The stars of the NBA Draft are almost always players from high-major schools who get great exposure. However, there can be steals from the draft (or UDFA) that hail from mid-major basketball schools.
This past season, every major NCAA statistic was led by a player who attended a mid-major school. However, those players certainly aren’t household names, and rarely get the recognition they deserve. The only one that got the proper exposure was Ja Morant, who the Memphis Grizzlies selected 2nd overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. I’ll be focusing on the other mid-major basketball stars who were drafted, due to their excellence but lack of media coverage.
Chris Clemons, a 5’9″ point guard from Campbell University, led the nation in scoring with 30.1 points per game. Nico Carvacho, from Colorado State, led the nation with 12.9 rebounds per game. Brandon Gillbeck, from Western Illinois led the nation with 3.4 blocks per game. Devontae Cacok, a 6’7″ center from UNCW, led the nation in double-doubles with 24.
What do all those players have in common?
They’re all from mid-major schools who led the NCAA in a major statistical category, and they all went undrafted.
The players that hail from mid-major schools that did get drafted possess similar skills and attributes as the player mentioned above, but have either a better NBA-body, or better versatility. The NBA drafts players with a high ceiling, and who generally don’t need several years to be ready to compete against NBA competition. I’m confident that many UDFA that come from mid-major schools will eventually make it to the NBA, but for now, only seven of them are on the fast track to an NBA career.
But there are still those who were thought of enough to get selected in this past draft. Here’s a look at those taken later on but has a great shot at staying in the league for years to come.