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NBA Draft Missing Irish Flavor

2012 NBA Draft

When: June 28
Where: Newark, N.J.
Time: 7 p.m. ET

Will junior guard Jerian Grant be the next Irish player to hear his name called in the NBA Draft?

After two rounds of the 2012 NBA Draft conclude on June 28, it will be the second consecutive year without a former Notre Dame player being selected. Tim Abromaitis might have had a shot had he not suffered a season-ending knee injury last November — an ACL tear that will continue to sideline the forward for another month.

Abromaitis plans to go the European route, unless an appearance next week at an NBA Draft combine in Chicago produces an opportunity to work out for a pro team stateside. Last summer Ben Hansbrough, the reigning Big East Conference Player of the Year, didn’t hear his name called in the draft and played in Germany and Slovenia. He’s recently worked out for a number of NBA organizations, including a good showing over a week ago with the Brooklyn Nets.

Carleton Scott left Notre Dame after the 2010-11 season with a year of eligibility remaining, believing he had a shot at being drafted. He ended up playing in Spain and was later released.

Luke Harangody is the last Irish player to be drafted when he was selected 51st overall in the second round by Boston. The forward averaged 2.3 points and two rebounds per game as a rookie before being traded to Cleveland, where he more than doubled his minutes per game (19) and finished with 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest. He appeared in 21 games for the Cavaliers this past year, while spending a good portion of the year in the Developmental League. He scored 3.6 points and grabbed 2.8 rebounds per game.

Harangody was the first ND alumnus to be drafted since 2002, when Ryan Humphrey was taken by Utah with the 19th pick in the first round. He was immediately traded to Orlando for Curtis Borchardt. After half a season in the league, Humphrey was traded to Memphis, where he finished his NBA career in 2004-05.

In 2001 Troy Murphy, who was just the fifth player to eclipse 2,000 career points at Notre Dame, got the call and went 13th overall to Golden State. The forward gained tractions in his second NBA season, averaging 11.7 points and 10.2 rebounds. After five seasons at Golden State, Murphy played four years in Indianapolis, where he averaged over 11 points per contest every season as a starter. In 2010-11, he split time in New Jersey and Boston with limited production in only four combined starts. Murphy played 16.2 minutes per game this past season for the Los Angeles Lakers.

So which current Notre Dame player has the best chance of ending the draft draught? Not a single 2013 mock draft includes Scott Martin, who will be a sixth-year senior next year, or senior-to-be forward Jack Cooley. Of course, that can change if Cooley continues to build on a surprising junior campaign, when he had a team-best 12.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game en route to Big East Most Improved Player honors.

Jerian Grant appears to have the all-around skill set the NBA is looking for. It’s just a matter of how long pro teams will have to wait until the pedigreed playmaker declares his draft eligibility. The son of former pro Harvey Grant, the 12th overall pick by the Washington Bullets in 1988 and who played 11 years, and the nephew of Horace Grant, winner of four NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls (1990-93) and the Lost Angeles Lakers (2001). Jerian Grant will be a junior next season with sophomore eligibility after being redshirted in 2010-11. The guard averaged 12.3 points and five assists in his first college season.

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