NBA Draft: Big Ten Conference standouts hope to hear their name called Thursday night

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- On Thursday night, June 26th, college and international basketball standouts will realize a dream, when they are selected in the NBA Draft. Some of them feel they have had the best possible preparation.

The Kohl Center in Madison can be a pretty hot place on the cold days and nights of the Big Ten basketball schedule.

In other words, playing there as a visitor is suitable preparation for the NBA.

"Wisconsin is a tough place to play, man. Michigan State is another tough place to play. Michigan -- the little house, is a tough place to play. Indiana, no matter how good they are, the gym is going to be packed every year," Ohio State forward LaQuinton Ross said.

"Especially during the regular season, the NBA venues aren't as hostile as the college ones, so I don't think that will be much of an adjustment for me. We played in some crazy arenas throughout the last two years, so I'm not worried about that," Michigan guard Nik Stauskas said.

For prospects in the Big Ten, it's the places you will go, and the people you will see.

"Playing against those guys every night, it was by far the best conference in basketball, and playing against a lot of those guys two times a year, you've got a lot of those guys that are here now," Ohio State forward LaQuinton Ross said.

"I'd say the physicality in the Big Ten and the competition, I feel like it was one of the best leagues in the country, and the competition, the number of guys you were going against every night -- it was definitely a grind," Michigan State guard Gary Harris said.

The products of the Big Ten say they got some big-time preparation in that conference, and they say it will definitely carry them forth to the next level.

"Oh of course. If there is any pressure, I'll walk right into it. That's who I am," Iowa guard Roy Devyn Marble said.

NBA scouts are largely skeptical about the pro prospects of Ohio State guard Aaron Craft. However, he believes in himself and as one of the faces of the Big Ten, in his conference as well.

"I think it's helped a lot. With the people and the coaches and the players that I've been against in my collegiate career at Ohio State, I've had the privilege of playing against some of the best in the country every year -- some of the most athletic, some of the most physical -- people that could score with the best of them. I think that's really helped to prepare me as a player, and then being in tough situations, being in hostile environments and situations that a lot of people don't have a chance to be in," Craft said.

On Thursday night, several Big Ten products have a chance to be in the draft class of 2014, and many of them feel the Big Ten Conference was a perfect finishing school.

The Milwaukee Bucks have the second overall selection on Thursday night and hope to land a player that will make them significantly better next season.

They also have three picks in the second round. Maybe, they'll tab one of those players from the Big Ten Conference.