The 2013 NBA Draft is just days away as teams will try to change their futures when the top college players will turn pro. For the first time in a while, much of the talent will be coming from Big Ten teams in this year’s draft.
Of the 10 players invited to be present in the green room for the draft, three will hail from the Big Ten: Michigan’s Trey Burke, along with Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller from Indiana have received the honors. Being chosen to be in the green room, along with the projections from every NBA mock draft, show that the trio will all be mid-to-high lottery picks.
Burke has been projected by many to be the first point guard selected after winning the Wooden Award and bringing Michigan to the national title game. Oladipo and Zeller were both All-Americans for the Hoosiers. Zeller could have been a lottery pick last year but chose to return for his sophomore year, while Oladipo burst onto the scene, transforming from a good role player to an All-American.
For the Big Ten, it is very rare to have three likely lottery picks. In terms of getting players drafted, the Big Ten has been in dead last of the major six conferences for a while now, producing just four picks a year on average. Since 1998, the Big Ten has had just 12 lottery picks, the fewest of any major conference. The last top-10 pick out of the Big Ten was Evan Turner — three years ago.
If the Big Ten wants to be considered the best basketball conference in the country, as many made the case for this past season, it has to produce NBA players. This year, for the first time in a while, they are producing three very high draft picks. If the Big Ten is to be the best, this must become a trend, not an aberration.
You can follow Alex Dale on Twitter at @alexdalecbb.