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The SEC In The NBA Draft: Who’s In Good Shape And Who Isn’t

nba_logoAs we finish up the final week of the 2013-14 basketball season, players across the nation are announcing their NBA intentions.  In the last three days LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant and Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson have both revealed that they will be leaving school and turning pro early.

Every player’s case is unique to them — family issues, monetary needs, scholastic troubles — so it’s impossible to say definitively, “Yes, that guy made a mistake.”  For some a six-figure salary in the Netherlands or Turkey might be an A-OK next step.  For others missing out on the guaranteed contract that comes with being a first-round selection will very much disappoint.

Below is the current list of SEC players as ranked by DraftExpress.com, one of the more trusted, quoted mock drafts on the web.  It’s an indicator of who’s in good shape to land one of those guaranteed NBA contracts and who isn’t…

 

4.  Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky, Freshman

12.  Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky, Sophomore

25.  James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky, Freshman

 

That’s it for projected first-round picks, folks.  Three players.  All from Kentucky.  All underclassmen.  Not a single upperclassman from the SEC is expected to be first-round material.

Here’s who’s listed in the second round by DraftExpress…

 

41.  Patric Young, PF/C, Florida, Senior

46.  Jabari Brown, SG, Missouri, Junior

47.  Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Missouri, Junior

49.  Johnny O’Bryant, PF/C, LSU, Junior

50.  Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee, Junior

60.  Jordan McRae, SG, Tennessee, Senior

 

From purely a basketball perspective, Brown, Clarkson, O’Bryant and Stokes should return to school.  Clarkson and O’Bryant have already announced their plans to leave.  But as noted earlier, we don’t know the personal issues facing any of these players.  We don’t know how scouts will view them if they go through workouts for the pros.  And we don’t know if what’s dropped these players deep into the second round this year could be patched up over the course of another collegiate season.

A few other quickie thoughts:

 

*  From the looks of this list, Florida has dominated this season more through the craftiness of veteran players than through sheer NBA talent.  Kudos again to that team and to Billy Donovan.

*  Only three Kentucky kids projected to be drafted?  Why, production at John Calipari’s player factory has darned near slowed to a drip.  (Sarcasm.)

*  Tennessee has two upperclassmen projected to go in the final 11 picks of the draft.  No wonder the Vols made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

*  Missouri, on the other hand, failed to reach the NCAA Tournament with its own pair of slightly higher-rated stars.  Don’t think Tiger fans won’t let Frank Haith hear about that one.

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9 SEC’ers Drafted… But With Some Surprises

Three in the first round.  No, five in the first round.  Seven overall.  No, six.

Heading into last night’s draft, the projections of NBA gurus were all over the map when it came to ex-SEC stars.  As it turns out, it was a good night overall, but with some surprises thrown in for good measure.

In the end, only three SEC players went in Round One and that’s where the guaranteed contracts and big bucks are.  So for the other players who left school early and didn’t land in the first round, things are still a bit sketchy.

Here are the first-rounders:


3.  Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky — Utah Jazz (Since Kanter never played in the SEC, it’s still hard to count him as “one of ours.”)

8.  Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky — Detroit Pistons (Expected to be a top five pick, Knight watched six straight teams decide to pass on the point guard position before he was selected.)

19.  Tobias Harris, SF/PF, Tennessee — Charlotte Bobcats, traded to Milwaukee Bucks (Harris’ stock has been as high as 14 and as low as 24… turns out he went right in the middle.)


And that was it for the first round.  Just two players who SEC fans watched last year will definitely, without a doubt be on NBA rosters next year.

In the second round, six more SEC players were tabbed:


37.  Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia — Los Angeles Clippers (Surprising that he went ahead of teammate Travis Leslie.)

38.  Chandler Parsons, SF, Florida — Houston Rockets (Mock drafts had had his stock creeping into first-round territory.)

45.  Josh Harrellson, C, Kentucky — New Orleans Hornets, traded to New York Knicks (If anyone needed more proof that John Calipari can get guys pro-ready, the selection of Harrellson at 45 is it.)

47.  Travis Leslie, SG, Georgia — Los Angeles Clippers (Leslie was once viewed as a first-round pick.  A disappointing fall.  On the bright side, Dawg fans, if both Leslie and Thompkins make the team you’ll only have to buy one team’s gear to show support.)

52.  Vernon Macklin, PF/C, Florida — Detroit Pistons (Billy Donovan thought Macklin might get drafted.  Looks like the Pistons had a lot of scouts down South last winter.)

53.  DeAndre Liggins, SG, Kentucky — Orlando Magic (Most thought Liggins could have helped himself by staying in school, but he has a family to support.  He got drafted and that’s the first step.  Here’s hoping he sticks.)


The biggest loser on draft night from an SEC perspective would be ex-Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson.  Most felt that he would be a late second-round selection at best and it turns out he wasn’t drafted at all.  Here’s hoping he took a foreign language course or two in high school.

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