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Former Louisville player Ray Spalding reported he has received positive feedback from NBA teams at the combine.
Jon Hale, Louisville Courier Journal

CHICAGO – Louisville coach Chris Mack has said he was “never under the illusion” Ray Spalding or Deng Adel were returning to school for their senior seasons when he took the job.

For Spalding, the decision to sign with an agent, closing the door on a return to school, had nothing to do with the coaching change at Louisville though, he said Thursday at the NBA combine.

“It wasn’t a factor at all,” Spalding said. “Coach Chris Mack and his staff, they recruited me out of high school over at Xavier, so I was pretty comfortable with him. He’s a great guy, great family man, great role model as well. Great basketball coach.”

At a news conference in April, Mack said Spalding and Adel stayed in contact via text message to let him know their decision-making process.

“Me not seeing it on Twitter for the very first time, they didn’t owe me that,” Mack said. “It shows the type of guys that they are.”

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“I think I have that respect for him and myself to just let him now I kind of feel like my time is to go,” Spalding said. “He told me if I needed anything, any time I want to come back home and get some shots up I’m free to. He’d be here for me throughout this whole process.”

Like Adel, Spalding was not originally on the list of players expected to be at the combine released by the NBA on May 7, but he was added to the event as other players backed up this week.

The Trinity High School graduate ranked sixth among players at the combine in wingspan (7 feet 4.75 inches), but at 6 foot 10 and 215.4 pounds, he weighed more than just one other power forward or center at the event.

“I’ve got positive feedback,” Spalding said. “The main feedback I’ve gotten back is my competitive edge, I’ve showed that a lot more. Of course, I have to gain more weight. Look forward to that.”

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ESPN currently ranks Spalding has the No. 56 prospect in the draft class but does not include him among the 60 players selected in its most recent mock draft.

Spalding has already visited with five teams and has another workout scheduled for May 31.

In his first five-on-five scrimmage Thursday, Spalding totaled six points on 2-of-7 shooting to go with nine rebounds and one block.

“It’s a blessing, a tremendous opportunity,” Spalding said. “Just glad I can be here and share this moment.”

Jon Hale: jahale@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @JonHale_CJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/jonh.