– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
The NBA Draft will take place on Thursday and according to just about every mock draft out there, we won’t see any former Oklahoma standouts be drafted on Thursday night. If that indeed happens, it’ll be the second straight year that an Oklahoman isn’t drafted and the seventh consecutive year that we don’t see an Oklahoman get selected in the first round.
The 2018 NBA Draft on the other hand, well, that could be a different story entirely. Arizona guard Allonzo Trier and SMU guard Shake Milton are already considered to be top NBA draft prospects for next year. Trier played in Oklahoma as a freshman with the OKC Storm and then with NOAH as a sophomore. He spent his junior and senior seasons playing prep ball. Milton was a star for Owasso and won the Gatorade Player Of The Year award twice.
It depends on which mock draft you’re looking at, but several have Milton and Trier going in the first round of next year’s NBA Draft. Every mock draft you look at have both players being drafted. However, some have Milton in the first and Trier in the second and vice versa.
Trier will return to Arizona for his junior season after being selected as an All Pac-12 second team selection. He played in just 18 games after being suspended for PED use. Many college basketball analysts believe that Trier will be a preseason first team All American and a player of the year candidate.
Milton will return for his junior season as well at SMU. Just like Trier, Milton was named an all conference second team selection. Milton started all 35 games for SMU during his sophomore campaign. The 6’5 point guard will have high expectations again during the 2017-2018 season.
If both players decide to come out early after their junior seasons, we have a chance to see a special 2018 NBA Draft. Former Edmond Santa Fe standout Josh Richardson was taken in the second round of the 2015 draft. Other than that, you have to go all the way back to the 2010 draft to see any Oklahomans. The 2010 draft class was special for Oklahoma. Not one, not two, but three former Oklahomans were taken in the first round.
Former Edmond Santa Fe standout Ekpe Udoh was taken sixth overall by Golden State. Six picks later, former Putnam City standout Xavier Henry was selected by Memphis. Late in the first round, Orlando selected former Bishop McGuinness big man Daniel Orton.
If you look even further into the 2018 draft possibilities, you could add former Norman North point guard Trae Young into the mix. Young could even have a decision to make after his freshman campaign at Oklahoma. However, it appears that it’s more likely that he comes back for a sophomore season. He is projected as a first round pick in the 2019 draft.
As for Milton and Trier, if they do indeed enter next year’s draft, and are both selected in the first round, the connection between the two former Oklahoma standouts will be even stronger. The first connection was on the court in 2013 when Milton’s Rams met up with Trier’s Jaguars in the Skiatook Invitational. Owasso got the win, but the bigger spotlight was on the stars in the game. Both combined for 80 points as Trier dropped in 43 and Milton totaled 37.
That was the only time Milton and Trier went head to head. They could see each other this upcoming season in the Bahamas. Arizona and SMU are both participating in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in November.
Last Five Oklahomans Drafted
2015 Draft – Josh Richardson (Edmond Santa Fe) – Miami – (Drafted 40th Overall)
2010 Draft – Ekpe Udoh (Edmond Santa Fe) – Golden State (Drafted 6th Overall)
2010 Draft – Xavier Henry (Putnam City) – Memphis (Drafted 12th Overall)
2010 Draft – Daniel Orton (Bishop McGuinness) – Orlando (Drafted 29th Overall)
2009 Draft – Blake Griffin (Oklahoma Christian School) – Los Angeles Clippers (Drafted 1st Overall)