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    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men's Basketball Facebook Page
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    It’s been 21 years since the University of Louisville men’s basketball team had a pair of players picked in the first round of the NBA Draft.

    In 1994, power forward Clifford Rozier was selected 16th by the Golden State Warriors, while Cardinals shooting guard Greg Minor was taken nine picks later by the Los Angeles Clippers.

    That drought, however, could end Thursday night.

    That’s when both Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier are projected to be selected in the first round, albeit in the latter half, of the NBA Draft.

    Harrell, who averaged 11.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in his three seasons (including 14.8 ppg and 8.8 rpg in the final two), figures to be the first of the two taken. According to most mock drafts, Harrell is likely to go somewhere between Nos. 19 and 26. The teams with those picks are, in order, the Wizards, Raptors, Mavericks, Bulls, Trail Blazers, Cavaliers (could you imagine Harrell catching alley-oops from LeBron?), Grizzlies and Spurs.   

    Harrell, who was listed at 6-foot-8 at UofL, only measured 6-7 1/2 in shoes at the NBA combine, and while that’s undersized for a power forward (his projected position in the pros), his energy, incredible leaping/athletic ability and his pterodactyl-esque 7-4 1/4 wingspan (which was the third-best at the Combine) make him a probable first-rounder. For those reasons Harrell, who is a backboard’s worst nightmare, is often compared (including by his former coach, Rick Pitino) to Denver Nuggets’ forward Kenneth Faried, who averaged 12.6 ppg and 8.9 rpg last season. The “Manimal” (one of the greatest nicknames of all-time) was taken 22nd by the Nuggets in the 2011 Draft.

    Rozier, meanwhile, has been projected to go somewhere between Nos. 24 and 30. The teams with those picks are, in order, the Cavs (could he help LeBron finally bring a title to the franchise?), Grizzlies, Spurs, Lakers, Celtics, Nets and Warriors. The combo guard, who measured 6-0 1/2 without shoes and 6-2 1/4 with shoes, is coming off a breakout season (in which he averaged 17.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and three assists per game) with the Cardinals. If he continues to improve Rozier could become a slightly smaller (and maybe slightly less-talented) version of Portland All-Star Damian Lillard. Many mock drafts have Rozier going 29th to the Nets, whose point-guard tandem of Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack are both 31 years old.

    If Rozier does drop to the second round, he probably won’t get beyond the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have the first pick of that round (31st overall). If so he would get a chance to play with former Card Gorgui Dieng and Kentucky star Karl-Anthony Towns, who‘ll likely be the draft’s first pick Thursday night.

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men's Basketball Facebook Page

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