CHICAGO -- Their bodies are weighed and measured and they're put through a battery of speed, strength and agility tests. Every few minutes, you hear shouting coming from the back -- players encouraging each other to knock out just a few more bench presses at 185 pounds.

Unfortunately for Tyler Ulis, the bench press reps aren't scaled for the athlete's own bodyweight. Ulis, the sharpshooting playmaker from Kentucky, tipped the scales this week at the NBA draft combine at a feather-like 149.2 pounds.

For anyone who saw him play the past two seasons at Kentucky, there's no doubt Ulis can play. But at 5-8 and 3/4 inches (without shoes) and with one of the lowest pre-draft bodyweights ever recorded, he's testing the limits of small ball.

"It's been like that all my life and it's going to be that way," Ulis said. "At my size, I have to come out with a chip on my shoulder, play hard and work harder than everybody."

At the other end of the spectrum is Zhou Qi, a 20-year-old giant from China who towered above all prospects on Thursday. At 7-2 and 1/4 inches with a wingspan of 7-7 and 3/4, Zhou is a specimen to behold.

And behold him, NBA scouts did on Thursday. The scouting report, according to one executive who has watched him extensively: He can shoot and he's skilled, but there are question marks.

"He's really skinny," the exec said, and he's right; Zhou weighed in at only 209 pounds, making him the 7-foot-plus version of Ulis.

Still, with that kind of frame, Zhou has a chance to be a late first or early second-round pick, executives say. He's generally not a draft-and-stash candidate, since the payoff for stashing players in China is iffy at best since; you don't know whether he'll face enough competition to get better.

Sixty humans were weighed and measured at the combine this week, and there you have the two extremes. Zhou's wingspan is the 12th-longest ever recorded at the combine, according to For context, Zhou has 3/4 of an inch on the 7-7 wingspan recorded by Shaquille O'Neal in 1992 and came up an inch short of Alexis Ajinca in 2007. The longest wingspan ever recorded was Mamadou Ndiaye's 8-1 in 2012.

Ulis managed to put on seven pounds since checking in at 142 at last year's combine, after which he decided to stay at Kentucky for one more year. Still, he's one of only a handful of players to ever weigh in at less than 150 pounds. At 5.2 percent bodyfat, Ulis has less than eight pounds of fat on his body.

Hopefully, someone will escort the man to the Shake Shack across the street from the players' hotel here in downtown Chicago. Like, every day.

Ulis said his coaches and trainers have told him: "Don't worry about your weight. Just get in the weight room and get stronger. ... I don't want my weight to affect my quickness."

Kentucky assistant strength coach Robert Harris had Ulis on a five-meals-a-day plan with plenty of protein shakes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Ulis said. He was able to put on 10 pounds pretty easily prior to his sophomore year in Lexington, but it had all melted away by the time the Wildcats lost to Indiana in the NCAA Tournament. He'll get a nutritionist once he starts his offseason training program in Los Angeles.

"It's all about eating the right foods and getting those meals in," he said.

Most teams have Ulis slated to go somewhere in the mid-to-late first round. His inspiration comes from sub-6-footers like Isiah Thomas, who overcame his size disadvantage to become an All-Star. Of course, Thomas weighed 182 at the 2009 combine.

"You're playing against grown men who are really good at what they do," Ulis said. "They're trying to feed their families and you have to be prepared for that."

And you have to feed yourself, too.

Tyler Ulis and Zhou Qi are testing the limits of size in the NBA. USATSI/Getty Images