Predicting Which Mid-Major College Basketball Stars Have NBA Futures

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Predicting Which Mid-Major College Basketball Stars Have NBA Futures
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

A look at the early mock-ups for the 2014 NBA Draft show the same old story: most of those projected to get picked in the first or second round will come from the usual suspects in college basketball's power conferences.

According to NBADraft.net, its latest mock draft predicts 20 of the first 23 players selected will come from either the American, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC or Pac-12. The only exceptions are players from overseas.

That doesn't leave much room for standouts from the rest of Division I's 25 leagues, of which there are plenty. Though lacking the pedigree—not to mention publicity machines—of their top-tier brethren, the little guys from the lesser conferences still find ways to sneak into the pros each year.

One only needs to go back to the 2013 draft to see evidence of this. The top overall pick came from outside the big six (now seven, with the Big East now split into two leagues), as Anthony Bennett shined at UNLV, while Lehigh's C.J. McCollum and Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk were taken as lottery choices.

All told, 12 of the 60 players drafted last season came from mid- or low-major conferences.

Will the same happen this year? A lot depends on the progress and performance made by players between now and late June, not to mention the fickle needs of the drafting teams.

For now, though, here's a look at which mid-major basketball stars might have a future in the NBA.

(NOTE: All statistics are through Tuesday, Jan. 21)

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