German not ready for NBA just yet


Eugene German, men’s basketball sophomore guard, surveys the floor in the Huskies’ 81-65 Feb. 3 home loss to Miami University. 

By Julian Nunnery

Eugene German, men’s basketball sophomore guard, declared March 28 his intention to declare for the 2018 NBA draft.

Although NIU’s star guard believes he is ready for the big stage, he should consider all of his options before making such a monumental decision.

“I feel like it’s a good idea for me,” German said. “To just get in there and see what NBA teams think about me because that is my ultimate goal. [I will] be able to compete with other high caliber athletes and also to get feedback on my game. If things go south, I can always come back too.”

German has the option to remove his name from the draft pool up until May 30, exactly three weeks before the draft on June 21. However, if he decides to remain in the draft following that date, he will no longer be eligible to play collegiate basketball even if he is not drafted by an NBA team, according to NBA regulations.

For now, German said he is awaiting feedback from NBA scouts about his potential odds of being drafted this year. He cannot legally make contact with any NBA teams until April 24.

Although he hasn’t received feedback from NBA scouts to this point. Head Coach Mark Montgomery said if German continues to improve physically, it will definitely help prepare him to play at the next level.

“He has to continue to put on weight and get stronger,” Montgomery said. “That’s only going to help his overall game, his endurance, his range and his ability on the defensive end.”

Unless there is a bonafide guarantee an NBA team will use one of its draft picks on German, his safest option will be to drop from the draft and return to college basketball for at least one more year.

If German decides to pull his name out of the draft pool before the May 30 deadline, he will have his junior and senior years to stick around, polish his game and improve his future draft stock. However, what could be more critical than him improving his game, could actually be where he decides to finish his college career.

NIU is not the place for German to continue playing

It is not in German’s best interest to continue his collegiate career at NIU if he wants to better prepare himself for the draft. The road to the NBA may come easier if German decides to transfer to a more prominent basketball program in a much higher conference level.

The Mid-American Conference sits in the middle tier of Division I basketball in the U.S. It is not, for example, a part of the power five conferences which include the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big Ten Conference, the Big 12 Conference, the Pacific-12 Conference and the Southeastern Conference.

Schools from these conferences are well-known for their successful football programs but have had recent success on the court as well. Only 14 of the last 20 NCAA Tournament winners have been a school from the power five conferences, according to the NCAA’s official website.

There haven’t been many players from the MAC who have made it to the NBA in recent history, regardless of having excellent statistics or playing for a successful team. Only about 160 players have been drafted since 1947, according to ESPN.

It’s even more seldom that a MAC player has a sustained successful NBA career. Of those approximate 160 players, only 22 have held an NBA career of five years or more.

The last marquee player from the MAC to have a legitimately successful NBA career was former Central Michigan center Chris Kaman, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2003 and held a 13-year career, according to ESPN.

Since 2003, only two players have made it to the NBA from the MAC: Richaun Holmes of Bowling Green University and Abdel Nader of Iowa State University.

It may be too late for German to join the Dukes or North Carolinas of the world, but there are plenty of schools in more upscale conferences that could use German’s talents. Several schools from the Big Ten come to mind such as University of Illinois and Indiana University, who have both lacked sufficient guard play for the last few seasons.

There are also a few Atlantic Coast schools that could use German’s scoring punch such as Georgia Institute of Technology, Wake Forest University and the University of Pittsburgh.

If German were to put up the same numbers while attending one of these schools, the odds would improve dramatically for him to be selected in the 2019 or 2020 NBA draft.

“I feel like that Mid-American Conference can definitely help me get to the NBA,” German said. “It’s a good conference for me, so that’s why I’m here.”

German will need to improve on his weaknesses, particularly with getting his teammates involved. He needs to show he can lead a team by winning a MAC championship and getting to the NCAA tournament to give himself the best chance to get drafted in 2019 or 2020.

Jon Borovich, men’s basketball assistant coach, said he is extremely excited to see what awaits for German in his career and believes his work ethic will propel him to unimaginable heights.

“With German, the sky is the limit,” Borovich said. “His work ethic is off the chart. His drive and desire to be a great player is very rare. German is notorious for how hard he works in the gym during his individual workouts, and we know as a coaching staff that is going to continue because of his drive and his passion to be a great player.”

German is just as confident in himself as his coaching staff is and says he is good enough to play in the NBA now and can bring a lot to an NBA team.

“I definitely feel like I can contribute to any team in this country, it doesn’t matter what level it’s at,” German said. “I’m a gym rat and I know what I’m capable of. I can bring scoring and energy and I know that’s what a lot of teams like. I just have to get a little stronger and continue to build my basketball IQ.”

Despite German’s confidence in his ability, it would be best for him to look to boost his future draft potential by continuing his collegiate career in a more reputable basketball conference.