NBA Draft Shows Off Local Talent
You may have noticed that the NBA held its annual draft Thursday night. Then again, you might not have. The NBA Draft is an infant in the world of the NFL draft, the 800-pound gorilla of professional drafts. Sports networks give the NFL draft about 80 hours a week BEFORE the draft and then cover the actual draft like it is WWIII. Nevertheless, the NBA does their version of building up players and analyzing everything they did since fifth grade and then shooting down the same players they spend two weeks promoting. One of the things that caught my eye and ear was how the Dallas area has grown up in the basketball world.
More and more players from all over the world, from Brazil to Croatia to Australia, are being taken by NBA teams. That makes the fact that two of the very best are from our backyard. With consecutive picks, the Celtics drafted Marcus Smart out of Flower Mound Marcus at number six and the Lakers picked Prestonwood Christian’s Julius Randle at seven. Two of the top 10 players available on this planet played their high school ball right here. Sure there have been the occasional Larry Johnson’s and Chris Bosh’s in the past but the pedigree of Dallas/Ft. Worth area talent is definitely moved up a notch or two. On top of that, if not for a career-ending genetic disorder, Arlington Grace Prep’s Isaiah Austin was projected to be a first round pick out of Baylor.
Side note: Props to the NBA for noticing that the young man’s lifelong dream was shattered and not only did they invite him to the ceremonies in New York, commissioner Adam Silver paused before the 16 pick was announced and said that the NBA was drafting Austin, so that he could always say, he was drafted in the NBA. Classy.
On top of those two, if the NBA still allowed players to enter the league right out of high school, there likely would have been another local player taken in the top 10. Emmanuel Mudiay starred at Prime Prep last year and is now headed to Larry Brown and SMU. Scouts have said if Mudiay were available this year, he would likely have been a lottery pick. Even more impressive is that those same scouts are saying that Mudiay will probably be a top 5 pick in next year’s draft and one legitimate scouting service has him going number one in the 2015 draft. That speaks volumes for not only the level of high school talent and coaching but the recruiting abilities of Brown. To be able to pluck a kid away from Kentucky and North Carolina and Kansas and keep him right here is incredible. Most basketball fans don’t go to a lot of high school games to watch these young future-stars but for at least one season at SMU, sell-out crowds will watch Mudiay do his thing and be able to say with pride that they saw him before he was a star in the pro’s.
Fans at those other big-time programs have been able to watch those type of players for years; hell Kansas had two players taken in the top 3 this year, Kentucky had 2 in the first 17 picks, UCLA had 3 in the first round. Now local basketball fans will get a taste of the big-time–at least for a season. And after that, who knows.