Winners & Losers On Draft Night: The College PerspectivePosted by EJacoby on June 29th, 2012
The 2012 NBA Draft has come and gone in what was a fairly quiet night in terms of trades around the league, but Thursday could also become an historic draft given how deep the pool of talent was. We may look back on this draft as one of the great ones in recent history, but that remains to be seen. For now we can take a look at the immediate winners and losers, and we’d like to run down which schools made the biggest hits and suffered big misses on draft night. For instance, which teams sent multiple lottery picks or were responsible for the biggest risers in the draft? Which teams saw their prospects slip out of the first round or not get drafted at all? Here’s our list of the top five winners and losers last night from the college game.
- Kentucky – No, John Calipari didn’t get to see six first-round picks this year, as only four of his players cracked the top 30. Marquis Teague slipped considerably and Terrence Jones didn’t make the lottery. Yet all in all, what an historic night it was for the Wildcats. With UK’s Anthony Davis going #1 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist selected #2 overall, it’s the first time ever that college teammates became the top two picks. And when Darius Miller was scooped up at #46 overall, that also became a record with a sixth Wildcat drafted – the most in NBA draft history since the format shrunk from seven rounds to two back in 1989.
- Washington – The Huskies failed to qualify for last year’s NCAA Tournament, which looks even more shocking now than it did in March. Two Washington players were selected in the first round, including one in the top 10 when the Raptors picked Terrence Ross #8 overall, the third shooting guard to come off the board. Tony Wroten, Jr., landed at #25 as the third point guard selected. A great night for Lorenzo Romar and the program, but remind us again how this team was playing in the NIT last year?
- The One-And-Dones – Nine college freshmen declared for the NBA draft, and eight of them cracked the first round. Only Quincy Miller slipped, shockingly dropping all the way down to #38, but he still was a high second-round selection. Usually we see at least one or two mistakes from the ‘one-and-done’ crowd (see: Jereme Richmond last year), but all the frosh were good choices. Five of the top 10 picks were from this group.
- The SEC – Eight SEC players were selected in the first round, including the top three overall. We’ve already mentioned Kentucky’s big night, but Vanderbilt also had all three of their guys selected in the top 31, and incoming school Missouri saw Kim English and Marcus Denmon both crack the second round as well. Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie was a first round pick and even LSU saw Justin Hamilton make the second round too. Big night for the SEC, which as a conference was responsible for 20% of all picks.
- Robbie Hummel – You’ll notice in the next section that most graduating seniors failed to earn respect from GMs on draft night, but it was great to hear Hummel’s name announced at the end of the second round with Minnesota’s pick at #58. A fifth-year senior who tore the ACL in his right knee in back-to-back seasons at the tail end of his college career, it’s great that Hummel persevered with a strong 2011-12 season and became one of the top 60 NBA prospects of this class. It’s almost hard to believe that he got drafted after all he’s been through, but he won’t let the Timberwolves down with the work ethic and shooting prowess for his size that he’ll bring to the table.
- Baylor – All three of the Bears were drafted, but the dynamic duo of Perry Jones, III, and Quincy Miller became the two biggest free-fallers in the entire draft. Jones, who at one point was discussed as a #1 overall pick during his freshman year, dropped all the way to #28 (!) in this draft, fueled by a late red flag on his knee as well as constant concerns with his motor. Quincy Miller has top 10 upside and could have gotten there next season but made a questionable choice leaving after one season and dropped all the way out of the first round as a result. Quincy Acy was also selected #37 overall.
- Georgetown – John Thompson, III, was part of the panel breaking down the draft post-game show on NBA TV, but there’s no way he could have been a happy camper. Somehow, all three of his departing star players – Henry Sims, Hollis Thompson, and Jason Clark – were not drafted on Thursday. Sims and Thompson looked like sure-fire second round picks, yet nobody opted for a Hoya on Thursday.
- Mid-Majors – Just two players from the non-power conferences were selected in the first round, the fewest since 2005 when high school players were still eligible for the draft and represented a large portion of the pool. Even this year in which only one foreign player was picked in the first round and high schoolers are no longer eligible, just two mid-major guys were picked. While Damian Lillard from Weber State went #6 overall, only Andrew Nicholson from St. Bonaventure joined him at #19.
- College Seniors – Kevin Jones, Tu Holloway, Drew Gordon, JaMychal Green, William Buford, Henry Sims, Jordan Taylor, John Shurna, and Scott Machado. These are just some of the names who were great four-year college players that were not picked, and we’ll honor their NCAA careers in a coming post. Also of note, the Big East (Jae Crowder) and Big Ten (Draymond Green) Players of the Year fell out of the first round, the Pac-12 Player of the Year (Jorge Gutierrez) wasn’t drafted, and the ACC Player of the Year (Tyler Zeller) slipped out of the lottery – all four were seniors.
- Future Top Freshmen - The fate of players like Perry Jones, III, Jared Sullinger, and Harrison Barnes proved that it’s often a poor financial choice for a highly-touted college prospect to stay in school for an extra year. It’s likely that we’ll see more top freshmen bolt from college when their stock is fresh and strong, even if they’re not physically ready for the next level. Moe Harkless was a shocking draft declaration yet was picked #15 overall as an 18-year-old freshman. Jones and Sullinger lost millions of dollars over the course of one year, as both players were certain top 10 picks had they come out last season. A sophomore year on campus led to injuries and other concerns that caused both to fall into the 20s. Even Barnes, who was still a top 10 selection, was in the mix for the #1 pick last year but returned to school and fell to #7. Given what we saw this year, don’t expect to see your future favorite young stars stay in school for any longer than they have to.
Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him on Twitter @evanjacoby.