By David Boclair
There is no guarantee that Darius Garland will be one of the first players to hear his name called at next week’s NBA Draft, although that certainly seems as if it will be the case.
A strong indicator of the interest in the former Brentwood Academy and Vanderbilt point guard was one of the first to be invited to attend the draft.
According to multiple reports this week, Garland was one of the first nine players to receive invitations to attend the draft and watch the proceedings from the green room. That put him in a group with Duke stars Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish, Murray State’s Ja Morant and others.
The league reportedly plans to invite another 11 players with the hope that all 20 will attend.
The process of deciding which players to invite to the draft involves communication with general managers of teams picking throughout the first round. This is to ensure that players aren’t sitting for very long under the bright lights before a national television audience as the second round approaches.
Receiving an invitation is considered a positive sign for a player’s draft stock, although there have been instances in the past of prospects falling to the second round while sitting in the green room.
The majority of mock drafts have Garland going to the Los Angeles Lakers with the fourth overall pick. Some see him headed to Phoenix at No. 6 overall. Everyone expects he will be taken within the top 10, which is up from where he was on most draft boards during the 2018-19 college basketball season, most of which he missed with a knee injury.
The last Vanderbilt player selected in the top 10 of the NBA Draft was Jeff Turner, who went seventh overall in 1984. Clyde Lee was the third overall pick in 1966, which is the earliest any Commodores player ever has been chosen.
The 2019 NBA Draft is Thursday in Brooklyn, N.Y.