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July 1, 2013
SEC not alone in lack of NBA players
The NBA conducted its 2013 draft last Thursday night.
As expected, it was a silent night for LSU. The Tigers' only draft-eligible players were seniors Charles Carmouche, Andrew del Piero and Eddie Ludwig. LSU's only possible draft pick was Johnny O'Bryant, who made the correct decision in returning for his junior season.
As expected, it was a quiet night for the Southeastern Conference. Five players from SEC schools were chosen Thursday - Kentucky's Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin and Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the first round and Florida's Erik Murphy and Missouri's Alex Oriakhi in the second round.
But, the SEC was not alone in having an unproductive night at Barclays Arena in Brooklyn. The other five BCS conferences didn't have a lot of their players picked by NBA teams. The Pac-12 and the ACC were the leaders with seven draft picks.
The Big East Conference had six of its players drafted with one of those being Ricky Ledo, who was ineligible for his freshman season at Providence. The Big Ten Conference, considered the best league last winter, had five draft picks - the same number as the SEC.
The Big XII, which has the fewest members with ten schools, had only four players selected. The only first-round draft choice from the Big XII was Kansas' Ben McLemore.
For this draft, the place to be was Europe or at a non-BCS conference school. There were 13 Europeans chosen Thursday. Seven of those players were among the first 30 picks in the opening round. Then, a dozen players from non-BCS leagues were drafted, including top pick Anthony Bennett of UNLV.
When one counts Glen Rice, Jr., who was drafted out of the NBA Developmental League, a total of 26 of the 60 selections did not come from the six power conferences. So, for this year, the SEC had company as regards the lack of NBA-ready players.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive made a point during the league's spring meetings that there must be improvement shown by the schools' basketball programs. There was talk about improving non-conference schedules to increase teams' chances of reaching the NCAA tournament.
However, the numbers show that there is a need for SEC schools to raise the talent level of players in this conference. The five selections were the fewest for the SEC since 2009 when only three players were chosen - all in the second round.
In the past five drafts, there have been 35 SEC players chosen. However, most of the credit must go to Kentucky coach John Calipari. In his four seasons as Wildcats coach, Calipari has had 16 of his players drafted. All of the other SEC schools have combined for 16 draftees in those four years.
Four SEC schools have not had a player drafted by the NBA in the last five years - Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn and South Carolina. Tennessee and Ole Miss have had just one drafted player.
LSU is one of six SEC schools to have had multiple NBA draft picks in the last five years - Marcus Thornton in 2009 and Justin Hamilton in 2012. Other than Kentucky, Florida is the only school with more than three draft choices. The Gators have had five selections over the past five years.
Don't get the idea that the lack of NBA talent in the SEC is something which just surfaced. From 2004 through 2008, the SEC had more than four players drafted just twice - eight in 2007 and six in 2008. The SEC had just three players picked in 2004 - all in the second round.
A total rebuilding must be done among SEC schools, except for Kentucky and Florida, in basketball. Recruiting must improve. Scheduling must improve. Most importantly, resources put into the basketball programs must significantly improve.
Here are the NBA draft picks from SEC schools for the past five years. Career NBA stats are given for players who were in the league during the recently-concluded season.
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky - Career: 124 starts, 22 minutes, 8.0 pts., 2.2 rebounds, 40% FG shooting
Marcus Thornton, LSU - Career: 99 starts, 27 minutes, 14.3 pts., 3.1 rebounds, 44% FG shooting
Nick Calathes, Florida
John Wall, Kentucky - Career: 172 starts, 36 minutes, 16.9 pts., 8.0 assists, 42% FG shooting
DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky - Career: 198 starts, 30 minutes, 16.3 pts., 9.8 rebounds, 45% FG shooting
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky - Career: 48 starts, 22 minutes, 8.3 pts., 4.4 rebounds, 50% FG shooting
Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky - Career: 38 starts, 20 minutes, 6.7 pts., 3.0 assists, 43% FG shooting
Daniel Orton, Kentucky - Career: 2 starts, 10 minutes, 2.7 pts., 2.2 rebounds, 52% FG shooting
Terrico White, Ole Miss
Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State - Career: 0 starts, 5 minutes, 0.6 pts., 0.7 rebounds, 43% FG shooting
Brandon Knight, Kentucky - Career: 135 starts, 32 minutes, 13.1 pts., 3.9 assists, 41% FG shooting
Tobias Harris, Tennessee - Career: 43 starts, 18 minutes, 8.4 pts., 4.0 rebounds, 46% FG shooting
Trey Thompkins, Georgia
Chandler Parsons, Florida - Career: 133 starts, 33 minutes, 12.8 pts., 5.1 rebounds, 47% FG shooting
Josh Harrellson, Kentucky - Career: 4 starts, 13 minutes, 4.0 pts., 3.5 rebounds, 42% FG shooting
Travis Leslie, Georgia
Vernon Macklin, Florida
DeAndre Liggins, Kentucky - Career: 1 start, 7 minutes, 1.6 pts., 1.2 rebounds, 46% FG shooting
Anthony Davis, Kentucky - Career: 60 starts, 29 minutes, 13.5 pts., 8.2 rebounds, 52% FG shooting
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky - Career: 77 starts, 26 minutes, 9.0 pts., 5.8 rebounds, 46% FG shooting
Bradley Beal, Florida - Career: 46 starts, 31 minutes, 13.9 pts., 3.8 rebounds, 41% FG shooting
Terrence Jones, Kentucky - Career: 0 starts, 15 minutes, 5.5 pts., 3.4 rebounds, 46% FG shooting
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt - Career: 2 starts, 15 minutes, 6.1 pts., 1.5 rebounds, 45% FG shooting
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State - Career: 0 starts, 12 minutes, 3.7 pts., 3.1 rebounds, 58% FG shooting
Marquis Teague, Kentucky - Career: 0 starts, 8 minutes, 2.1 pts., 1.3 assists, 38% FG shooting
Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt - Career: 41 starts, 14 minutes, 2.4 pts., 4.0 rebounds, 44% FG shooting
Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt - Career: 29 starts, 20 minutes, 6.1 pts., 1.9 rebounds, 43% FG shooting
Doron Lamb, Kentucky - Career: 0 starts, 12 minutes, 3.3 pts., 1.0 rebound, 37% FG shooting
Justin Hamilton, LSU
Darius Miller, Kentucky - Career: 2 starts, 13 minutes, 2.3 pts., 1.5 rebounds, 41% FG shooting
Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
Erik Murphy, Florida
Alex Oriakhi, Missouri