With the drama of March Madness behind us and numerous outlets releasing their All-America teams and determining their Player of the Year honors, the next thing to look at is the NBA Draft and where some of our favorite NCAA players will fall.
NBA (Mock) Draft
The April 23 edition of Bleacher Report’s mock draft has Michigan’s Trey Burke (pictured above) going 1 to Orlando and Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel going 2 to Charlotte. But, in the end what will that really mean?
By my counts, there are 12 athletes on 2012-13 NBA playoff team rosters who went 1 or 2 in their NBA draft year. Sure, you’ve got your obvious superstars like Kevin Durant, who went second in the 2007 NBA Draft. Durant is leading the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the West. Durant was drafted second behind Greg Oden (Cliff’s notes bio: played at Ohio State for one year, lost in the championship game to Florida, drafted first, missed the entire 2007-08 season, riddled with injuries, now a free agent)
Durant’s story is awesome. But what about John Wall (Kentucky) who went first in 2010 who just finished a ROUGH season with the Washington Wizards? PS Emeka Okafor (Connecticut) was also on that Wizards roster and went second in the 2004 NBA Draft behind Dwight Howard, who went straight to the draft out of high school and is playing for the Lakers, who eeked into that last playoff spot.
What you may not remember is that Kevin Durant played one year of college hoops at Texas due to what has been dubbed the NBA’s “one-and-done” rule.
Quick Lesson: One-and-Done rule
Some argue that one-and-done has got to go and some are waiting for it to be “two-and-done” (hmmm … doesn’t have the same ring to it!) My take? I love one-and-done. It gives me one year of watching some great basketball talent. AND it potentially gives these players one year of college life. If we take it up to two years, we may find more players “pulling a Brandon Jennings” and going overseas to play in a different professional basketball league and entering the draft when the league says they’re allowed to.
Why else do I love it? It gives me one year to feel like I really know a player and develop my fandom. I don’t really have an NBA team I’ve followed my whole life – I’ve always been much more of a college hoops fan. And there was a little blip when players were going to the NBA straight out of high school (see: LeBron, Kobe) and I had a severe disconnect with the NBA because some of the best talent went straight to the pros and became awesome … or completely fizzled out. Either way, I didn’t know who they were because I didn’t see them in college.
My NBA-watching experience is that much more enhanced these days because I’m actually familiar with players from a number of teams due to their NCAA days. They may not be the superstars on their team like LeBron or Kobe (both drafted right out of high school) but Dwyane Wade was the superstar at Marquette when they went to the2003 Final Four and I’ll never forget current Laker Steve Blake’s career at Maryland or his teammate Antawn Jamison’s career at UNC. Between the three of them, there are five Final Four appearances and a National Championship – not bad at all, boys.