It was a while ago now, so you might have forgotten, but allow me to take you back to May 2011 2010, when the NCAA's new NBA draft decision deadline (which came even earlier on the calendar this spring) forced players to make their life-altering decisions much earlier than ever before. The deadline was a hot topic. At the very least, it was no secret. But Mississippi State guard Dee Bost didn't know the rule, or so he said, causing him to stay in the draft past the May 8 deadline and forcing him to appeal the NCAA to get back on the court for his senior 2011-12 season.
Bost's NBA draft stock hasn't changed much since then. If anything, it's worsened. ESPN Insider Chad Ford currently ranks Bost No. 118 overall in the 2012 draft class, and No. 16 at the point guard position. Chances are, unless something changes in the months to come, Bost will go undrafted. Why? Because, according to Bost, NBA scouts just haven't seen him play. That's what he told Slam's Peter Walsh, anyway:
Bost attributes his team’s lack of national attention to him flying under the radar as the draft approaches: “Playing at Mississippi State, we didn’t play a lot of televised games or in front of a lot of people… I feel like I’m underrated. I just gotta get to workouts and prove that to everybody else.”
First of all, you can't really fault Bost for maintaing this attitude. His draft stock is really discouraging. Athletes are athletes precisely because they operate this way mentally; they have to believe they're the best player on the court at any given time, or the battle is already lost. Of course Bost thinks he's underrated. He has to. And he might even be right.
But the bit about the television exposure? That's just downright silly. As CBS's Gary Parrish humorously notes, NBA scouts aren't exactly limited to national broadcasts when they are hunting for NBA prospects. The top point guard prospect in the draft is Damian Lillard, who played in the Big Sky at Weber State and didn't even make it to the NCAA tournament. Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie is a projected lottery pick. The high-upside foreign players drafted every year don't play on CBS on Saturdays, and it doesn't stop NBA scouts from drooling at their potential.
In other words, there are about eight thousand different ways Bost is wrong. Which, you know, oh well. The point is: Even if college basketball itself still exists in a TV-driven hierarchy -- BCS programs versus mid-majors, etc. -- NBA scouts have long since moved beyond it. To them, with some exceptions, college basketball is flat. If you can play, you can play -- no matter where you go to school, how big your home crowds are, or how many times you perform on TV. Exposure never hurts, but a lack of exposure hardly means what it used to.