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“The Big 12 is full of world class athletes; I showed that I can play at a high level.” Desmond Bane has defied the odds to raise his draft stock.

The TCU Basketball alum is a likely first rounder in tomorrow night’s NBA Draft.

TCU Basketball vs Kansas State, February 27th, 2018
TCU Basketball vs Kansas State, February 27th, 2018
Melissa Triebwasser

“It’s great, a testament to my hard work, showing how far I’ve come. I was lightly recruited out of Richmond, IN. Not a lot of people knew about me — they know who I am now.”

People do know who Desmond Bane is now; the former basketball afterthought out of tiny Seton Catholic in Richmond, Indiana began making a name for himself almost as soon as he arrive at TCU in the fall of 2016; inserted into the starting lineup during the NIT Championship run, the 6’6” shooting guard helped lead the Frogs to Madison Square Garden with a combination of lethal three point shooting, aggressive defense, and exceptional rebounding at his position. Little did TCU Basketball fans know that the best was yet to come, as Bane went from averaging seven points a game as a freshman to nearly 17 as a senior, showcasing that sweet stroke from deep and becoming the face of the program along the way.

The hard work had just begun for Bane, though. Once considered a fringe second round prospect, Bane has spent the extended eight month draft process steadily moving up the draft boards, something not usually experienced by four year collegiate players. While it might surprise outsiders, it par for the course for a young man who has earned every opportunity that has come his way the old fashioned way. “That’s just been my consistent, hard work and effort throughout my whole career. Wherever I was, I always stayed consistent with the work, always took pride in working on my game.” It didn’t matter where he found himself or what obstacles came his way, he just kept his head down and his effort level up. “Quarantine actually helped limit the distractions Miami has to offer. I’ve been locked in, it’s been a good pre-draft process overall.”

Part of the pre-draft process is the increased scrutiny; it’s hard enough being a player with four years of film, and tougher still when you have what is considered a physical deficiency in regards to the “perfect” NBA body type. If there is a criticism of Desmond, it’s his arm-length: his reported wingspan of 6’4” is 4.25 inches below average for NBA shooting guards. There are a few knocks of his athleticism, which is certainly above the acceptable level in the league, but he’s not the bouncy athlete that teams seem to covet. He more than makes for it by having a super high basketball IQ, a great motor, and communicating at a veteran level. Some teams will pass because he doesn’t necessarily fit their preconceived notion of what a first round pick **should** look like, while others are more than willing to look past the measurables and see the production. “I think if you can play, you can play,” Bane said. “The Big 12 is full of world class athletes; I showed that I can play at a high level. There are lots of guys succeeding in the league with similar measurements, which gives teams hope that I can provide value at the next level.”

Plenty of teams have shown interest in Bane — mock drafts have him going anywhere between 18-30 in the first round, and landing with teams like the Mavs, Blazers, or Knicks. Whichever team takes him, Desmond says will be getting “a mature, consistent, hard-working player. I feel like I bring value on both ends of the floor, from knowing the game, knowing how it’s played, smd my physical attributes. I think I have a nice body of work across four years at TCU, where I developed not only physically, but mentally, along the way.”

Sometime Wednesday night, Desmond Bane will have a new home. But you can guarantee that hearing his name called won’t change who he is. His advice to others like him that are hoping for a chance despite being overlooked? “I remember reading newspaper articles, guys I felt like I was better than in the area were getting DI offers. Let it fuel you, motivate you. Don’t let your confidence waver at all.”