The college basketball team that could benefit the most from Thursday night’s NBA draft is Indiana.
The Hoosiers already have Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo to thank for resurrecting the program. The year before Oladipo arrived, IU went 10-21. The Hoosiers were 12-20 Oladipo’s freshman season. Then Oladipo got better, Zeller arrived and the Hoosiers went 56-16 the last two seasons.
Now, the challenge for Tom Crean becomes sustaining that success without his two stars. Crean realizes he can use Oladipo going second and Zeller fourth in the draft to his advantage in recruiting.
Crean had this to say on Friday (via IUHoosiers.com):
I think it just brings a different dose of energy. I think this program has a lot of energy anyways. It’s one of the things we’re built on. There is no question it brings more energy...The assistant coaches were on the phone a lot. I think that was important. There was a lot of texting going back and forth. There were a lot of phone calls going back and forth. We were already recruiting in the sense to try to win as much as we can, so I don’t think it’s going to change the person that we’re recruiting as much. But I think what it signifies, and I said this to the coaches this morning before we started camp, I said this goes to show that you don’t have to deal with any entitlement. You don’t have to deal with any enlightening guys to make them think that this is a great program. This is a great program.
Crean had to get over that hurdle of convincing recruits Indiana wasn’t just a has-been several years ago. Once he landed Zeller, that brought some legitimacy to the program in recruiting. His last two classes have been ranked fifth and sixth by Rivals.com.
What Indiana can do now is use the message to recruits that you can be the next Zeller or Oladipo. Every player wants to eventually become a pro and when prospects see this school is getting it done, that makes the program attractive.
In the last 10 years, other schools have definitely benefited in recruiting from their high draft picks. This is a rundown of the schools that have had multiple top-10 picks in one draft and a look at the recruiting class that followed. (All classes and rankings via Rivals.com.)
2004 NBA Draft
Program with Multiple Top-10 Picks: Connecticut—Emeka Okafor (No. 2) and Ben Gordon (No. 3)
2005 Recruiting Class: Jeff Adrien, Andrew Bynum, Marcus Johnson, Craig Austrie
Rank: No. 10
Impact: Andrew Bynum ended up declaring for the draft and Marcus Johnson eventually transferred to USC, but Adrien and Austrie were both solid program players. They helped UConn reach the Final Four as seniors in 2009.
2005 NBA Draft
Program with Multiple Top-10 Picks: North Carolina—Marvin Williams (No. 2) and Raymond Felton (No. 5)
2006 Recruiting Class: Brandan Wright, Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson, Alex Stephenson, Deon Thompson, William Graves
Rank: No. 1
Impact: Ellington, Lawson and Thompson were starters on the championship team in 2009. They also helped UNC reach the Final Four in 2008.
2007 NBA Draft
Program with Multiple Top 10 Picks: Ohio State—Greg Oden (No. 1) and Mike Conley Jr. (No. 4)
2008 Recruiting Class: B.J. Mullens, William Buford, Walter Offutt, Anthony Crater, Nikola Kecman, Jeremie Simmons.
Rank: No. 5
Impact: Mullens was the No. 1 player in this class, but he left school after one underwhelming season in Columbus. Buford was a double-digit scorer throughout his career and helped lead the Buckeyes to the Final Four in 2012.
Program with Multiple Top-10 Picks: Florida—Al Horford (No. 3), Corey Brewer (No. 7) and Joakim Noah (No. 9)
2008 Recruiting Class: Eloy Vargas, Kenny Kadji, Ray Shipman, Allan Chaney, Erving Walker
Rank: No. 10
Impact: Walker was the only player from this class who didn’t eventually transfer. He was the starting point guard on back-to-back Elite Eight teams his final two years in school.
2008 NBA Draft
Program with Multiple Top-10 Picks: UCLA—Russell Westbrook (No. 4) and Kevin Love (No. 5)
2009 Recruiting Class: Tyler Honeycutt, Brendan Lane, Reeves Nelson, Mike Moser, Anthony Stover.
Rank: No. 9
Impact: This class helped get Ben Howland fired. Nelson was a problem child and eventually got kicked off the team. Stover was also kicked off the team. Moser transferred to UNLV. Lane transferred to Pepperdine. Honeycutt booked it to the NBA after his sophomore season. Nelson, Moser and Honeycutt definitely had talent, but UCLA never really benefited.
2011 NBA Draft
Program with Multiple Top-10 Picks: Kentucky—John Wall (No. 1) and DeMarcus Cousins (No. 5)
2011 Recruiting Class: Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Kyle Wiltjer
Rank: No. 1
Impact: Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist and Teague stuck around one season and delivered a national title.
2012 NBA Draft
Program with Multiple Top-10 Picks: Kentucky—Davis (No. 1) and Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 2)
2013 Recruiting Class: Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson, James Young, Marcus Lee, Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins
Rank: No. 1
Impact: What many believe is the best recruiting class ever is expected to make up the best team in the country. We’ll see.