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NBA Draft Preview: Young expected to be first Gator taken

Eleven UF players have been selected in NBA Draft since ‘07

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Jordan McPherson / Alligator Staff

Patric Young attempts a shot during Florida’s 72-49 win against Missouri on March 14 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta during the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Young was the 2014 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and averaged 6.4 rebounds per game on the season.

Updated

The 2014 NBA Draft is a week away and the top of the draft board is beginning to take shape.

The consensus top three picks for the draft according to a compilation of mock drafts by NBA.com are a trio of freshmen: Kansas center Joel Embiid, Duke shooting forward Jabari Parker and Kansas shooting forward Andrew Wiggins. In fact, eight of the top 14 picks are projected to be freshmen, while just one senior — Creighton’s Doug McDermott, a three-time first-team All-American and the 2014 National Player of the Year — is expected to be taken with one of those top picks.

But while the top of the draft starts to show some signs of certainty, projecting where former Florida players will be drafted still remains an uncertainty.

Patric Young is the lone UF athlete consistently showing up on draft boards. Young, who measured in at 6-foot-10 and 247 pounds at the NBA Combine, is the No. 34 overall prospect and No. 3 center according to ESPN’s Chad Ford.

Although ESPN ranks Young as a late-first round pick, most mock drafts slate the former Gators center and Jacksonville native as a mid-second round selection.

Young, the 2014 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year and an honorable mention AP All-American, paced the Gators with 41 blocks while ranking 12th in the SEC with 6.2 rebounds per game. He finished his UF career as the 11th player in Gators history to finish his career with at least 1300 points and 800 rebounds.

Fellow Florida players Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather, the No. 74 and No. 95 prospects on Ford’s Top 100 list, could squeeze in as late second round picks but are likely to go undrafted.

Wilbekin was the 2014 SEC Player of the Year and a third-team All-American after averaging 13.1 points per game and led the Gators with 3.6 assists per game and 56 steals in a team-best 34 minutes per contest, but off-the-field issues could leave teams hesitant of drafting him.

Prather, who averaged just 3.1 points per game in his first three years with Florida, led the Gators in his senior campaign with 13.8 points per contest and paced the SEC with a .603 shooting clip. The first-team All-SEC selection also set career-highs in rebounds per game (5.0), assists per game (1.6), total steals (37) and total blocks (20) in his final collegiate season.

Since Florida won its last national championship in 2007, 11 former Gators have been drafted — five were first-round choices — with at least one UF player being selected in every draft with the exception of 2010.

UF’s 2007 draft class saw five players — Al Horford (third), Corey Brewer (seventh), Joakim Noah (ninth), Chris Richard (41st) and Taurean Green (52nd) — taken in the 60-pick draft, tying with the 2006 UConn class for the most players selected in one year until the 2012 draft when Kentucky had six players drafted.

Follow Jordan McPherson on Twitter @J_McPherson1126

1 image

Jordan McPherson / Alligator Staff

Patric Young attempts a shot during Florida’s 72-49 win against Missouri on March 14 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta during the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Young was the 2014 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and averaged 6.4 rebounds per game on the season.

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