Right away, the first instinct is to say, “of course! Kids see Syracuse players going high in the draft and want in on the action.” But maybe not. The Orange has had 6 players drafted over the last 3 years, good for second most in the country – presumably behind Kentucky – brought to our attention by a tweet sent by Chris Carlson on Wednesday. But the Orange has always recruited well regardless of their players get drafted.
There have been long spells of players not being drafted, not being drafted highly, or being drafted and flaming out. And there never was a direct correlation between struggles in the NBA draft and struggles on the Carrier Dome court.
So in the lead up to tonight’s draft, we have heard that Chris McCullough could go as early as the end of the first round and Rakeem Christmas might be a high second round pick, and that is great if you are a Syracuse fan who wants these guys to do well. But does it really have any bearing on the SU team you will see on the court over the next few years?
Unless one of them hits it huge and becomes a mega-star – like Carmelo Anthony – at the NBA level, the odds are that it won’t help. Yes, Syracuse has sent its fair share of players to the draft, 6 over the last 3 years to be exact. But that isn’t the kind of number that stands out. Not when the school that has sent more players to the NBA Draft could have 7 or 8 taken just this year. The NBA Draft can help a small number of schools, right now, Kentucky is probably the only one it is really, truly helping because of the sheer number of players they are sending.
The NBA Draft is great, it is a huge reward for guys who have seen their work pay off. Guys like Rakeem Christmas who blossomed in his senior year and now has a chance to go play in the NBA. Or for the young guy who was just going to college because he had to go for a year like Chris McCullough. Now everyone moves on to the next step. I’m just not so sure there is as much of an effect on recruiting as we all like to think.