The Michigan State men's basketball team has landed in the no. 2 spot on list of 10 teams with the most NBA prospects in the 2013-14 season. ESPN's Jeff Goodman ranked the top ten 2013-14 NCAA rosters with the most NBA prospects, and with the Kentucky Wildcats leading the pack at no. 1, MSU is next up for a talent-loaded roster.
“There’s a significant drop-off from Kentucky to everyone else, but Tom Izzo does have NBA-caliber talent,” Goodman wrote. “Both Adreian Payne and Gary Harris returned to school, and could be lottery picks in 2014. The Spartans also have point guard Keith Appling, along with strong, athletic wing Branden Dawson and skilled forward Denzel Valentine — who will all make money playing the game after they finish college.”
Adreian Payne, who is going into his senior year, and Gary Harris, now a sophomore, both toyed with the idea of leaving Michigan State to enter the 2013 NBA Draft this year, but instead decided to stay. Payne was recently selected to represent the United States in the World University Games in Russia and Harris was the Spartans' no. 2 scorer last season. Without these two key players, MSU may not have claimed the no. 2 slot on Goodman's list.
As Goodman points out, however, they aren't the only ones that drove MSU to the top of his list. Appling, Dawson and Valentine all have the potential to make it post-college as well.
After hearing the news of their top ranking, the Spartans can use it in a positive way moving into next season. After being eliminated by Duke in the Sweet Sixteen of last season's NCAA Tournament, the Spartans will have their eye on making progress, and even going all the way after having a season to gel as a squad. With an NCAA championship under their belts, Michigan State players will have even more draft stock come 2014.
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