For the first time in eight years, the NBA draft came and went last night without an Ohio State player’s name getting called.
Neither point guard Aaron Craft nor small forward LaQuinton Ross was among the 60 players selected during the two rounds.
Both are expected to sign with teams as free agents to play in the NBA Summer League in July and try to earn an invitation to a team’s preseason training camp.
Five players from the Big Ten — Nik Stauskas and Mitch McGary of Michigan, Adreian Payne and Gary Harris of Michigan State, and Noah Vonleh of Indiana — were selected in the first round, the most from the conference since 1990. The record is six first-rounders in 1980.
Ohio State’s streak of having at least one player selected in seven consecutive drafts was the longest among NCAA teams. Kentucky gained a share of that distinction last night when it had two players, Julius Randle and James Young, taken in the first round.
The run started in 2007 with Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook and continued the past six years with Kosta Koufos in 2008, Byron Mullens in 2009, Evan Turner in 2010, Jon Diebler in 2011, Jared Sullinger in 2012 and Deshaun Thomas in 2013.
Diebler and Thomas were second-round picks but ended up in Europe. Thomas’ rights were retained by San Antonio, and he is expected to play for the Spurs’ summer-league entry.
Going undrafted could be the better option for Craft and Ross, whose agents now can try to place them with teams that have the most need for their skills — Craft’s on-ball defense and toughness, and Ross’ ability to make shots from the perimeter.
Former Ohio State point guard Scoonie Penn said he thinks Craft “has a good possibility of getting on an NBA roster because of his defensive presence.”
“Aaron is a specialist (with) his hustle, his tenacity, how hard he plays,” Penn said. “That is very good in college. I’m not sure how well it translates into the NBA, because the skill level is so high. He has to fall into the ideal situation where he can be a backup or a third point guard.”