From Julius Randle's famous Burberry belt to pledge his allegiance to Big Blue Nation to Myles Turner's spiffy bowtie ensemble to tell the world he'd be screaming "Hook 'em Horns" with Texas, elite high school athletes have proven time after time that, on occasion, they can trade in their Air Jordan retros and baggy basketball shorts for Teen Vogue-ready attire.
"Style is something I take serious," said SMU freshman point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, a projected top three pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
On Thursday night 30 of the top young basketball players in the world will walk across the stage during the first round of the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn sporting some of the flyest duds to launch their NBA careers.
James Carpenter Jr., creative director of The Custom Factory, said that, "for a lot of athletes" the NBA Draft is the "first time they've ever really put substantial thought into how they're dressed and how they look in a suit."
"That's a problem," said Carpenter, who outfits multiple NBA Draft picks each year including reigning ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren, among others, for Thursday night's draft. "Back in the day high school coaches required players to wear a shirt and tie on Fridays for games, and you don't see that anymore. Some of these elite guys will be walking across that stage in the near future, but all of the young players, at the very least, want to. I think it's important to start dressing for the job you want. They need to realize that they've invested so much into making this game their profession, now they have to take that next step into projecting the correct image; starting now."
I sat down with Carpenter, who's dressed former No. 1 picks like Andrew Bogut, to dish on a few pointers young athletes can use to spruce up their wardrobes as they transition into becoming more fashion conscious.
Fitted isn't just for caps.
"Everyone knows someone who knows someone else who tailors clothes; find that person and have them work on your suits. You don't want the suit hanging off of you all baggy. Wearing a suit that's tailored makes you standout and it says that you care about your appearance; you'll see that people treat you with more respect when you do this too."
Small steps make a big difference.
"You don't always have to go to a full-out suit; get a nice pair of ironed khakis and an ironed Polo or buttoned down shirt. Add a nice pair of shoes and you're ready to go. That look is subtle and classy."
Shoes make the man.
"I always tell guys that if you want people to believe that you're serious about the steps you're taking make sure your shoes are right! You don't want old, folded-over shoes; that's not a good look. I wouldn't take the guy wearing those seriously. Always make sure you have a good, clean pair of black shoes. It's cheap and easy to shine your shoes too."
Bowties are in.
"Most guys will opt for a necktie just because they haven't acclimated over to bowties just yet, but, trust me, bowties are in. They've been in for a while. It gives you a look of distinction and a look of professionalism. Neckties are fine just make sure the dimple in the tie is right and the knot is right. It's the little things that make the biggest difference."
Don't get locked in to trends.
"At this age trends are constantly changing; I'm worried that if they're focused on keeping up with certain trends it will be a lot tougher since, at this level, they don't always have the means to do that. Then, when they actually get to the pro level, the trend will have changed again anyway."
Frugal options are viable.
"I understand that everyone doesn't have the money to buy a bunch of suits and ties, but, listen, Goodwill has really nice stuff. I'm not kidding; it's not the Goodwill of old. You can go in there and find some really good pieces. Walmart and Target also have less expensive options. You don't have to break the bank to find pieces that fit your look. But I'll say this too; the first thing I'd look at for a kid who says they can't afford it is the shoes on their feet. Maybe tell your parents to get the $200 pair instead of the $300 pair and add a $100 suit."
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY