Notre Dame has landed at least one player in the NBA Draft the past two years and former Irish standout V.J. Beachem will look to make it three-in-a-row during tonight's 2017 edition of the draft which begins at 7 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Guard Jerian Grant went No. 19 overall in 2015 after being selected by the Washington Wizards before being traded first to Atlanta then to the New York Knicks. Grant was followed later that night by forward Pat Connaughton who was selected by the Brooklyn Nets at No. 41 overall before his rights were shipped to the Portland Trail Blazers.
In 2016, guard Demetrius Jackson departed Notre Dame a year early and found himself selected No. 45 by the Boston Celtics.
Beachem could be next in line for the Irish program to join the professional ranks. Opinions on the 6-foot-8 forward vary with some experts predicting a late-second round selection to undrafted.
NBADraft.net pegs Beachem to be selected No. 58 overall by the New York Knicks while Gary Parrish of CBSsports.com has Beachem going a few picks earlier at No. 53 to the Celtics. ESPN’s Chad Ford does not have Beachem in his most recent mock draft, but believes the foreard has the talent to be a 3-and-D player in the league which is a player who primarily focuses on perimeter shooting and defense.
Beachem reportedly worked out for over a dozen teams during the process including the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat, among others. He also participated in the NBA Combine.
If his name isn’t called tonight, the journey isn’t over for Beachem. Work will then begin toward earning a spot in the summer league. Overseas could be an option as well. In his four-year career in South Bend, Beachem finished with 1,215 total points including a 14.5 per game average as a senior.
Former guard Steve Vasturia joins Beachem as another Irish NBA hopeful. Vasturia is unlikely to hear his name called tonight, but like Beachem, would have multiple options to pursue including the summer league or overseas.
Over the past several weeks, Vasturia worked out for his hometown Philadelphia 76ers, Knicks and Hawks, among others. Vasturia ended his Irish career scoring 1,400 points and averaged 13.1 points per game during his final year.
Irish Opponents In The Draft
Playing in the ACC gives Notre Dame the challenge of facing multiple top pro prospects every year and 2016-2017 was no different. Here are few of the top players the Irish faced this past season and how Notre Dame fared against them.
Duke forward Jayson Tatum will likely be the highest selected player Notre Dame faced last season being a top-five projected selection. In two games, both Irish losses, Tatum averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds. His teammate Luke Kennard is also a projected lottery pick. The guard averaged 16 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in those two contests.
Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac is another potential top-five pick the Irish faced. Isaac averaged 10.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in three games against Notre Dame.
The Irish also faced a pair of lottery-projected guards in NC State point guard Dennis Smith and Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell. Smith scored 16 points and added three rebounds and three assists in one game against the Irish while Mitchell scored 20 points in each of his two games against Notre Dame and averaged 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
The list doesn’t stop there with Wake Forest forward John Collins, North Carolina forward Justin Jackson and Duke forward Harry Giles also being potential top-20 picks.
Rising seniors Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell could potentially be on the radars of NBA teams heading into the 2018 draft. Both players will be counted on to lead the Irish during the 2017-2018 season.
NBADraft.net lists Colson No. 46 overall to the Indiana Pacers in their early 2018 mock draft and DraftExpress ranks Colson No. 44 overall on their 2018 mock draft board (no specific team selections).
Another ACC Player of the Year caliber season from Colson could help improve his initial standing in early mock drafts.
Farrell is not on the list for the early mock drafts out, but a strong season could push the point guard up on some team's draft radar.