showing.

Christie and Diabate could potentially be joined by a teammate. Michigan State wing Gabe Brown and Michigan guard Eli Brooks are taking part in the G League Elite Camp in Chicago and could earn an invite to the combine if they stand out at the camp.

One glaring omission from the draft combine list was Michigan freshman forward Caleb Houstan. According to multiple national reports, Houstan was invited to the combine but declined to attend.

Christie, Diabate and Houstan have all retained their eligibility through the pre-draft process and could elect to return for a second season. Early entrants have until June 1 — 10 days after the end of the combine — to officially withdraw their name from the draft, which is set for June 23.

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins