2017 NBA Draft: Does Anyone Want a Senior?

sindarius thornwell

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 1:13 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2017 1:13 PM GMT

The 2017 NBA Draft is Thursday night from Brooklyn, and if you are a senior draft-eligible player it’s quite likely you won’t hear your name called in the first round. The NBA just doesn’t value seniors the same these days.

Seniors Not Prioritized In Modern Era

Lot of NBA Draft props currently available on BetOnline, and today let’s look at how many seniors might go in the first round Thursday night from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Back in the day, it was fairly common for college basketball’s best players to stay in school all four years. For example, NBA superstar and future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan played his full four seasons at Wake Forest, just to name one.

However, in the one-and-done era of NCAA basketball, NBA officials typically downgrade seniors. They are obviously a good three years (at least) older than a freshman, and the thinking is that if a guy had to stay in school all four years then he simply wasn’t good enough to join the NBA or become a star on his own team. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield is a good example of this. He was pretty good but not a top prospect after his first three years in Norman. However, as a senior he was fantastic in winning a few Player of the Year Awards and leading the Sooners to the Final Four. Hield became the first senior chosen in the 2016 draft, going No. 6 overall to New Orleans. He was traded last season to Sacramento in the DeMarcus Cousins deal.

Hield was one of only five seniors drafted in the 2016 first round, joining Baylor’s Taurean Prince (Atlanta), Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine (Chicago), Michigan’s Caris LeVert (Brooklyn) and North Carolina’s Brice Johnson (LA Clippers). The senior who had the biggest impact was a rookie was No. 36 overall pick Malcolm Brogdon from Virginia, who was selected by Milwaukee and will get Rookie of the Year votes.

Probably the best current NBA players who stayed all four years in college are Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Golden State’s Draymond Green, and Portland’s backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Green was a second-round pick and Butler was the final pick of the 2011 first round. Lillard and McCollum were small-school prospects, starring at Weber State and Lehigh, respectively.

BetOnline gives an ‘over/under’ of just 0.5 seniors going in Thursday’s first round, which is stunning. By comparison, the total for freshmen is 16.5, which would be a record.

You can also bet on which senior goes first, and the favorite is Colorado guard Derrick White at +185. Last year was his only season of Division I basketball as he had transferred from Division II University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. White led Colorado at 18.1 points, 4.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 51 percent from the field in 2016-17. He was named first-team All-Pac-12.

Remember how good Kansas guard Frank Mason was last year? He was the National Player of the Year and became the only player in KU and Big 12 history to average more than 20 points and five assists in the same season. But scouts aren’t high on Mason as he’s just +900 to be the first senior chosen. Mason is given an O/U of being selected at 49.5. South Carolina star Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks to an unlikely Final Four but is only +700. Thornwell has an O/U of 38.5, with the ‘over a slight favorite.

Free NBA Pick: ‘Over’ 0.5 Seniors 1st Round (-125)Best Line Offered: BetOnline
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