It was a down year for the Atlantic Coast Conference in basketball, but you wouldn’t have known it by only looking at NBA Draft night.
The ACC tied with the Pac-12 and led all other conferences with seven draftees in the 2013 NBA Draft. Four ACC players were selected in the first round, matching the totals of the Big East and the Big Ten.
Two of those Big Ten players came within the first four picks, as Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller were selected by Southeast Division foes Orlando and Charlotte, respectively. However, Alex Len soon followed, as the Maryland center was selected fifth overall by the Phoenix Suns. Len will join ACC alum Jared Dudley and Kendall Marshall in Phoenix.
With the 18th pick, the Atlanta Hawks drafted Miami’s Shane Larkin. However, Larkin was part of a trade that will send him to the Dallas Mavericks. UNC’s Vince Carter is under contract to play for the Mavericks in 2013-14, and four other ACC alum (Elton Brand, Bernard James, Anthony Morrow, Brandan Wright) played for Dallas this year but are now free agents.
Duke’s Mason Plumlee went to Brooklyn with the 22nd pick (where he could be playing with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett pending approval of a draft day trade), while the Los Angeles Clippers selected North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock with the 25th pick. Interestingly enough, Bullock played for the CP3 All Stars on the AAU circuit. He will now be alongside Chris Paul, the Wake Forest product and namesake of that AAU squad, in Los Angeles.
ACC Player of the Year Erick Green was the first conference selection of the second round, drafted by Utah with the 46th pick but headed to Denver. Duke’s second draft pick of the night, Ryan Kelly, went to the Los Angeles Lakers with the 48th pick, while NC State’s Lorenzo Brown went to Minnesota with the 52nd pick of the draft.
Of the four first-rounders drafted out of the Big East, three played for future ACC members. Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams went to Philadelphia with the 11th overall pick, where he might be the starting point guard after the 76ers traded Jrue Holiday to New Orleans. One pick later, Oklahoma City drafted Pittsburgh center Steven Adams, while Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng went to Minnesota via Utah with the 21st pick.
Former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Glen Rice, Jr. was selected with the 35th pick of the draft. Rice played the 2012-13 season in the NBA Developmental League after being dismissed from the Yellow Jackets, and emerged as a starter for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Vipers won the 2013 NBA D-League Championship, as Rice averaged 25 points and 9.5 rebounds during the postseason.
The ACC has now had at least one first round pick in each of the past 25 years, dating back to 1989. That draft’s first ten picks included Duke’s Danny Ferry, North Carolina’s J.R. Reid, and Georgia Tech’s Tom Hammonds. Florida State’s George McCloud was also a top-ten pick in that draft, but the Seminoles were in the Metro Conference at the time.
While tying for most first-round picks among conferences, the ACC did see a downward trend in first round selections from recent years. The ACC is the only conference to have at least four players drafted in the first round in each of the past five NBA Drafts, dating to 2009. Of course, 2013 is the only year in that stretch where there were only four first round players (Seven in 2009, six in 2012, five in 2010 and 2011).
ACC first-rounders during that span have included Gerald Henderson, Tyler Hansbrough, James Johnson, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Wayne Ellington, Toney Douglas, Derrick Favors, Al-Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis, Trevor Booker, Greivis Vasquez, Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, Chris Singleton, Nolan Smith, Reggie Jackson, Harrison Barnes, Austin Rivers, Kendall Marshall, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, and Miles Plumlee.