The Big Ten had the third most players of any conference selected in last night’s draft, tied with the Big 12 and trailing only the ACC and SEC.
In total, six Big Ten players were drafted. However, only two of the drafted players were selected in the first round, and only one went in the lottery.
It was a disappointing night for some of the conference’s players. Michigan State's Deyonta Davis was projected by many to go in the lottery, but he fell all the way to the second round. Players like Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell and Iowa’s Jared Uthoff had excellent college careers, but didn’t hear their names called on draft night.
However, there were also some success stories. Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine found his way into the lottery after showing significant improvement throughout his college career. Michigan’s Caris LeVert cracked the top 20 in spite of injury struggles that many thought were going to keep him out of the first round.
To summarize all of the evening’s ups and downs, here’s a list of the Big Ten players who did (and did not) get selected in this year’s NBA Draft.
Round 1, Pick 14: Denzel Valentine – Michigan State (Chicago Bulls)
Analysis: Valentine stayed all four years at Michigan State, and he peaked at the perfect time. With Derrick Rose out of the picture, it’ll be interesting to see how the Bulls use Valentine, especially with Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and maybe even Jimmy Butler also potentially on their way out.
Round 1, Pick 20: Caris LeVert – Michigan (Indiana Pacers, traded to Brooklyn Nets)
Analysis: LeVert played like an All-American before suffering season-ending injuries in each of his last two years at Michigan. He’s on his way to Brookyln via trade where he’ll likely have the opportunity to play right away because of a weak roster.
Round 2, Pick 31: Deyonta Davis – Michigan State (Boston Celtics, traded to Memphis Grizzlies)
Analysis: Davis probably had the most disappointing draft night of any player, as he was forced to sit through every first round selection before hearing his name called. He’s not very polished offensively, but he’s a good shot blocker, and he’ll have some time to develop behind Marc Gasol and fellow-Spartan Zach Randolph in Memphis.
Round 2, Pick 40: Diamond Stone – Maryland (New Orleans Pelicans, traded to Los Angeles Clippers)
Analysis: Stone decided to go pro after having a solid freshman season with Maryland. A trade between the Pelicans and the Clippers should put him in a winning situation, but he shouldn’t expect to see the court much as a rookie.
Round 2, Pick 46: A.J. Hammons – Purdue (Dallas Mavericks)
Analysis: Hammons was dominant at times during his four years at Purdue. Undrafted rookie center Salah Mejri played a significant role for the Mavericks near the end of the season and during the playoffs, so it’s possible that Hammons sees similar playing time if he earns it.
Round 2, Pick 47: Jake Layman – Maryland (Orlando Magic, traded to Portland Trail Blazers)
Analysis: Layman was the final Big Ten player to be selected in the draft. Portland didn’t have any picks going into the draft, so the fact that they liked Layman enough to trade into the draft is a good sign for the former Terrapin.
Key Undrafted Players
Yogi Ferrell – Indiana (signed deal with Brooklyn Nets)
Bryn Forbes – Michigan State
Rasheed Sulaimon – Maryland
Jared Uthoff – Iowa
With the Summer League right around the corner, many of these guys will be busy this offseason.