The Milwaukee Bucks did more than just check out prospective players at the recent pre-draft camp in Chicago.
They also checked out a potential head coach: Michael Curry.
Curry has been the associate head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers the last three seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the Detroit Pistons for one season, compiling a 39-43 record.
Curry also played in the NBA for 11 seasons with six teams, including the Bucks from 1997-1999.
Curry couldn’t be reached for comment, and the Bucks don’t comment on coaching candidates.
Curry is the latest in a lengthy list of individuals interviewed by the Bucks. They also interviewed former Portland and Seattle head coach Nate McMillan, Houston associate head coach Kelvin Sampson, Houston assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff and Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford.
Additionally, Bucks officials met with Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan and former Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy and are expected to meet with Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins once the Grizzlies season ends.
There is increasing speculation the Bucks intend to wrap up their coaching search by the end of this week.
BUCKS FAN: When it comes to destination points for pro basketball players, Milwaukee ranks closer to the bottom than the top for most of them.
But Tony Mitchell doesn’t really care. Mitchell, a small forward from North Texas State who is one of the more intriguing players in the draft, said he actually hopes the Bucks select him during the June 27 draft.
“I like Milwaukee,” said Mitchell, who lived in Milwaukee for about five years before moving to Grand Prairie, Texas. “I was born there and I still have a lot of family living there.
“I have two uncles there, I have four aunts there and my grandparents Betty and Wilbert Baker are there.
“It would really be nice to play for the Milwaukee Bucks.”
The Bucks probably wouldn’t mind having Mitchell playing for them, either. At 6-foot-7, 236 pounds, he is a physical specimen. He has a 38-inch vertical leap, a 33-inch standing vertical — which was the fifth best at the pre-draft camp — and an impressive 7-2 1/2 wingspan.
Mitchell put those attributes to good use as a freshman at North Texas State, averaging 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds. He and Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, who was the No. 1 overall selection in last summer’s draft by New Orleans, were the only NCAA Division I freshmen to register double-doubles for the season.
But Mitchell’s numbers went south this season. He averaged 13 points and 8.5 rebounds. That sent up a red flag among some NBA scouts, who are projecting him as a late-first or early-second round selection.
Miller said he’s on a mission to change that projection during upcoming workouts. He hopes to convince NBA officials that the perception of him being, at times, a malingerer on the court is wrong.
If he’s successful in doing that, his stock could soar. Some NBA scouts said his physical abilities are comparable to Denver Nugget forward Kenneth Faried and that he’s an even better offensive performer. Mitchell embraces the comparison.
“I’m athletic, I can run the floor, I can finish above the rim, just like him,” said Mitchell, referring to Faried. “I know I’m supposed to be a late first or early second pick, but I want to show them (NBA officials) that I’m better than that, that I’m a top 20 player, at least.”
BANNER YEAR: Mark Bartelstein, a prominent NBA agent, is basking in a richly-rewarding year.
Bartelstein not only landed two projected first-round picks — Tim Hardaway Jr. of Michigan and Mason Plumlee of Duke — for the upcoming draft, but saw two of his children experience athletic success.
Bartelstein’s son, Josh, was a senior reserve guard and captain on Michigan’s national runner-up basketball team. His daughter, Courtney, earned all-state honors last week after running a leg on the Highland Park High School’s 4x100-meter relay that finished eighth in the Illinois state track and field meet.
BONUS SHOTS: One of the best workouts has been taking place in a Washington D.C. gym. That’s where ex-Indiana star Victor Oladipo, a lottery lock, has been going against Germany point guard Dennis Schroeder, a potential lottery selection. ... Trevor Mbakwe, who began his college career at Marquette and ended it at Minnesota, raised some eyebrows with a stellar performance at the Brooklyn combine. ... Duke guard Seth Curry, the son of former Bucks guard Dell Curry, is recovering from a stress fracture in right shin and won’t work out for any teams. Nevertheless, several teams have shown interest in him, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston and New York.