There is only one more night until the NBA draft and in all of the projections our Cats are slipping down the draft boards. While the Cats going lower in the draft sucks it does present the unique opportunity for the players to become a sort of “anti-bust”. In the past there have been several players drafted much lower than they should have been and I think several more will join them tomorrow. Yesterday on KSRcollege I picked who I thought were the biggest busts to come from UK which you can read below. This is the other side, these are some of the players who I think got their name called a little late. Here are some of the biggest steals of the NBA draft:
Jodie Meeks – 41st Pick
Players Drafted Before: Terrence Williams, Wayne Ellington, Jermaine Taylor
Looking back I don’t understand how Meeks went in the mid-second round. His junior year at UK was one of the best years of CBB in recent memory where he constantly highlighted his ability to score including the 54 points against Tennessee. Unfortunately for Meeks we missed the tournament and being on an NIT team severely harms a player’s stock. Still Jodie has found his spot in the NBA with the Sixers and has averaged 8.1 ppg so far in his career. While his career is still young the spot where he should have been taken is getting higher with each season.
Keith Bogans – 43rd Pick
Players Drafted Ahead: Darko Milicic, Michael Sweetney, Reece Gaines
Much like Meeks, how Bogans slipped out of the first round is a mystery. He was an SEC player of the year on an undefeated team and averaged 16 points during his senior year. Then he rolled his ankle in the NCAA tournament. That is the only explanation for Bogans going in the mid-second round, well that and the crazy stacked 2003 draft which featured Lebron, Bosh, Wade, and Carmelo among others. Still, Keith answered the low spot by going on to a now 9 year career as a role player on many different teams. Two years ago he was a starter for the East leading Bulls and then signed with the Nets this past season. The 2003 draft was loaded but Bogans has shown he should have gone in the first round, he certainly has had a better career than Darko.
Tayshaun Prince – 23rd Pick
Players Drafted Ahead: Mike Dunleavy Jr., Drew Gooden, Nene, Qytel Woods
Here’s a quick list of some of Tayshaun’s accomplishments: California Mr. Basketball, SEC player of the year, NBA champion, Olympic Gold Medalist. It’s easy to see now that Prince should have gone much higher but in 2002 he wasn’t selected until 23rd. Hindsight is 20/20 as Tayshaun has averaged 12.9 points in the NBA and been one of the association’s top defenders. Mike Dunleavy was selected third that year and has posted and average of 12.1 for his career, Tayshuan could have been a better pick in that spot.
Rajon Rondo – 21st Pick
Players Drafted Ahead: Adam Morrison, Sheldon Williams, J.J. Redick.
While Rondo didn’t have a phenomenal career while at Kentucky, mainly due to clashes with Tubby and teammates, he still showed flashes of what made him arguably the best point guard currently in the NBA. While at UK Rondo got close to that elusive triple double nobody can seem to reach, set the single season steals record, and finished in the top twenty of assists in just two years. The Celtics got the deal of the century when they traded a first round pick and some cash to land Rondo who went on to help bring them their first title since the 80′s. Pretty nice to get a future three-time all star with the 21st pick.
If a player like MKG lands outside the top 5, or the best shot in the draft goes second round then this list is going to expand very quickly. Kentucky players mostly succeed in the NBA (unlike Duke) and I can’t fathom why a GM would pass on one. Especially when there are guys like Chuck Hayes and Azubuike who weren’t even drafted yet have had long impactful careers. The bottom line Kentucky is the greatest program in basketball and I’d draft all six guys if I had the chance.
Follow me on twitter @ACassady_KSR
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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