Desmond Bane saw his senior season at TCU end in disappointment, when his Horned Frogs’ were bounced in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. Any chance at a postseason to further impress scouts was taken away as well, as COVID-19 shut down the athletics world in full.
But despite limited opportunities to work out for teams and get more exposure, Bane has been one of the fastest-rising prospects on the board with just two weeks remaining until Draft night.
When you talk to his former teammates and coaches, it’s easy to see why: Bane is one of the most respected players to come out of a program full of good guys, and he’s left a lasting impact across hoops and the campus community as a whole. Jamie Dixon knows how critical he was to rebuilding TCU Basketball and setting them up for future success. “Obviously he was very efficient. A really good player who has been around and played a lot of games. He won more games than any player in our school’s history.” His former college roommate, RJ Nembhard, learned a lot from a player he worked alongside of for four years. “Des was my roommate in Moncrief Hall when I was a freshman, so I’ve grown with him — seen him grown, he’s seen me grow. I’ve seen how hard he works — one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. It’s definitely rubbed off on me and a lot of the other guys here.” His impact on the court was palpable: he averaged my than 16 points, six rebounds, and nearly four assists per game as a senior. But his impact off the court was crucial as well, according to former teammate Kevin Samuel. “Des was alays there for us on and off the court, in the lockerroom, keeping us motivated.”
And now he’s rocketing up the boards, looking like a likely first round draft pick on November 18th.
His trainer, Ronnie Taylor, spoke of some of Bane’s somewhat legendary workouts in an interview with The Athletic, saying Bane is so automatic that he doesn’t need a second person running the workout with him to rebound, because he can just stand under the basket. “We might go through a whole workout — say it’s an hour and 15, hour and a half workout — and if I’m by myself, he may miss 40 shots in a whole workout,” Taylor says.
CJ Moore, who wrote the article talked about why he is such a fast-riser:
It’s no wonder the longer this draft process plays out that the consensus is Bane is rising up draft boards. He already has interviewed with 29 NBA teams and is scheduled to interview with the 30th and final franchise by the end of this month. Bane is one of the best shooters in the draft and has one of those against-all-odds draft stories that has left every team putting a checkmark (with emphasis) next to the character and work ethic boxes.
Bleacher Reporter put him at 18th to the Mavs, a dream scenario for Frog fans, and a great fit for Bane — who would kill it as a three point specialist playing off of Luka and KP. Of Bane, Jonathan Wasserman said:
The interest in Bane seems to be contagious. Word around the league is that Dallas is trying to trade this pick for a wing and immediate help. But the Mavericks are also high on Bane, and they could draft him to add shooting and high-IQ passing and defense.
He’s mocked as high as 16th to the Blazers, by CBS Sports, who says of him “The Trail Blazers played much of last season without a player you could truly call a small forward, and Bane would immediately fill that vacancy. He can space the floor for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum as an elite 3-point shooter, and he should be able to hold his own defensively as a rookie given his size and strength.”
Several blogs see Bane going to the Sixers at 21, where he would thrive under Doc Rivers and alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
The Ringer has been high on Desmond as well, slotting him as the 20th best prospect on Kevin O’Connor’s Big Board (High-IQ guard who plays hard. He already has a veteran skill set and projects favorably as a rotation player.) and compares him to Malcolm Brogdon, Alex Caruso, and Lamar Patterson. They have him getting drafted at his value, by the Miami Heat at #20 overall, “Bane has the qualities that Miami typically values: a gritty defender who limits mistakes on offense. He’s one of the best non-point-guard passers in the draft and a knockdown shooter. As a senior, he’s also ready to come in right away and play. Teams are making a mistake if they let him fall.”
Highlights like this don’t hurt either — especially when you’re catching lobs from John Wall and throwing down thunderous dunks:
Wherever Bane lands, he’s likely to make a fanbase very happy. And his former teammates back in Fort Worth are just as excited for their friend. “I feel like I’m getting drafted,” Nembhard said. “I am so excited for him. I talk to him pretty consistently — he’s one of the best shooters in the draft, if not one of the best players in the draft, in my opinion — in a lot of other opinions, too.”
That’s something that Frog fans believe as well, and that the NBA is about to find out.