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Big East Impact On The NBA Draft

While Pitt didn't have any draftees in the 2010 NBA Draft, there was plenty of news regarding Big East prospects:

Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks of West Virginia slipped into the 2nd round.  Butler was a senior and his injury undoubtedly hurt him.  However, Ebanks was a sophomore and his relatively modest 2009-10 numbers (12 points / 8 rebounds per game) likely helped contribute to his slide.  He could have opted to come back and work on his game and this decision could hurt him as he fell out of first-round guaranteed money.

Another player who might have been better served by waiting an extra year was Cincinnati freshman Lance Stephenson, who also fell to the second round being drafted by the Indiana Pacers at 40th overall.  After the draft, Lance had all the right things to say:
"It is great to have Indiana pick me up," said Stephenson, who worked out for 10 teams including Indiana. "I think I fit in great. Danny Granger is a great player and they got players that are good so I am going to try and fit in and try to be a team player."
Stephenson was also fairly confident in his abilities after working out with the Knicks, who passed him over with consecutive picks at #38 and #39, opting for a pair of seniors (one of which was Syracuse guard Andy Rautins) instead:

"It would be better for the Knicks in a lot of ways," Stephenson said. "I would draw a lot more people to the games."
I'm not going to go as far as say that these were major gaffes after DeJuan Blair and Sam Young both proved productive players can come out of the second round.  But you better be sure you can stick as a second round player.  DeJuan Blair simply outworks everyone else, but neither Ebanks or Stephenson appear to have that trait.  Neither was dominant in college and it's safe to say that one or both might have a hard time sticking.

Next up in the "Step Right Up To Your NBA Future" Challenge is DePaul junior Mac Koshwal.  Koshwal left school early for a chance at the NBA, but even with a legitimate NBA body at 6'10" / 250 pounds and solid Big East stats (16 points/10 rebounds per game), he couldn't even crack the draft and was not selected.

Tricky game this NBA Draft stuff is.  Some players have legitimate reasons for leaving.  As a 22-year old junior, Koshwal was getting up in age and maybe he figured it was now or never.  Still, to me, you've got to be absolutely sure that if you're not selected in the first-round, you can make it as a legitimate second rounder.  This doesn't apply to players who don't figure to be NBA players and simply want to go play overseas or in a pro league for money.  But guys like Koshwal and Stephenson don't fall into that group.  Hopefully they make it and go on to long careers.

Still, the Big East had plenty of representation in the draft.  First-rounders included top ten picks Wes Johnson and Greg Monroe as well as late rounders Dominique Jones and Lazar Haywood.  In addition to Stephenson, Ebanks, Butler, and Rautins, Luke Harangody, Hamady Ndiaye, and Stanley Robinson were all taken in the second round.  11 NBA Draft picks in one season ain't bad.