In a 76ers predraft workout that featured an NCAA Final Four player and plenty of shooters, there was one player in the gym on Friday whose presence was too large to ignore.
Christ Koumadje, a 7-foot-4 center from Florida State, stood out in a workout that Marc Eversley, the Sixers vice president of player personnel, said was all about defense.
“He can really control the paint and block a lot of shots,” Eversley said. “Defense was kind of the theme today.”
In four years at Florida State, Koumadje slowly worked his way into a starting role and finished his senior season averaging 6.6 points and 5.6 rebounds. But it was on the defensive side of the ball that he made his name. As a senior, Koumadje had 52 blocks in 37 games, all starts.
Players of Koumadje’s size often have a hard time keeping up with the pace of the game, especially at the NBA level, but Eversley said that’s not the case with Koumadje.
“You know what, for 7-4 he moves fairly well," Eversley said. "He’s got good feet, he’s really active, and again he just takes up so much space. Foot speed-wise, he’s pretty good.”
A Chad native, Koumadje said he grew up playing soccer, which is where he learned to be quick and move his feet well. If he makes it to the NBA, he would be the first player in the league from Chad, which is something he said would mean a lot to him and his community.
In predraft workouts, it can be difficult to show off defensive capabilities through a few drills and 3-on-3 scrimmages, but Koumadje came away confident Friday, believing he showed what he’s worth.
“It’s just about being vocal first,” he said. “Calling out screens, moving your feet. It’s not so much about blocking every shot, but if you can contest and make them miss then get some rebounds and box out.”
Bryce Brown, a senior guard out of Auburn known for his shooting prowess, was also part of the workout. Brown shot 41 percent from three-point range, averaged 15.9 points, and was the SEC Tournament MVP this season. He scored 24 points in an Elite Eight victory over Kentucky that took Auburn to the Final Four.
Though his shooting is an obvious point of interest for teams looking at Brown, he hopes he can show that he’s a well-rounded player ready for the next level.