Mon Jun 20 12:21pm EDT
Whereas little-known programs like Rider and Eastern Washington have both produced first-round picks in recent years, some of college basketball's perennial powerhouses have not. With Thursday's NBA draft only days away, here's a look at the five best programs which have not boasted a first-round selection since at least 2000:
1. Pittsbugh: Even though the Panthers have been one of the nation's 10 best programs the past decade, the one area they have not excelled in is producing first-round picks. The last Pittsburgh player selected in the first round was guard Vonteego Cummings in 1999, before the Panthers even began their surprise emergence as a perennial Big East power. Pittsburgh's best hope of producing a first-rounder since Cummings was DeJuan Blair, but concerns about the forward's history of knee injuries caused him to slide to No. 37 in the 2008 draft.
Chances of breaking the drought this year? Zilch. Senior Gary McGhee could have a future as a backup center in the NBA because of his physicality and defensive prowess, but he likely won't be selected until the second round at best.
2. Purdue: The Boilermakers have won at least one NCAA tournament game seven of the past 11 years, yet you have to go all the way back to 1994 to find their last first-round pick. That, of course, was Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson, who became the second Purdue player ever to be taken No. 1 overall that season after a brilliant college career. Three former Boilermakers have enjoyed successful NBA careers since Robinson, but Brad Miller went undrafted in 1998, Brian Cardinal was taken No. 44 overall in 2000 and Carl Landry fell to the first pick of the second round in 2007.
Chances of breaking the drought this year? Senior JaJuan Johnson earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors as a senior, yet it's possible he could slide to the early second round. Teammate E'Twaun Moore appears to be a second-round pick.
3. Vanderbilt: Considering Vanderbilt hasn't produced a first-round pick since center Will Perdue in 1989, it makes it all the more impressive how much coach Kevin Stallings has accomplished there. The Commodores have made the NCAA tournament five times since 2004, advancing to the Sweet 16 twice during that stretch. Four Vanderbilt players have been selected in the second round of the NBA draft since 2000: Matt Freije, Dan Langhi, Shan Foster and Derrick Byars.
Chances of breaking the drought this year? The drought will last one more season since the trio of John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor and Festus Ezeli each returned to school to make a run at the SEC title. Next year, however, all three will have a chance to play their way into the first round.
4. Mississippi State: Since Eric Dampier and Dontae' Jones both went in the opening round of the 1996 NBA draft, the Bulldogs have not produced another first-rounder. Stars such as Mario Austin, Lawrence Roberts and Jarvis Varnado have helped Mississippi State make six NCAA tournament appearances since 2000, yet all three went in the second round of the draft. Closest to the first round was Austin, who went No. 36 overall to Chicago in 2003.
Chances of breaking the drought this year? Not happening. Renardo Sidney and Dee Bost wisely remained in school and senior shooting guard Ravern Johnson is too one-dimensional to merit serious first-round consideration.
5. Virginia Tech: For a program that made the second round in 2007 and has consistently contended for NCAA tournament berths since then, it's pretty remarkable how barren the Hokies' NBA history is. Their last first-rounder was sweet-shooting Dell Curry in 1986. And since Bimbo Coles went in the second round in 1990, they haven't had a player stick in the NBA for even one season. Deron Washington was the last Virginia Tech player selected in 2007 with the 59th overall pick.
Chances of breaking the drought this year? Malcolm Delaney has averaged 18 or more points per game each of his last three seasons at Virginia Tech, but the 6-foot-3 combo guard almost certainly won't be a first-rounder. In fact, concerns about his slight build and lack of height make it no guarantee he'll be selected at all.