Future pros? Not this year

March, 29, 2010
3/29/10
11:50
AM ET
In recent years, the Final Four has served as a nice little showcase for the NBA's incoming stars. Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse. Greg Oden, Mike Conley, and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Derrick Rose and the Memphis Tigers. In recent years, even as so many NBA fans angrily turned away from the NCAA tournament (some NBA folks like to act as if college hoops is so inferior as to be beneath their finely-tuned basketball-watching sensibilities), they still had one good reason to tune in: the NBA draft.

Not this year. Between Michigan State, Butler, West Virginia and Duke, NBA fans are going to find this year's Final Four even harder to swallow than most.

Between those four teams, there are likely only two or three legitimate NBA draft options, both of whom play for West Virginia: Devin Ebanks and Da'Sean Butler. Neither of them are in the lottery. After that, Kyle Singler and Durrell Summers show up in Chad Ford's second round. Ford's highest-ranked player -- but one who still might not declare this season -- is Butler forward Gordon Hayward, who shows up in Ford's top 20 and has made a host of appearances in other NBA mock drafts.

In other words, you won't get to see anyone projected in the highest echelons of the NBA draft in Indianapolis this season. What you will see, though, is four very solid, well-rounded teams playing the best basketball of their seasons, and doing so by playing as complete teams. What this NCAA tournament's finish lacks in star power it will more than make up for in quality college basketball. NBA fans might not like it, but I won't be complaining.

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