Commentary

The sad reality of draft night

Updated: July 2, 2010, 1:29 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Manny HarrisAP Photo/Orlin WagnerManny Harris starred at Michigan, but he went undrafted on draft night, leaving him few options.
It seems like every year after the draft, people forget about the underclassmen who put their names in and were not chosen.

Think back a few years to Jamont Gordon, the former Mississippi State standout. If he had returned to school, he could have been one of the premier players in the SEC. But after receiving bad advice, Gordon entered the draft with delusions of grandeur.

He went undrafted.

Yes, my friends, he was told he would go in the first round by his friends, his advisors, his posse. Instead, he became a basketball vagabond. He played over in Europe last season, still hoping for his dreams of playing in the NBA.

People talk about the underclassmen who went high in this year's draft. You hear about John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, Wesley Johnson, Greg Monroe, DeMarcus Cousins and on and on. In fact, the first non-underclassman didn't get called until pick No. 23 (Clemson's Trevor Booker).

But still, this year, there were more stories like Gordon's.

Think about some of the underclassmen who were left out:

Only 60 players get chosen in the two rounds of the NBA Draft. It certainly should not come as a surprise that some of these players with eligibility remaining were going to be disappointed.

There were a number of players who wisely pulled out of the draft and returned to school -- guys such as Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, BYU's Jimmer Fredette and Purdue's JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore. They will be some of the best players in college hoops next season.

The undrafted underclassmen will now try to hook up with NBA summer league teams in hopes of gaining a roster spot. They will have to fight, scrap and claw. There are no guaranteed first-round dollars, no signed NBA deals in place.

It's a sad reality.

These players could have been BMOC (big men on campus), getting another year to work on their skills and improve their chances for the 2011 draft.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.