Four former Big 12 players were selected among the 60 picks taken by the 30 NBA teams participating in the annual draft of college and international players. This compares with nine players taken from Big 12 schools in 2012, seven in 2011 and 10 the year before that.
Ben McLemore of Kansas was the only Big 12 player selected in the first round, going No. 7 overall to the Sacramento Kings. A number of experts had McLemore as a prohibitive No. 1 pick even after the college basketball season ended in March, but his stock ostensibly dropped following less than impressive pre-draft scouting workouts. Even then, it was still somewhat of a surprise that he fell to the seventh spot in this year’s draft.
McLemore’s Kansas teammate, seven-foot Jeff Withey, was the 39th player taken overall, the second-round pick of the Portland Trailblazers. Shooting guard Pierre Jackson of Baylor, the Big 12’s leading scorer in 2012-13, was a second-round pick (42nd overall) of the Philadelphia 76ers, and Oklahoma forward Romero Osby was selected 51st overall and is headed to the Orlando Magic.
In four of the past five NBA drafts, at least seven players have been taken from the Big 12, but as few as four players have been picked three other times in Big 12 history, the most recent in 2009, when Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin was the overall No. pick in the draft. And four is not the fewest number of Big 12 selections in any one draft year. Three players each was the complement of Big 12 selections three different times in the past 17 seasons (1999, 2002 and 2003).
And there was even a year when just two players out of the Big 12 were picked among the 60 overall players selected. In 2001, Jamaal Tinsley of Ioiwa State, the 27th player selected in the first round (by the then Vancouver Grizzlies), and Eric Chenowith of Kansas, the 43rd player selected overall (by the New York Knicks), were the lone Big 12 players drafted.
Of course, this does not mean that other former Big 12 stars won’t also get the opportunity to play at the next level in the NBA. Undrafted players who are eleigible to play in the NBA have the ability to negotiate free-agent contracts that will at least give them the opportunity to try out with an NBA team in hopes of garnering a roster spot.
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