Most NBA draft analysts will tell you B.J. Mullens will be picked in the first round of the league’s draft Thursday night. Assuming that happens, he will be the fifth first-round pick to come from Ohio State in three years. That is a run many schools would certainly be proud of, but for some added perspective, consider what a contrast it represents from the previous two decades when former Buckeyes were scarcely seen in the NBA at all.
This three-year run began with Portland’s selection of Greg Oden No. 1 in the 2007 draft and followed with Mike Conley going to the Memphis Grizzlies at No. 4 and the Philadelphia 76ers taking Daequan Cook with the 21st pick (Philadelphia later traded his rights to the Miami Heat).
It continued last year when the Utah Jazz picked Kosta Koufos at No. 23, but where Mullens lands this year remains up in the air leading up to the big night.
Most projections have him missing the lottery (the top 14) but coming off the board well before Cleveland Cavaliers close out the first round with pick No. 30.
Mullens worked out for the Philadelphia 76ers over the weekend,
but those who follow the team seem to think it more likely to go with a perimeter player with the No. 17 pick.
Of course, previous reports have indicated he was promised he would not be available when the Sixers make their selection.
First came a supposed Twitter post from someone claiming to be Mullens and intimating the Chicago Bulls had assured him they would snap him up at No. 16, but since then website NBAdraft.net reported two sources telling it the Detroit Pistons gave Mullens a pledge to draft him at 15.
Promise or not, it would seem the Bulls have some legitimate interest in Mullens based on a workout against Pittsburgh power forward DeJuan Blair scheduled for the team Tuesday in Chicago, according to website DraftExpress.com.
That site also reports that Mullens received an invitation from the NBA to attend the draft but that he might decline for fear a slot in the top 15 is not guaranteed.
If the aforementioned information was not wishy-washy enough, DraftExpress.com’s newest mock draft as of Monday night foresaw Mullens slipping to the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 18...
And, to update an issue covered last week in the roundup thoughts that Conley is in danger of being displaced as the point guard of the Grizzles seem to have run their course.
As previously mentioned in this space and repeatedly detailed in the Professionally Speaking Blog, the Grizzlies have the option of selection with the No. 2 pick star Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio or perhaps even University of Memphis freshman Tyreke Evans.
They could also fill a frontcourt need with Hasheem Thabeet of Connecticut.
In the same mock draft that saw Mullens headed to Minnesota, DraftExpress predicts the Grizzlies will pick shooting guard James Harden of Arizona State.
Meanwhile, NBAdraft.net puts Mullens in Detroit and Rubio in Memphis, and an SI.com draft updated last Friday by Ian Thompsen reflected a belief the Griz will pick Evans with Mullens sliding all the way to No. 23 and Sacramento
Yet on SI.com, the newest news on the Grizzlies front sounds good for Conley.
Scott Howard-Cooper wrote Monday that folks in the league feel head coach Lionel Hollins is enamored with the former Buckeye and someone identified as "a rival personnel boss" told Howard-Cooper to bet on the Grizzlies grabbing Thabeet.
Similarly, in the most recent mock draft from Sporting News, staff writer Sean Devaney also had Thabeet ticketed for Memphis with Mullens going to Chicago at No. 16...
Now what was it we were saying about history? Well, if any of those predictions above regarding Mullens come true, Ohio State will be able to boast of at least one player selected in the first round of three consecutive NBA drafts for the first time since 1980-82.
That run started with Kelvin Ransey, the No. 4 overall pick in ’80 to the Bulls, and continued with Herb Williams to the Indiana Pacers at No. 14 overall the following year. In ’82, Clark Kellogg went to the Pacers at No. 8 overall to finish the trifecta.
Over the next nearly two-and-a-half decades, the Buckeye program would produce four more first-round draftees: Tony Campbell (1984), Brad Sellers (‘86), Dennis Hopson (;87) and Jim Jackson (’92) before the Oden-Conley-Cook trifecta...
While we are talking about pro basketball, Ivan Harris’ dream to reach the NBA remains alive after a standout season in the league’s developmental hub.
Harris, a McDonald’s All-American from Springfield, maintained his shooting touch with the NBDL’s Erie franchise, making 39 of 91 three-pointers while averaging 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 50 games last season...
In another followup to last week’s roundup, we can tell you right-handed relief pitcher Jake Hale signed his first professional contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who assigned the 23-year-old to Yakima of the short-season Single-A Northwest League...
That wraps up another edition of the Professional Speaking Weekly Roundup, a summer feature on BuckeyeSports.com designed to help pass the long summer months before football kicks up again, but it is far from all the news of former Buckeyes playing for pay. Be sure to check out the Pro Speak Blog on our Ask The Insiders message board or the stand-alone feature on the web. Aside from those tales already detailed above, head there for more NBA draft dealings and updates from pro football involving Chris Wells, Malcolm Jenkins, Antoine Winfield, Bobby Carpenter, Alex Boone, Brent Johnson and the United Football League draft.