Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell and Wisconsin's pair of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker will be the first three Big Ten players selected in the 2015 NBA Draft—that much is pretty certain.
According to several mock drafts, Russell, a one-and-doner for coach Thad Matta, is a top-five pick, while former Badgers stars Kaminsky, a senior, and Dekker, a junior, project as early-to-mid first-rounders.
Kaminsky could land in the lottery, a scenario that I recently discussed with Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News during a recent episode of my podcast, Sports in the Mitten.(Note: The interview starts at 32:00, but an audio bed was misplaced and kind of distorts the beginning—not too much, though. Unfortunately, we weren't able to erase without the risk of deleting the entire file...)
But there's more to the equation than a simple look at one of this past season's best NCAA talents.While size certainly helps his cause, vision and feel for the game are Russell's best assets.
DeCourcy on Kaminsky: As it turns out, the Yahoo! Sports mock has Kaminsky going to my home-state Detroit Pistons. I'd say "hometown," but I'm not from Detroit. Anyhow, the 7'1", 231-pounder has leadership upon leadership ability. Playing four years at Wisconsin for a coach such as Bo Ryan will do that for a guy.
A prime example of the four-year formula that's gone by the wayside in college hoops, Kaminsky can truly do everything well, and some things exceptionally well. He needs to gain strength in order to bang with NBA bodies, but he has shooting skills rarely seen at his size and position. Go ahead and think of Dirk Nowitzki—I've heard that a few times. I'm sure Kaminsky has, too.
A big with a complete package—that's Kaminsky in a nutshell. A big nutshell.
"His skill level is surpassing, by far, the average NBA 7-footer—by far," DeCourcy said.
DeCourcy on Dekker: Steady Sam or Sloppy Sam? That's the question. Everyone can agree that the 6'9", 219-pound former Badgers star can shoot. He proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt throughout his career, so much that he's ready for the pros as a junior.
The nation got a healthy taste of Dekker this year, but those of us in Big Ten Country have known about him since he hit Madison. Dekker's shot selection and trigger-happy ways may hinder him a bit, but probably not enough to cause major issues. The Yahoo! Sports draft has Dekker going No. 16 overall to the Boston Celtics, who once had a 6'9", 220-pound small forward known for draining buckets. But I won't get too far ahead of myself with that one. Probably a bit early for that...or is it (Celtics Blog).
Follow Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.