It has been over two months since the last game of the 2014 NCAA tournament took place. Whether your team managed to play its way into the Final Four or had to bow out early, for the past couple of months now, NBA draft prospects have been eagerly anticipating and preparing for this Thursday (June 26). Enter the 2014 NBA Draft. Young men from all across the globe are hoping their names will be called. Dreams are about to become reality for many of them.
Chad Ford of ESPN took to Twitter on Friday (June 20) and tweeted out the names of all the potential lottery picks that have been chosen to attend the draft in person. Ford needed not one but two tweets to name-drop all 21 of the invitees. These honorary draft prospects will be allowed into the green room with their families on draft day. The following is a list of the players who have been invited:
- Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
- Jabari Parker, Duke
- Joel Embiid, Kansas
- Dante Exum, Australia
- Noah Vonleh, Indiana
- Aaron Gordon, Arizona
- Julius Randle, Kentucky
- Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
- Doug McDermott, Creighton
- Dario Saric, Cibona (Croatia)
- Gary Harris, Michigan State
- Elfrid Payton, Louisiana-Lafeyette
- Nik Stauskas, Michigan
- James Young, Kentucky
- Zach LaVine, UCLA
- Jusuf Nurkic, Cedevita (Croatia)
- Adreian Payne, Michigan State
- T.J. Warren, North Carolina State
- Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
- Rodney Hood, Duke
- Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
For those who follow basketball, none of the names on the list should be a surprise. There are, as you can see, some international names among the group that stateside fans may not know too much about. Dante Exum is the exception, of course, being that he is the biggest international name on the list and has gained immense hype in the States over the past year.
Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins have long been speculated to be taken with the first three picks of the draft (not necessarily in that order). Embiid’s recent foot injury, along with lingering questions about his back and knees, have made him a risky early selection for some. Embiid, however, has already worked out for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who hold the first overall pick. Parker, on the other hand, has been said to be the most NBA-ready prospect in this year’s draft. Finally, Wiggins is said to have the highest ceiling of potential out of any of the other prospects.
This year’s draft will be taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. According to Shay Marie of In Flex We Trust, more players than usual have been invited to attend the draft this time around. The 2014 NBA Draft has been hyped for a long time as being the deepest draft of NBA-level talent since the 2003 draft that included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade (to name a few). As always, this is an exciting time for the soon-to-be pros and their families and supporters.