Illini Wonk
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
  NBA Draft Day
The 2005 NBA Draft is tonight on ESPN at 6:30 p.m. CST and it's already shaping up to be a good one for the Illinois Fighting Illini.

First, Illinois is a Early draft exit winner, according to Yoni Cohen of College Basketball blog fame, due to Dee Brown's decision to return to Champaign for his senior year. This instantly makes Illinois a contender for the Big Ten championship, they're third in a row.

Second, the draft stock of Deron Williams and Luther Head continues to rise. Williams has emerged as a consensus top five pick and Head has impressed scouts during pre-draft camps and, according to most accounts, become a first-round selection. On the ESPN preview last night, Jay Bilas, Greg Anthony and Stephen A. Smith all had Williams going #4 to the New Orleans Hornets. Williams looks likely to be the first point guard selected in the draft. Bilas also made a point of saying that Head will be a good NBA player at the point.

DraftExpress has both players going in the first round, with Williams at #3 and Head #24.

Frank Burlison also has Williams as the #3 pick. He says that Head was impressive in the Chicago Pre-Draft camp and will be gone quickly in round 2.

InsideHoops.com's NBA Mock Draft lists Williams fourth and Head as upper second round with a shot at first round.

The 2005 Mock Draft from NBADraft.net has Williams #3 and Head the first selection of the second round.

Brendan McGovern of About.com has Williams the fourth pick of the first round and Head the second pick of the second round.

Tony Mejia of CBS SportsLine has Williams going #4 and has him as the #1 point guard in the draft. Head is not on his first round list and not among his top ten shooting guards.

Sean Deveney of The Sporting News also has Williams going to the Hornets at #4, saying he is the guy the Hornets want; it's likely that they'll get him. He has Head going to the Knicks with the 30th and last pick of the first round.

HoopsHype and Dime Magazine both have Williams #4.

As is always the case, trade rumors are flying. the Utah Jazz reportedly want Deron Williams in a bad way and are willing to deal with Portland to get him (if Atlanta doesn't take him first).

Be sure to tune in tonight! Illini Wonk doesn't have a huge research team at his disposal, so we'll ask all of you to help with this question: have the Illini ever had two players go in the first round of the NBA draft in the same year?

TRADE RUMOR UPDATE: Apparently, Williams made a huge impression on [Utah] coach Jerry Sloan and the Jazz are trying to trade up to #3 to ensure they get him.
 
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