Bol Bol may be the biggest unknown heading into tonight’s NBA Draft (7 p.m. EST, ESPN). On one hand, the former Oregon center boasts an impressive 7-foot-2 frame, complete with a 52 percent rate from 3-point land. On the other, he only played nine games last year for the Ducks due to a season-ending foot injury.
A few weeks after a Dec. 12 stress fracture against San Diego, Bol announced his college career was over via a post on Instagram.
“Playing for my dream school under my favorite Coach Altman has been the Best part of my life and sadly it has come to end sooner than I would Like but thank you for all those who rocking with me & all Oregon fans. I’m coming back 100x harder & for all the people who doubt me and hate on me keep on doing it #goducks.”
Since then, he has showed up to workouts, showing that he can put enough weight on the foot to show off his elite athleticism. Here’s a video of a workout he did back in March.
He was also quoted this week that he’s “100 percent healthy.” TMZ Sports reported that he was dancing at a Los Angeles nightclub “with a bunch of attractive ladies.”
This would jive with the typical recovery time for stress fractures. According to Ortho Info, athletes should expect to be healthy “6 to 8 week” after the initial fracture. With Bol suffering his back in mid-December, he would’ve been ready to start working out again in mid-February, at least.
When he was healthy, he averaged 21 points and nearly 10 rebounds a game for the Ducks, adding 2.7 blocks per contest. He scored a combined 49 points against fellow NCAA Tournament teams Houston and Syracuse.
It’s that production that has many pegging him as a first-round pick. Let’s take a look at the most recent projections.
Bol Bol NBA Draft Projections & Mocks
The son of former NBA blocks leader Manute Bol was called “a Whole New Kind of Basketball Player” by The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman.
Bol is an effective shot blocker; he blocked 12.4 percent of opposing shots while he was on the floor at Oregon, a figure that would’ve ranked 10th in college basketball if he’d played a qualifying number of minutes. But his shot is the skill which makes him an NBA player. He hit on 52 percent of his 25 attempts at Oregon and 48.9 percent on 45 attempts on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit. His father’s shot had a windup like a Fernando Valenzuela screwball and launched from well above his head. “It was kind of like a slingshot,” says Bol of his father’s shot. Meanwhile Bol shoots from out in front of his face. It might be blockable, but it’s reliable.
In terms of mock drafts, our own Jonathan Adams has him going No. 20 to the Celtics, who acquired the pick in a trade with the Clippers. With the recent snub from Anthony Davis and loss of Al Horford, Bol would be an immediate plug-in for the Boston frontcourt.
Meanwhile, SI.com’s Jeremy Woo has Bol going a few spots higher to the Indiana Pacers at No. 18 overall. He notes that several teams will not go for the risk, as his most recent NBA workout went for just 30 minutes, but that his 3-point shooting and blocking acumen deserve a look from someone early.
On the other hand, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz had Bol as a lottery selection during NCAA Tournament time. They had him coming off the board at No. 14 overall, which would also be to Boston.
With the injury risk, expect a more established team to take him as a project. Lottery teams don’t have much room for error, so they are probably going for sure things. However, Bol could be an immediate producer off the bench for a playoff contender.