Seniors are no longer the main attraction of NBA drafts, they haven’t been for a long time. Usually, and this year is no exception, players wait till the end of the NCAA tournament to declare early for the draft, and this time around it seems Victor Oladipo out of Indiana and Ben McLemore from Kansas are the ones grabbing the headlines from the others.
Oladipo and McLemore are the stand out names in an underclassmen list that currently consists of 22 names, but will probably grow in the next few weeks before the deadline to enter the draft, which is April 28. A player has until April 16 to enter and still be able to withdraw his name from the draft, maintaining his eligibility for another season of College Basketball.
Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, Freshman
The 7-footer out of New Zealand decided that one season in the falling apart Big East is enough for him. Adams finished the season averaging 7.2 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Panthers, and was one of the few players who put in a decent performance in the early exit from the NCAA tournament, scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against Wichita State. At the moment, he looks like a late first-round pick.
Anthony Bennett, UNLV, Freshman
The Canadian Power Forward is projected to be a top 10 pick in the 2013 draft after an impressive Freshman season for the Rebels, averaging 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds, posting pretty decent numbers in the NCAA tournament loss to California, giving 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Allen Crabbe, California, Junior
Crabbe finished his college career with an impressive Junior season, averaging 18.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, leading the Golden Bears the third round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Syracuse. He averaged 13.5 points in the tourney, and is projected to be a late-first round pick, thanks to his shooting but no-thanks to his lazy defending.
Ben McLemore, Kansas, Freshman
The most hyped Freshman going into the 2012-2013 season did a pretty good and consistent job most of the time for the Jayhawks, which will probably earn him a top 5 pick in a couple of months. McLemore averaged 15.9 points during the season, and despite a weak start to the NCAA Tournament he finished strong with 20 points against Michigan, showing more than just his three-point shooting.
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, Freshman
Muhammad, despite averaging 17.9 points during his Freshman season with the Bruins, slightly disappointed. Maybe people expected too much from a teenager, hoping to see someone turn into the most dominant player in college basketball right off the bat and lead UCLA deep into the tournament. Instead, they were knocked out in the second round despite 20 points from Muhammad. He’ll still be a top 10 pick.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana, Junior
Despite still being far from perfect offensively, Oladipo might be the most versatile player heading into the NBA from the college ranks, with an ability to play as a shooting guard and a small forward, not to mention his defense and ability in the clutch. He averaged 13.6 points, along with 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals during his Junior season, winning the Big Ten regular season title with the Hoosiers, and playing better than anyone else on his team in the tournament that ended against Syracuse at the Sweet Sixteen stage. Oladipo is likely to be a top 5 pick.
Other players who have also declared early – C.J. Aiken (Saint Joseph’s), Lorenzo Brown (North Carolina State), Archie Goodwin (Kentucky), Ricky Ledo (Providence), C.J. Leslie (North Carolina State), Amath M’Baye (Oklahoma), Eric Moreland (Oregon State), Tony Mitchell (North Texas), Norvel Pelle (L.A. City Prep), Marshawn Powell (Arkansas), Russ Smith (Louisville), Tony Snell (New Mexico), Adonis Thomas (Memphis), Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State), B.J. Young (Arkansas).