The NBA Draft is tonight so here is a Big Ten focused preview along with a look at Rutgers draft history:
Mack & Jack prospects
As I mentioned last week, the only NBA workouts that Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack have had have been with the Brooklyn Nets. They were both invited as last minute fill-ins for a player that dropped out of a scheduled group pre-draft workout. Jack has a shot to be signed as an undrafted free agent after the draft due to his size and versatility. Along with Jack, Mack should be given an opportunity to play in a NBA summer league and hopefully make enough of an impression to get invited to a team's training camp. While they both face uphill battles to make an NBA roster, they both should have opportunities overseas to establish solid careers there.
Big Ten prospects
Overall it's not looking like a great draft for the Big Ten. There should be three 1st round picks with D'Angelo Russell from Ohio State leading the way, and it sounds like he will be a top five selection. Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, both of Wisconsin, could be selected as lottery picks. After that there are no locks for any other Big Ten players to be drafted. Fifteen players aside from the big three and Mack and Jack have participated in pre-draft workouts for NBA teams. Our friends at BT Powerhouse have a great breakdown here. The most likely to be drafted after the big three is Aaron White of Iowa. He is the only name I have seen in all the mock drafts out there coming from the conference in the 2nd round. Terran Pettaway of Nebraska, Travis Trice and Branden Dawson of Michigan State, DJ Newbill of TTFP and Dez Wells of Maryland could be selected in the 2nd round as well. However, based on projections online, it's unlikely.
My personal sleeper is Andre Hollins from Minnesota, who shot 41% from 3-point range last season and scored over 20 points in eight games last season. However, his two games against Rutgers highlight his issues with consistency. He lit RU up for 31 points at the Barn in January, but contributed a goose egg on 5 shots in their Big Ten Tournament matchup. Hollins did work out Monday for the Memphis Grizzlies and has also worked out with Minnesota, Utah and the LA Clippers. A team may be willing to take a flyer in the late 2nd round on a legitimate scorer albeit inconsistent. If he can prove to be efficient from NBA 3-point range, Hollins should find a spot on a NBA roster.
Rutgers Draft History
The last Rutgers player drafted was Hamady N'Diaye in 2010. He was drafted with the 56th pick by Minnesota and then traded to Washington. He played parts of three seasons between the NBA and D-League. He was signed last fall by the Brooklyn Nets but failed his physical and never played for them. He is currently playing for Kia Carnival in the Philippine Basketball Association. N'Diaye was the Big East defensive player of the year his senior season.
Quincy Douby was the last Rutgers player drafted in the 1st round when he was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 19th pick in the 2006 NBA draft. He led the Big East in scoring his last season as a junior, averaging 25.4 points a game and setting the Rutgers single season scoring record. Douby failed to live up to expectations in the NBA, never averaging more than 12 minutes and 5 points a game over three seasons with the Kings. He signed two 10-day contracts with the Toronto Raptors the following season but was eventually released. He has played in Turkey, Lebanon and China since 2009, his last season in the NBA. Douby has set single game scoring records for the Chinese Basketball Association in a regular season game with 75 points, a Finals game with 53 points and an All Star game with 44 points. This article labels Douby as one of the top five foreign players to play in Chinese Basketball Association history. Rutgers and Chinese legend it seems.
After N'Diaye and Douby, we need to go all the way back to 1991 when Keith Hughes was drafted with the 47th pick by the Houston Rockets. While Hughes was then traded to Cleveland and never played in an NBA game, his Rutgers legacy remains intact. He led the last Rutgers team to the NCAA tournament in 1991 and was the Atlantic 10 player of the year, averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds a game. Hughes actually played for Syracuse his first two seasons, including the team that lost the 1987 National Championship game to Indiana. Hughes transferred because he played behind future NBA star Derrick Coleman and NBA veteran Billy Owens. It worked out for Rutgers and Hughes and he is a great example of a New Jersey son who came back to his home state to become successful. He was a McDonald's All-American at Carteret high school. Sadly, he passed away last year at the age of 45. RIP Keith Hughes.
Of the nineteen Rutgers players drafted to the NBA, there were only four players who had lengthy careers in the league. Guard John Battle was drafted in 1985 in the now defunct 4th round and was the 84th selection overall. However, he had a lengthy career playing 10 seasons in the NBA with Atlanta and Cleveland. He became a reliable player off the bench averaging 8.7 points and 2.1 assists in 17.8 minutes per game for his career.
Roy Hinson, after finishing his senior season at Rutgers as the Atlantic 10 player of the year, was selected 20th overall in the 1st round by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1983. He played 8 seasons between Cleveland, the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets. The forward started most of his time in the NBA and finished with career averages of 14.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Hinson was the all time leader in blocked shots in Rutgers history before N'Diaye topped him in 2010.
"Jammin" James Bailey, a member of the 1976 Final Four team, is the highest drafted player in Rutgers history. He was picked 6th overall in the 1st round by the Seattle Supersonics in 1979. Bailey also played for the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets. Bailey mostly came off the bench and averaged 8.8 points, 5 rebounds and 1 block per game for his career. Bailey is a member of a prestigious group in college basketball history for scoring over 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career. His #20 is retired at the RAC.
Appropriately, we end with "Fast" Eddie Jordan, point guard of the 1976 Final Four team and our current head coach. Jordan was drafted in 1977 in the 2nd round with the 33rd pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He also played for the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and briefly for the Portland Trailblazers. Jordan tied for the NBA lead in steals with 2.5 per game in the 1978-1979 season while playing for the Nets. He also was a reserve on the 1981- 1982 World Champion Los Angeles Lakers team. His career averages were 8.1 points, 3.8 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. Upon retirement from the NBA he began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant for head coach Tom Young at Rutgers. The rest, as they say is history.
A full list of former Rutgers players drafted to the NBA is here. A closing note, I did not count Dahntay Jones as this list did. He jumped ship after his sophomore season at Rutgers and transferred to Duke to play with his good friend Jay Williams. He was then drafted in the 1st round with the 20th pick in 2003 by the Boston Celtics who immediately traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies. He also made Complex's list of top 20 most hated Duke players of all-time. And, yes, I am still bitter. Check out this video where Jones makes Kobe Bryant a sympathetic figure and Stephen A. Smith actually makes logical points. Rare indeed!