If Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham hears his name called Thursday night, it will end the longest NBA draft drought in the nation among power-conference teams.
The Beavers haven't had a player selected in either round of the draft since Chicago took slashing guard Corey Benjamin with the 28th pick in the 1998 draft.
Oregon State is hardly alone, however, in its futility producing pros. Here's a look at the six major-conference programs who have gone at least a decade without having a player taken in the NBA draft.
1. Oregon State (14 years)
• Last player drafted: Corey Benjamin, 28th pick, 1998
• Who can end the drought? It would be a surprise if Cunningham isn't the one to end this drought Thursday night. The 6-foot-4 guard struggles with his jump shot and is still a work in progress as a playmaker, but he's an elite athlete who gets to the rim off the dribble and can finish in transition. That ought to be enough for a team to take a flier on him by the early second round.
T2. Northwestern (13 years)
• Last player drafted: Evan Eschmeyer, 34th pick, 1999
• Who can end the drought? John Shurna has as good a chance as any Wildcat since Eschmeyer to get drafted Thursday night, but the sharp-shooting forward is considered a second-round long shot at this point. The question for Shurna will be whether his elite outside shooting outweighs questions about his lack of athleticism or inability to take the ball to the rim.
T2. Penn State (13 years)
• Last player drafted: Calvin Booth, 35th pick, 1999
• Who can end the drought? High-scoring guard Tim Frazier will have an outside shot next June after he completes his senior season. The 6-foot-1 senior-to-be averaged 18.8 points and 6.2 assists as a junior, but concerns about his lack of size and inefficient shooting percentage from the perimeter may hamper his draft stock.
T2. Nebraska (13 years)
• Last player drafted: Venson Hamilton, 50th pick, 1999
• Who can end the drought? Not only is there not a realistic draft candidate this year for Nebraska, the Huskers don't seem to have one on their roster right now. In other words, this drought could go on for at least another few years unless an NBA GM inexplicably falls in love with Bo Spencer on Thursday night.
T5. St. John's (11 years)
• Last player drafted: Omar Cook, 31st pick, 2oo1
• Who can end the drought? St. John's may have its first draft pick in 11 years by the end of the lottery on Thursday night. Many thought Maurice Harkless might have left a year too early, but the promising freshman has improved his stock in workouts enough that he should hear his name called by the middle of the first round.
T5. Seton Hall (11 years)
• Last player drafted: Eddie Griffin, 7th pick, 2001; Samuel Dalembert, 26th pick, 2001
• Who can end the drought? It would be an inspiring story if Herb Pope can make the NBA after a pair of brushes with death as a result of four gun shot wounds in 2007 and a serious heart condition in 2010. Unfortunately for the power forward, concerns about his size, age and troubled past may cause teams to shy away and force him to try to make a roster via an invite to training camp.