Michigan State basketball’s Max Christie, Michigan’s Moussa Diabate invited to NBA combine

The NBA released the 76 players invited to the NBA scouting combine in Chicago, May 16-22.

Among the invitees are a pair of early entrants that would interest local fans. Freshmen Max Christie, of Michigan State basketball, and Moussa Diabate, of Michigan basketball, both made the cut.

Christie, a 6-foot-6 guard, started all 35 games for the Spartans and emerged from his first college season as perhaps MSU’s best perimeter defending. He started in all but one game last season, averaging 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds. But he seemed to tire in the latter stages of the season and shot just 38.2% overall and 31.7% from the 3-point line.

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Diabate, a 6-11 forward, displayed his explosiveness and rebounding prowess, starting the season as a reserve but becoming a relied-upon tag-team partner for Hunter Dickinson down low for U-M. He averaged 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 54.2% from the field.

Both former five-star recruits in the class of 2021, named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team, have yet to hire agents, so they can still pull out of the NBA draft pool and return to school. The deadline for that decision is June 1. The draft is June 23.

Another former five-star prospect in 2021, Diabate’s teammate Caleb Houstan, also reportedly declared for the draft in April. But he is not on the list for the combine. And he was not on the list for the NBA G League Elite Camp, May 16-17 in Chicago, the de facto second tier of NBA draft hopefuls.

Former Michigan guard Eli Brooks and Michigan State guard Gabe Brown, who passed on a fifth year of eligibility, will be in the G League camp.

Michigan State center Marcus Bingham Jr., who also passed on his final year in college and hired an agent to turn pro, is not on either list.

All of the presumed top draft prospects are on the list for the combine, including Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Duke’s Paolo Banchero, Purdue’s Jaden Ivey,…

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