The last three winners of the SWAC basketball Player of the Year award have come from Texas Southern.
After tonight’s NBA Draft, it is likely that for the third consecutive year, that player will go undrafted.
Omar Strong, Sr, who won the award in 2013, now plays in the National Basketball League of Canada.
Talented big man Aaric Murray — named the 2014 SWAC Player of the Year — surprisingly didn’t get a look from an NBA team after a dominant senior season at Texas Southern. Murray most recently signed a pro contract to play in the Greek Basket League.
Madarious Gibbs, who helped lead Texas Southern to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances on his way to winning the SWAC Player of the Year this past season, doesn’t even appear among DraftExpress.com’s top draft eligible point guards.
Nearly two decades have gone by since an NBA team thought it would benefit them to take an athlete from one of the storied conferences in all of intercollegiate athletics.
Who was the last SWAC player taken in any round of the NBA Draft? Anyone? Anyone? Time’s up.
If you guessed former Mississippi Valley State standout Marcus Mann, then you are correct. Mann was taken in the second round by the Golden State Warriors in 1996.
Since then, eligible SWAC players have been regulated to signing free-agent deals or toiling overseas. Prior to the 1996 NBA Draft, 21 players were taken from 1981 until 1995, with the high water mark being five in 1982.
Why such a significant drop off now?
It is reasonable to determine that since the SWAC, and black colleges in general, don’t acquire the elite prep talent that major Division 1 schools do, it is not likely a plethora of kids from those institutions flood into the draft.
But not every 15 years. Few schools have droughts that long – let alone an entire conference.
Whatever the reason, it has translated into mock and actual drafts without the names of SWAC basketball players attached to them.
What’s worse is that teams that once overlooked historically black college talent for four-year power conference studs, high schoolers and one-and-dones, are now scouting the Congo for players.
The belief now is that made in the USA is no longer the standard of basketball excellence.
The NBA basically informs college basketball players that if you stay in school for more than two years, are from a small conference or your last name can be easily pronounced by Adam Silver, then you are not professional material.
Seven of the first eight players taken in the 2014 NBA Draft were from Power Five schools. There were 13 international players selected during the draft, some of whom won’t even be on a roster for the next three or four years.
This year, NBA mock drafts feature names like Mario Hezonja of Barcelona and Kristaps Porzingis of Sevilla being scooped up in the first six picks.
That is what it comes to. Maybe the SWAC can be part of a future trivia question that reads something like this: who was the first player drafted from an overseas SWAC satellite campus?
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