Jeff Eisenberg

A team-oriented Final Four, but where are the future NBA stars?

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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If you're an NBA fan who watches college basketball for an early look at the next crop of pro stars, this probably isn't going to be your favorite Final Four.

Whereas the five Final Fours since prospects were forbidden from entering the NBA draft out of high school have each featured at least four lottery picks or projected lottery picks, this year's field lacks that individual star power.

Butler sophomore forward Gordon Hayward could sneak into the first round if he chooses to enter the draft this year. Same goes for Duke junior forward Kyle Singler and West Virginia sophomore forward Devin Ebanks. Michigan State's top prospect, Kalin Lucas, might have been a borderline first rounder, but he's not even playing as a result of a torn Achilles tendon.

Maybe the best NBA prospect on the floor in Indianapolis doesn't even start for his own team. Duke freshman big man Mason Plumlee has the size and athleticism to one day become a lottery pick, but for now he's behind Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek in the Blue Devils' rotation.

There's always a chance, of course, that some of these guys return to school and play their way into the lottery or that other prospects from these teams emerge in future years, but for right now the first-round talent is an unusally barren list. Check out a list of the first rounders from the previous five Final Fours by comparsion:

2009 Final Four (North Carolina, Michigan State, UConn, Villanova)

Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn (2nd pick)

Tyler Hansbrough, F, North Carolina (13th pick)

Ty Lawson, G, North Carolina (18th pick)

Wayne Ellington, G, North Carolina (28th pick)

Ed Davis, F, North Carolina (Projected 2010 first rounder)

Stanley Robinson, F, UConn (Projected 2010 first rounder)

Kemba Walker, G, UConn (Projected 2011 first rounder)

Kalin Lucas, G, Michigan State (Projected 2011 first rounder)

2008 Final Four (Kansas, Memphis, UCLA, North Carolina)

Derrick Rose, G, Memphis (1st pick, 2008)

Russell Westbrook, G, UCLA (4th pick, 2008)

Kevin Love, C, UCLA (5th pick, 2008)

Brandon Rush, F, Kansas (13th pick, 2008)

Darrell Arthur, F, Kansas (27th pick, 2008)

Tyler Hansbrough, F, North Carolina (13th pick, 2009)

Ty Lawson, G, North Carolina (18th pick, 2009)

Darren Collison, G, UCLA (21st pick, 2009)

Wayne Ellington, G, North Carolina (28th pick, 2009)

Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas (projected 2010 first rounder)

2007 Final Four (Florida, Ohio State, Georgetown, UCLA)

Greg Oden, C, Ohio State (1st pick, 2007)

Al Horford, F, Florida (3rd pick, 2007)

Mike Conley, G, Ohio State (4th pick, 2007)

Jeff Green, F, Georgetown (5th pick, 2007)

Corey Brewer, G, Florida (7th pick, 2007)

Joakim Noah, C, Florida (9th pick, 2007)

Daequan Cook, G, Ohio State (21st pick, 2007)

Arron Afflalo, G, UCLA (27th pick, 2007)

Russell Westbrook, G, UCLA (4th pick, 2008)

Marreese Speights, C, Florida (16th pick, 2008)

Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown (18th pick, 2008)

Darren Collison, G, UCLA (21st pick, 2009)

2006 Final Four (Florida, UCLA, LSU, George Mason)

Tyrus Thomas, F, LSU (4th pick, 2006)

Jordan Farmar, G, UCLA, (26th pick, 2006)

Al Horford, F, Florida (3rd pick, 2007)

Corey Brewer, G, Florida (7th pick, 2007)

Joakim Noah, C, Florida (9th pick, 2007)

Arron Afflalo, G, UCLA (27th pick, 2007)

Darren Collison, G, UCLA (21st pick, 2009)

2005 Final Four (North Carolina, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan State)

Marvin Williams, F, North Carolina (2nd pick, 2005)

Deron Williams, G, Illinois (3rd pick, 2005)

Raymond Felton, G, North Carolina (5th pick, 2005)

Sean May, C, North Carolina (13th pick, 2005)

Rashad McCants, G, North Carolina (14th pick, 2005)

Francisco Garcia, G, Louisville (23rd pick, 2005)

Luther Head, G, Illinois (24th pick, 2005)

Shannon Brown, G, Michigan State (25th pick, 2006)

Maurice Ager, G, Michigan State (28th pick, 2006)

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