Since dystopian fiction is what is hot in the streets and the NBA Draft is this month, this seemed like the perfect time to have a little fun. Since there aren't any Cincinnati prospects ready to be drafted, let's set up a different scenario.
Imagine a world in which Cincinnati is the only remaining college basketball program and the only place from which NBA teams can pull new players. Then imagine that we as a species have advanced science to the point that time travel is possible and every Cincinnati player ever is not only draft eligible, but can also be brought to the current day fresh out of college.
Alright, now that' you've suspended all disbelief, let's lay down some ground rules. Luckily, there is only one. All that can be used to evaluate and make these picks is the players college careers. How well each fared in the NBA is of zero consequence. So let's get to drafting.
With the first pick in the 2015 Cincinnati Bearcats basketball draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select...
1. Oscar Robertson
As if you expected it to be anyone else. There are very few college players with such legendary resumes as the Big O. Robertson's name belongs alongside the likes of Pete Maravich, Larry Bird and Lew Alcindor as one of the most dominant players in college basketball history. From 1957-1960, Robertson put up the kinds of numbers a created player in NBA 2K wouldn't even sniff. He averaged 33.8 points, 15.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. His assists totals were only that low because, during the 1957-58 season, assists weren't even a recorded statistic. He is the all-time leading scorer (2,973) and rebounder (1,338) in school history, led the Bearcats to two Final Fours and was named a First-Team Consensus All-American three times. This is the second time he has been a No. 1 overall selection, as he was the No 1 pick of the 1960 NBA Draft. One can only imagine the sweet, sweet music he and Andrew Wiggins would have made on the court together.
Now, with the second pick in the draft, the New York Knicks select...
2. John Meeker
Just kidding. It wouldn't be a (loosely related) NBA Draft post without a dig at the James Dolan Circus. The real second pick is...
2. Kenyon Martin
One of three Bearcats to have their number retired, K-Mart had a slow ascent to the top of the Bearcat history books. He only scored 2.8 points per game as a freshman, and finished with a career average of 11 points and 7.5 rebounds. However, during the 1999-00 season, he owned college basketball, posting career-highs in points (18.9 pg), rebounds (9.7 pg) and blocks (3.5 pg). He had an incredible 9.0 win share during that season, 5.1 of which came from the defensive end. Simply put, he made opposing players wet themselves thinking of going in the paint and helped the Bearcats become a national powerhouse that season, as they rose to the No. 1 ranking during 12 weeks of the campaign. When it came time for award season, Martin cleaned up, taking home consensus All-American honors from every outlet under the sun and the Player of the Year award from anyone willing to hand one out.
Onto the third pick in the draft, with which the Philadelphia 76ers will select...
3. Danny Fortson
A major reason the Bearcats were eventually welcomed into the Big East was their stellar play in Conference USA during the 1990s and into the 2000s. Fortson was a big piece of the mid-90s teams, no pun intended. The 6-foot-7, 260 pound big man was a tough player to stop, as he used his size to get whatever shot he wanted. He also got excellent position to get rebounds. Sports Illustrated knew what was up entering the 1996-97 season, when it featured Forston on the cover of its college basketball preview issue.
Fortson lived up to the hype during that season, although he never got a road map tattooed onto his body, a mistake if you ask me. He put up 21.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and was named a consensus First-Team All-American, following a Second-Team selection the previous year. Fortson is fifth in scoring all-time at Cincinnati (1,881) and edged out some strong players to get the No. 3 spot and give us a fantastic, albeit fictional image of Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Fortson building a young frontcourt dreams are made of.
And now, with the fourth pick of the draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select...
4. Sean Kilpatrick
Interestingly enough, Kilpatrick was playing in the NBA D-League and briefly signed with the Timberwolves this spring, so we will have to imagine previous contracts are ruled null and void for this fantasy we've created. Shouldn't be too difficult, considering the other parameters.
Kilpatrick was the unquestioned general only a couple years ago. As Kilpatrick went, so went the Bearcats, especially when it came to scoring. It has frustrated many a Cincinnati fan, but the team is not one predicated on strong offense, so having a scorer like Kilpatrick was vital. The 6-foot-4 guard progressed steadily during his career and finished up with a senior season in which he scored 20.6 points per game, helping him become the second all-time leading scorer in Cincinnati history (2,145). His durability is unmatched, which would be good for the Lakers after they lost last year's first round pick Julius Randle to an injury before the season even started. Kilpatrick played in a program-record 140 games during his career and rode off into the sunset with AP First-Team All-American honors for his work in his senior season.
That wraps up the first installment of the Cincinnati Draft. Check back next week for picks five through eight and feel free to sound off on what you liked and what you didn't about the first four picks and who you hope to see in the weeks to come.