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2011 NBA Mock Draft: Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight Lead Southeastern Prospects

With the draft order now set for the 2011 NBA Draft, SB Nation's Tom Ziller has released his first post-lottery Mock Draft and several former SEC and ACC players are well represented. Ziller tabs Duke point guard Kyrie Irving as the No. 1 overall selection to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving sat out a large portion of this season with an injured toe but eventually returned during the NCAA Tournament. Ziller points out that he won't make anyone in Cleveland forget LeBron James, but Irving will help fill an immediate need at a vital position. 

Brandon Knight is another one and done point guard from the University of Kentucky who is projected to be selected by the Detroit Pistons with the No. 8 overall selection. It is very likely that with some strong workouts, Knight will move up the board but with the Pistons uncertain backcourt situation, they would be well served to snatch up Knight were he to stay on the board this long. 

Ziller compares former Florida State small forward Chris Singleton to Shane Battier calling him a smart, tough, and rangy defender. Just the type of player that Houston general manager Daryl Morey might like at No. 14. The Rockets also own the No. 23 pick from Orlando and Tennessee freshman forward Tobias Harris is a possible pick there. 

Duke small forward Kyle Singler at No. 28 to the Chicago Bulls rounds out the SEC and ACC players projected to be picked in the first round. 

Local Georgia and Georgia Tech fans might notice the absence of Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie, and Iman Shumpert from the first round mock draft. Thompkins was long thought to be a first-round pick while Leslie and Shumpert would likely have to have strong workouts to position themselves in the first round. 

After an injury plagued season at Georgia, it appears Thompkins stock has never been lower which brings into question whether or not he or Leslie should have entered the Draft this season rather than returning to Athens. All three players will have the chance to improve their stock as all are scheduled to participate in the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago that begins today. 

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.