Ratke On The Road | 2018 NBA Draft Combine

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Thursday, 1:18 p.m. – Chicago

Good afternoon from the Magic City.

That's right. Your boy is in Chicago.

I’m here for the 2018 NBA Combine. I just ran into Jerry Zgoda at the Star Tribune. He asked me what I was doing here. I said “to cause trouble” and then he started talking to someone else. Good to see you, Jerry! We should start a radio show.

You can expect plenty of content coming from the Combine (galleries and a huge column tomorrow), but this space is reserved for travel thoughts, observations and my snacking decisions.

I left my house around 7:30 a.m., giving myself about three hours at the airport before my flight, which as always, is a horrible idea. The airport is terrible. If I have a kid, we are driving everywhere. No airports. Everyone forgets how to be a human. How to walk? Forgotten. How to talk on the phone at an appropriate volume? Nope. How to flush the toilet in the bathroom? A man can dream.

Someone asked me in the security line if I had “watched that one SpongeBob” episode. The answer was no, but I told the 45-year-old man that I would look into it.

I probably won’t.

I had an iced coffee and a breakfast bar before the flight. In 90 minutes on the flight, I deleted all the photos that I didn’t need on my phone (18.8 percent of them) and listened to Cheryl Reeve’s new podcast

I’m currently eating Combos (nacho flavored) and a Red Bull (sugar free) for lunch. I’m going to have some long-term health issues probably. Shoot your shot.

Media availability starts at 2:30 p.m. and goes until 6:30 p.m. I’ll check back in when I get to my hotel.

Any recommendations for dinner tonight? 

As if you needed a reminder, you're the best.

Thursday, 5:50 p.m. – Chicago

Why hello there!

I've missed you.

I'm at my hotel with my writing hat on for a mega column tomorrow. 

Day 1 of the Combine was good. It's kind of a cluster with so many prospects to talk to and research to do in a quick amount of time, but I feel good with how things went.

Not much else to report as far as travel goes. My Uber driver was a huge basketball fan, so we had a very good chat. It actually reminded me of the time two years ago when then Nets coach Lionel Hollins asked to split an Uber with me. He then realized we weren't going to the same area, so he got out of the Uber. Fun times with Lionel.

I'll check back in tomorrow morning. 

Friday, 8:45 a.m. – Chicago

Good morning. 

Before you do anything, you should read the column I posted from my hotel room earlier this morning. Or at least click the link and stay on the page for at least 45 seconds.

My Thursday night consisted mostly of me writing that column. I was going to try to go somewhere nice for dinner, but instead I ordered pizza from Bongiorno's, which was a little salty for my liking, but such is life. I also had garlic bread and that garlic bread did not come with marinara sauce which baffles me. But again, these are the battles we fight.

I'm about to hit up the gym before heading somewhere to grab breakfast. I'll be over at the Combine again around noon. I'll be chatting with Minnesota's own Gary Trent Jr. later, so that will be fun. 

I encourage you to watch the movie "The Post" with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. I watched it before bed last night. Not one of the best movies I've ever seen, but it was very good. Streep is incredible.

I'll check back in after breakfast. Any suggestions? 

Friday, 6:38 p.m. – Chicago

This is going to be a quick post because I'm incredibly drained right now. Chicago traffic caused an hour-and-a-half Uber drive to the airport from the Combine. Wowzas. And we had to make three stops for my Uber driver to go to the bathroom. In his defense, there weren't bathrooms at the first two places we stopped at. 

I'm gonna grab some grub here before boarding the plane. I'll have some long stories for you tomorrow.

Saturday, 8:04 a.m. - Minneapolis

Happy Saturday. 

My goodness. What a disaster it was on Friday getting home. Our flight was delayed for about an hour due to the rain. And after arriving in Minneapolis, it took about 75 minutes for me to get home with 94 being shut down.

But here we are, ready to enjoy this great Saturday.

One thing people ask me about the Combine is what we do with all of the content acquired during it. That's a good quesiton. All of our interviews will be used to prepare our "Prospect Profiles" which will debut on the site this week, along with our Draft Central page (shout out to Sam Flood). 

I talked to about 35 prospects in my two days there, ranging from top-5 picks to guys who will probably go undrafted.

Expect our first profile to hit the site on Tuesday.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Until next time.