Stephen R. Sylvanie / USA TODAY Sports

ANALYSIS: Breaking down Ivan Rabb's performance at the NBA Combine, NBA future

What impressed the experts in Ivan Rabb's day at the NBA Combine? What does his future hold in the NBA? Experts and Cal head coach Wyking Jones chime in after Rabb's first day in Chicago.

Former California forward Ivan Rabb, who decided to forego his final two years of eligibility and sign with an agent following the 2016-17 season, arrived in Chicago this week, following the last of his finals, to compete in the NBA Draft Combine.

"For me, Rabb, NBA guys are saying he'd probably go in the 10-15 range last year," ESPN analyst Jeff Goodman said in a pre-combine conference call. "He probably won't go that high this year, but I think he'll be more prepared hopefully to stay in the NBA and make an impact after two years in college, rather than one. He's a really bright kid. He's halfway to getting his degree now. I don't think it's a loss [staying another year] as some people will try to make it out to be for Ivan Rabb. As long as he goes in the first round, goes to a good situation with a good team, that he can kind of grow with, he'll be fine." Rabb was selected a Division I All-District IX pick by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He led Cal in double-doubles (17), rebounds (324, 10.5 rpg), field goals (151) and free throws (124) in 31 appearances, missing three games due to injury. Rabb added 48 assists, 31 blocks and 21 steals, and tallied five 20-point games, scoring in double figures 24 times. This season, he turned in the sixth-highest single-season total for rebounds, and was 11th on single-season rolls for rebounding average. 

"I don't have any regrets," Rabb said, of returning for a second go-around in Berkeley. "I felt like I matured a lot mentally, physically, and I got a chance to showcase what I can do a little bit more. I took a big step in the right direction, and I'm ready for the next step."

Rabb’s 29 career double-doubles are the second-most by any Cal player in the last 20 seasons.  He ranks among the top 10 in all-time Cal records for his career rebounding average (T6th, 9.5 rpg), field goal percentage (8th, .554) and blocked shots total (9th, 73).

Rabb finishes his career having shot 54.4% from the field, 40.9% from beyond the three-point arc and 66.6% from the free throw line. He's averaged 13.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game for his career in Berkeley.

"The main thing I tell [NBA general managers] is that I rebound, and that translates all the time," Rabb said. "I know that I can rebound. I know that I can run the floor, finish around the basket, so that's the main thing. I can't wait to get a chance to show them how well I'm shooting the ball, how well I can put it on the floor. They know I'm a high-character guy. I think all of that stuff will translate, and I'm going to keep getting better."

New head coach Wyking Jones, in a wide-ranging interview on Thursday, touched on what NBA teams can expect from Rabb.

"He's an unbelievable person, more than anything, who's going to do what it is that you tell him to do," said Jones, who watched some of Rabb's performance in the agility drills. "Ivan's great when you give him a goal. 'Hey, I'm going to need you to get 15 rebounds tonight.' 'OK.' 'He's going to work and do what it is that you want him to do. He's the most coachable kid. He's never going to balk at the system or try to go against what you're telling him to do. Hard worker. No issues off the court, ever. That's, in today's day and age, that's huge. Doesn't get too caught up in social media or hype or entourage or any of that. Just a really level-headed, down-to-earth kid who happens to be very talented in basketball. The best thing about him, is that I know that the NBA won't change him. He'll stay the same Ivan. He'll just always be Ivan. He won't show up here in a fancy car. He's just a level-headed kid." Rabb, who measured in at 6-foot-10 with shoes (6-foot-8.75 without), did not participate in combine spot-up shooting drills, non-stationary shooting drills or five-on-five work.

"I just let it go, with my decision," Rabb said, referring to his agent recommending he not participate in the full-court workouts. "At the same time, I feel like he knows what's best. I get to show what I can do when I work out for teams."

His 12.68-second lane agility time was fourth-worst among players who participated on Thursday, but he did come in 11th in the shuttle run (3.23 seconds). Rabb's 3.35-second three-quarter court sprint was 17th out of 23 players who participated, and his official standing vertical leap was a 28.5, squarely in the middle of the pack. His max vertical (32.5 inches) was tied for second in the early goings, but he fell down to 30th by the time measuring was complete on the first day.

"This is pretty big, for Ivan Rabb, because everyone knows he's a really good rebounder, but his added bonus, is in terms of his agility, has been called into question," said ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla. "This could really help him -- these shuttle runs and these verticals and the athletic testing -- it can only help Ivan Rabb. He doesn't have good body balance. He's got great rebounding instincts. People thought he was a top-10 pick a year ago. I still think he's going to be a good NBA rebounder, but his agility and his lower-body strength definitely has to improve."

Rabb's wing span measured in at 7-foot-1.5, and his standing reach came in at 9 feet, 1 inch. He weighed in at 219.6 pounds (6.8% body fat), with a 9-inch hand width and an 8.75-inch hand length.

"The testing was really fun, because we had a lot of guys over there, like T.J. [Leaf], Justin [Jackson], and a few other guys. We all just talked and encouraged each other."

After Rabb was finished working out, he was grilled by several ESPN analysts, including Fraschilla, who called Rabb "six feet, 11 inches of Silly Putty," in a good way.

"A team is going to mold what he already does well," Fraschilla said. "His footwork and balance definitely needs work. I'm disappointed that he wasn't taught to be a better low-post player in college ... It's all about his lower-body balance, and it's so disappointing, because athletically, being high-character and seeing rebounding instincts, the team that drafts him is going to get a rebounder with great attitude, great hustle, but then, he's going to have to be taught a little bit more how to be a low-post guy."

Throughout that whole dissection, Rabb listened in on a headset, and responded with a simple, "Yes, sir."

"Ivan, I love everything that you do," Fraschilla said. "But, when you get to rookie camp, they're going to work with you on your lower-body balance, because you need to be able to hold your ground in the low post. We know what kind of energy and rebounding instincts you have, but that's going to be something that translates to the league. As you know really well, you spent another year at Cal, you're going to be playing with men." Again: "Yes, sir. I know it," Rabb said. "I think it's a big step. I know I have a lot of work to do, I'm willing to work, and that's all that matters. Whoever takes me, I'm a high-character guy, somebody who's going to work and going to listen, and I think that's a step in the right direction."

"Teams are going to fall in love with him, and then as soon as summer camp comes, in Las Vegas, the player development guys are going to start to break him down," Fraschilla continued, again, with Rabb still listening on the headset. "They're going to start to break you down, Ivan, and they're going to start to teach you the NBA way. You played for good coaches at Cal."

Fraschilla then asked what Rabb can show NBA teams that he didn't show at Cal, because of the scoring load he had to shoulder.

"You'll definitely get a chance to see that I'm comfortable with the ball in my hands," Rabb said. "I'm a way better shooter than I was, way more fluid. I'm feeling better as an athlete. I'm moving better. I just think there's a lot of positive stuff that's going on with me, and I'm going to keep getting better. I'm not worried about my weaknesses now, because I'm working on them, and I'm going to keep building on my strengths, as well."

Fraschilla noted that they had just gotten a glimpse "into the most valuable part of the event," which, he said, were the interviews with NBA executives. Rabb's self-awareness has played well.

Jones has not gotten much feedback from NBA execs, but as the preceding exchange demonstrates, "he's been doing really well in his interviews," Jones said. Executives, Jones said, have been pleased.

"There's 30 stars in that league, and 420 role players," Fraschilla said. "What he's going to be is a running, rebounding young big guy. Catch some lobs and pick and roll, defend on the perimeter, and if he does those things well, he'll make a lot of money." Top Stories