One is from Saint-Etienne, France, the other is from Dallas. One played in the National League of France, the other in the Big 12. They're both 20 years old. They're both on the NBA draft radar of the 76ers.
To exactly what extent, only the Sixers know. But Alexis Ajinca, a 7-1 center who played this past season with Hyeres-Toulon, and Darrell Arthur, a 6-9 forward who spent the last two seasons with the University of Kansas, are scheduled to work out today at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
They will be joined by Saint Joseph's Rob Ferguson, back for a second visit, and Drexel's Frank Elegar, who played for the U.S. Virgin Islands in Olympic qualifying competition; the Sixers have carefully offered opportunities and exposure to local players. They hold the No. 16 pick in Thursday night's draft and have said they are primarily interested in a post player.
Based on information in the NBA's media draft guide, Ajinca has never been much of a scorer but has in his favor athleticism, shot-blocking skills and an impressive wingspan. He played for the World Select Team in the most recent Nike Hoops Summit in Portland, and was a member of his country's gold medal team that won the Under-18 World Championships in 2006. According to his agent, Bouna Ndiaye, he has added about 20 pounds to his listed weight of 220 and has worked out for teams above and below No. 16.
Arthur averaged 12.8 points and 6.3 rebounds for Kansas this season. In a conference call yesterday, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said that, of the three Kansas underclassmen in the draft - guards Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush are the others - Arthur has "the highest ceiling."
Bilas said he has seen Ajinca on tape.
"You keep hearing about guys rising up [in draft projections], and he's one of them," Bilas said.
Andre Buck, the agent for Rider big man Jason Thompson, said there was "a possibility" Thompson could visit the Sixers tomorrow or Thursday. Thompson has been repeatedly linked to Golden State as a possibility at No. 14 and worked out Sunday with Ohio State's Kosta Koufos for No. 15 Phoenix. "In the beginning, the interest was from teams 20-30, but the interest has increased," said Buck, a former Delaware player.
"He's had as many workouts as anybody." . . . Temple's Mark Tyndale, another of Buck's clients, has also been making the rounds.
He was in Milwaukee yesterday and was scheduled to work out today for the Los Angeles Lakers. "He has a great chance to be in a [training camp]," Buck said. *