June 24th, 2011 09:10 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Tags: NBA, SEC, SG, Travis Leslie
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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