Crash Doesn't Stop Stokes, Craft’s Conditioning Impresses

Ryan Wolf/
by Matt Petersen

At 6-foot-9 and 270 pounds, Jarnell Stokes is one of the most physically imposing draft prospects the Suns have worked out.

More importantly, the former Tennessee standout proved resilient with a solid workout after suffering a mild concussion in a car crash a week ago.

“I think I was able to showcase a couple counter moves [in the post] today and some good skill, but this was a very tough workout,” Stokes said. “I felt like I pushed through as hard as I can and I shot the ball pretty well.”

Pushing through obstacles is something Stokes did a lot of in college, where he averaged 15.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest while shooting 53.5 percent from the field. His play highlighted Tennessee’s run to the Sweet 16:

  • First Round vs. Iowa: 18 points, 13 rebounds, 5-7 FG, 8-11 FT
  • Round of 64 vs. Massachusetts: 26 points, 14 rebounds, 7-11 FG, 12-13 FT
  • Round of 32 vs. Mercer: 17 points, 18 rebounds, five assitss, 6-14 FG, 5-5 FT
  • Sweet 16 vs. Michigan: 11 points, six rebounds, three steals, 5-9 FG

“He’s a physical specimen,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “He’s maybe the strongest guy we’ve had in here. I think he weighed closet o 270 today and he has very good hands and feet for his size. Very productive rebounder. I think there’s a lot of room for growth, there.”

Craft More Than Keeps Up

The workout-ending three-minute drill tends to exact the last bit of energy from most prospects.

Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, however, appeared ready for even more after tying the unofficial high of 28 court lengths set by Archie Goodwin.

“It looked like he could’ve kept going for another three minutes if he wanted to,” McDonough said.

Craft played big minutes for the Buckeyes in all of his four years, which included trips to the Sweet Sixteen (2011), Final Four (2012), Elite Eight (2013) and second round (2014). By the end of his run, he was shooting over 47 percent from the field while adding 4.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals per contest.

“Aaron’s excelled at pretty much everything his whole life,” McDonough said. “ On the court, off the court. He’s a competitor. He’s a winner. His defense stands out. His ability to run a team and get guys in certain spots stands out. He’s in terrific shape.”