The program that has produced a pick in the most consecutive NBA drafts isn’t one-and-done-fueled Kentucky, talent-rich North Carolina or fellow blue bloods Duke or Kansas.
Somewhat surprisingly, it’s Ohio State.
A Buckeyes player has been selected in the first or second round of the past six drafts, one more than Kentucky and two more than Connecticut, Washington and Florida State. Ohio State has had a first-round pick in five of those drafts, a stretch that includes Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook (2007), Kosta Koufos (2008), Byron Mullens (2009), Evan Turner (2010) and Jared Sullinger (2012).
Ohio State’s chances of extending that streak during Thursday night’s NBA draft hinge on forward Deshaun Thomas being selected. The 6-foot-7 junior showcased a diverse offensive game in averaging 19.8 points per game as the centerpiece of the Buckeyes last season, but questions about his athleticism and lateral quickness defensively have hurt his chances of being selected in the first round.
DraftExpress.com projects Thomas going in the mid-second round, noting that his low turnover rate and efficiency as a high-usage scorer help offset questions about his ability to defend NBA small forwards. NBA.com’s Scott Howard Cooper projects Thomas going in the early second round at No. 34.