Biggest losers from the NBA draft’s early entry decisions

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The NBA’s draft deadline for early entrants to announce their decision passed Sunday night. The official list of names won’t be final for a few days, but there’s as close to a complete rundown of names as you’ll find here.

In the meantime, check out our biggest winners from the deadline decisions here. The biggest losers are below.

The Pac-10
Seemingly every potential Pac-10 star will be in the NBA next season.

Arizona’s Derrick Williams was a given, but Washington State center DeAngelo Castro is gone, and shooting guard Klay Thompson seems likely to do the same. Washington won’t have point guard Isaiah Thomas, USC lost forward Nikola Vucevic and UCLA went from a Top 15 team to Top 40 when Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt both declared. (Ben Howland can’t get Larry Drew II eligible quickly enough.) Even incoming Colorado won’t have its best player in guard Alec Burks.

And people wonder why the Pac-10 hasn’t been a strong conference recently.

Texas
Those around Austin figured there was a good chance Jordan Hamilton, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph would all test the draft waters. But there’s a good chance all three stay in the draft, which would give Rick Barnes his toughest rebuilding job yet. Only John Calipari and Howland regularly deal with similar roster attrition.

Still, I expect Joseph to return and pair with incoming point guard Myck Kabongo to form a dynamic backcourt. But without Hamilton and Thompson, the Longhorns go from a Final Four contender to Sweet 16 at best.

Kansas
Losing Josh Selby was always probable. Same with at least one of the Morris twins. But all three? Well, that leaves Bill Self with the thinnest roster he’s had in years. The Jayhawks aren’t bereft of talent – Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor are both All-America candidates – but they’re considerably smaller than in years’ past. How Self’ adjusts his offense will be key.

Kentucky*
The Wildcats stand to lose three starters to the draft: Terrence Jones, DeAndre Liggins and Brandon Knight. Yes, John Calipari has yet another top-rated recruiting class arriving in Lexington, but having three seasoned guys to lead the way would do wonders for Kentucky’s chances at a second-straight Final Four.

However … that asterisk isn’t a bad thing. It’s merely to indicate that nothing settled with Big Blue Nation in April. It rarely is. Once it all shakes out, I expect at least one of those three to be back in Lexington, and possibly even two. And then? Well, Carolina would have company at the top.

The NBA
Four likely lottery picks (Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones and John Henson) stayed put. That four fewer potential stars for the league, including two in Barnes and Sullinger who are quotable, fan friendly and good with the media. Every team loves those guys.

Still, if there’s a bright side for the NBA, it’s that next year’s draft should be even more loaded than usual. Those four are likely to go pro, along with a slew of talented incoming freshmen. A little patience could turn the NBA into one of the big winners.

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