Behind The Scoreboard

Youngsters top the draft

The 2017 NBA Draft picks were part of a record-setting night for the freshman class.

More than a decade ago, the NBA implemented the “one and done” rule, forcing high school basketball players in the Class of 2006 to wait a year before becoming eligible for the NBA Draft. This rule has never had more of an impact than it did last Thursday.

History was being made as the young players came off the board much earlier than anticipated. Of the first 11 players picked, 10 of them were freshmen. A draft record of 16 freshmen was selected in the first round, surpassing the previous record of 13 in 2015.

This draft also marked the first time in league history in which the top five picks (Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox) were all freshmen.

Just two seniors went in the first round – a record low. According to the NBA, no draft in the “common” era (since 1966) has been so slim on seniors. The first senior taken was Colorado’s Derrick White as the 29th pick and Villanova’s Josh Hart was the last to be selected in that round as the 30th overall pick. This was the longest any senior ever had to wait.

The Atlantic Coast Conference had a fantastic night, too. The ACC had 10 players selected in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, setting the record for most first-round draft picks by a conference. The previous record was also set by the ACC in 1995 with eight, and later by the SEC in 2012.

The ACC had nine different schools with at least one player selected in this year’s draft. Duke led all the ACC schools with four players drafted. Florida State and North Carolina each had two. Clemson, Louisville, Miami, N.C. State, Syracuse, and Wake Forest had one each.

The SEC had four players picked in the draft. The Kentucky Wildcats’ De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo were selected in the first round while South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell went in round two. Fox (No. 5 pick) is the 12th UK player to go in the top seven picks since 2010.

Since the one-and-done rule was enacted 11 years ago, 83 freshmen have been drafted, 11 have been named all-stars, and six have been named rookie of the year. To name a few are the following – Kevin Durant, Mike Conley, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph.

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