The deadline to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft is less than a week away, and the Big Ten draft class is beginning to take its final shape. Baring any surprises, Michigan’s Mitch McGary is the only player in the conference who has yet to announce whether he will stay in school or bolt early for the NBA. Big names like Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris and Noah Vonleh highlight this year’s Big Ten Draft class, but how do they compare to other conference’s top draft hopefuls?
Fourteen former Big Ten stars are listed on 2014 NBA playoff rosters. Ohio State paces the conference with four players: Mike Conley, Kosta Koufos, Greg Oden and Evan Turner. In all, six Big Ten schools are represented. The team with the most Big Ten products? That would be Memphis, which features the aforementioned Conley and Koufos and Jon Leuer and Zach Randolph.
The Big Ten has suffered some big attrition when it comes to players leaving early for the NBA Draft as Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross, Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Michigan State’s Gary Harris and Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III all declared. Michigan’s Mitch McGary still is weighing his options. If he bolts, it will leave another gap to fill.
Here’s a question to ponder: What does every great college basketball team have in common? We know every one has a superstar. This year’s national champion UConn had Shabazz Napier, last year’s champion Louisville team had Russ Smith, and the 2012 Kentucky team had Anthony Davis, and so on.
Here’s a question that college basketball fans have probably asked themselves at one point or another: How good would that guy be if he played football? The which-basketball-players-would-be-great-at-football topic always makes for a great conversation point, but rather than pointlessly flirting with the idea, let’s go ahead and actually put it into action.
No Big Ten player has a tougher decision to make about his future plans than Michigan’s Mitch McGary. A season ago, fresh off his breakout NCAA tourney performance, McGary was a hot name in the NBA draft. He elected to return to school, of course, and went on to play eight games before undergoing season-ending back surgery. Almost 22 and having not played since 2013, McGary is in a difficult position.