Jeff Eisenberg

NBA draft winners and losers from a college perspective

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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By now, you've probably read plenty of articles breaking down which NBA franchises emerged from Thursday night's draft as winners and losers. Here's a look at who won and lost from a college basketball perspective:

WINNERS

Kentucky: John Calipari certainly didn't need any help in recruiting, but having the spotlight shined on his program Thursday night certainly won't hurt. The Wildcats' five first-round picks break the previous record of four set by UConn in 2006, North Carolina in 2005 and Duke in 1999.

Gordon Hayward: One of the most heavily debated decisions whether to stay or leave school turned out to be more of a no-brainer than we thought. Instead of Hayward going mid-to-late first round like many expected a month or two ago, Utah selected the former Butler star at No. 9.

Da'Sean Butler: Although the knee injury he suffered during the Final Four may have kept him from being taken in the first round, Butler didn't slide as far as some thought he would. Miami snapped him up at No. 42, giving Butler a great chance to make a bench that could be threadbare as a result of the Heat pouring so much money into their pursuit of free agents this summer.

Conference USA: A league that didn't come close to producing an NCAA tournament victory this season somehow produced five NBA draft picks. Eliot Williams of Memphis was the only first-rounder, but this is still a bit of good publicity for a league that desperately needs it.

Eliot Williams: Had Williams remained at Duke instead of transfering to Memphis, he'd probably still have been buried behind Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer in the Blue Devils' deep backcourt rotation. Instead the sweet-shooting combo guard had the chance to showcase his skills as a go-to scorer with the Tigers, paving the way for him to become a first-round pick.

Ryan Reid: When the Pacers selected the 6-foot-8 Reid with the fourth-to-last pick of the draft, Jay Bilas remarked, "I didn't have him in the top 90." Considering Reid averaged 6.8 points a game as a senior at Florida State last year, Bilas is probably not alone.

LOSERS

Four-year players: Underclassmen-heavy drafts have been the norm for years, but for a senior not to be selected until the 23rd pick this year was eye-opening. Furthermore, productive seniors Scottie Reynolds, Sherron Collins, Jon Scheyer and Jerome Randle all went undrafted.

Willie Warren: It's always a disappointment when a player leaves school early and then lasts until the late second round, but Warren has to be especially frustrated considering where his stock was a year ago. Many draftniks projected him as a lottery pick before his underwhelming sophomore season in which he struggled to embrace the role of go-to scorer in Blake Griffin's absence.

Dick Vitale: College basketball's most ubiquitous voice was strangely absent from ESPN's draft coverage Thursday night. That's a loss for Vitale and a win for the sanity of TV viewers who didn't have to hear him screaming that NBA teams would regret not selecting Scheyer or Brian Zoubek in the lottery.

Solomon Alabi: The Florida State center left school early because he believed he'd have a good chance to crack the first round, but he tumbled all the way to the 50th pick of the draft. An ill-timed case of Hepatitis B caused the drop, according to a report from DraftExpress.

Big Ten: The downside of having almost all your top underclassmen return to school is a very quiet draft night. Evan Turner was the only Big Ten player to be selected on Thursday night, one less than even the talent-starved Pac-10 which managed to produce Washington's Quincy Pondexter and Stanford's Landry Fields.

Tommy Mason-Griffin: Of the numerous underclassmen who erred by leaving their name in the draft, Mason-Griffin remains the worst decision. The Oklahoma freshman averaged 14.1 points and 5 assists a game as a freshman, but his lack of size, questionable shot selection and clashes with Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel left him no chance of being drafted.

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