Vol foes pack NBA Draft

Tennessee faced some of the finest teams in college basketball last season, including NCAA champ Florida and runner-up Ohio State twice each. The Vols also faced some of the finest players in college basketball.

That last statement will be underscored tonight when the National Basketball Association holds its annual draft. Based on a mock draft compiled by Sean Devaney and posted today at Sportingnews.com, 13 guys who faced Tennessee last winter could be among the first 22 players chosen.

That doesn't begin to tell the story, however. Devaney has Vol foes filling six of the top seven draft slots. Ohio State's Greg Oden is pegged to go No. 1, followed by Texas' Kevin Durant at No. 2, Florida's Al Horford at No. 3, Ohio State's Mike Conley at No. 4, North Carolina's Brandan Wright at No. 6 and Florida's Corey Brewer at No. 7.

The only player among Devaney's top seven picks who didn't show up on the Vols' schedule last winter was Georgetown's Jeff Green, who is projected to be selected No. 5.

Counting Florida's Joakim Noah, slotted to go at pick 10, seven of the top 10 selections in tonight's draft are guys Tennessee competed against in 2006-07.

Also making Devaney's list of 30 first-round picks are Vanderbilt's Derrick Byars at No. 16, LSU's Glen Davis at No. 17 and Ohio State's Daequan Cook at No. 22.

If Devaney is right and 13 Vol foes go in Round 1 tonight, that will more than double last year's total of six UT opponents who were first-round picks in 2006. The six '06 picks were LaMarcus Aldridge (Texas) at No. 2, Tyrus Thomas (LSU) at No. 4, Ronnie Brewer (Arkansas) at No. 14, Rodney Carney (Memphis) at No. 16, Shawne Williams (Memphis) at No. 17 and Rajon Rondo (Kentucky) at No. 21.

Tennessee faced just five NBA first-round picks in 2005, and four of those (Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashad McCants) played for NCAA champ North Carolina. The other, Florida's David Lee, was the 30th and final pick in Round 1.

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