Every year, the incoming freshman class has a major impact on the NBA draft. This year won't be any different.
Our 2012 NBA draft Big Board has a whopping six freshmen projected as one-and-done lottery picks and six more potential first-rounders. But come June, that certainly could change for reasons beyond the players' will.
The question on every NBA scout's mind right now is whether these 12 freshmen will be eligible for the 2012 NBA draft thanks to ongoing negotiations between the NBA and National Basketball Players Association about increasing the current age restrictions. Under current proposals sitting before the labor committees, players would have to be 20 years old and two years removed from high school to be eligible for the NBA draft.
If the new age restriction passes -- a big "if" at the moment given the current standoff between the two sides -- our Big Board will change dramatically. But for now, NBA scouts are scouting these players as though they will be eligible.
Freshmen have been the rage for NBA scouts since high school seniors were banned from entering the draft in 2007. But in the past few seasons, their influence in the lottery has begun to wane.
But since 2008, GMs have cooled a little on the freshman class.
The 2010-11 season had a ton of elite freshmen, but four of them, Harrison Barnes, Perry Jones, Jared Sullinger and Terrence Jones, all decided to return for their sophomore seasons. That left just three freshmen drafted in the 2011 lottery -- Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight and Tristan Thompson. Although if you wanted to count ineligible Kentucky recruit Enes Kanter, there were four.
How many freshmen will hear their name in the lottery in 2012? It's ridiculously early to do a stock watch, but given how talented the incoming freshman class is, here's an early read on where they might be headed.
The top 10
Anthony Davis, F/C, Kentucky
Top 100 Rank: 1
I haven't seen NBA scouts this excited about a big man since Greg Oden hit Ohio State's campus as a freshman in 2006.
To see what makes Anthony Davis such a prime draft prospect and get the rest of Chad Ford's list of potential one-and-done candidates, become an Insider today.