Kentucky is expected to have six players taken in tonight’s NBA draft. That total dwarfs every college, but given the Wildcats’ success in landing blue-chip prospects in recent years, isn’t a big surprise.
No. 2 might shock you. It isn’t Duke or Arizona, each with three likely draftees. It’s Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), the high school powerhouse that has four players likely to be drafted, including a whopping three likely first-rounders in Kelly Oubre (Kansas), Christian Wood (UNLV), and Rashad Vaughn (UNLV) and a fourth player, Brandon Ashley (Arizona), likely to be taken in the second round. Sure those players were in college last season, but it’s amazing that four from the same high school could go into the league at the same time.
If Findlay Prep does have four players chosen, the Pilots will tie the record set by Dunbar (Baltimore) in 1987. The players taken that year from Dunbar included three first-rounders in Reggie Williams, Muggsy Bogues and Reggie Lewis, along with second-rounder David Wingate.
“We’re all very excited to see our players’ had work pay off and their dreams come true,” Findlay Prep coach Andy Johnson, on honeymoon in Mexico, said via text.
Findlay Prep, in existence as a high school team only since 2006, has had seven players drafted since 2010, including three in the 2011 draft: Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and DeAndre Liggins. Mike Peck, who was Findlay’s first coach, said the program’s success has begun to build on itself.
“When we started the whole thing, the main objective was to prepare the guys for what was next,” said Peck, who is coaching the Las Vegas Prospects U17 AAU team this summer. “Be that for tommorrow or next week week or the next level, college. In the course of doing that, the blueprint was we did it at a high level. I didn’t make Avery Bradley a great player, he came to us good. The same thing with Kelly, Christian and Rashad. I think we put in a system that allowed them to flourish. Success breeds success. We have banners with our NBA draft picks on the wall. Our current players can’t hide from that. ”
It’s a great year for high school powerhouses, as Montverde (Fla.) Academy is likely to have three players taken in the NBA draft: Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell; Kentucky center Dakari Johnson and Florida shooting guard Michael Frazier.
Those numbers may show the shifting sands of high school domination as Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), which has had 25 players drafted, including three in 1995 (Jerry Stackhouse, Cory Alexander and Junior Burrough), doesn’t have any players likely to be selected in this year’s NBA Draft. A few might be on the way, though, as the Warriors were 47-1 this year.