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Alabama Roots: First-round history at hand in NBA Draft logo 11/18/2020 Mark Inabinett,

Thirty-four years since Alabama and Auburn were represented in the same first round of an NBA Draft, it’s going to happen again on Wednesday night.

Auburn forward Isaac Okoro and Alabama guard Kira Lewis are set to enter the NBA as first-round picks, and they’ll become the second Tigers-Crimson Tide pair in the first round of an NBA Draft.

In 1986, the Indiana Pacers picked Auburn’s Chuck Person with the fourth choice and the Houston Rockets took Alabama’s Buck Johnson with the 20th selection.



The NBA Draft went seven straight years without a player from Alabama or Auburn – or any Alabama college or high school – selected in the first round until Alabama guard Collin Sexton went to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the eighth choice in the 2018 draft.

Last year, Auburn returned to the first round when the Orlando Magic used the 16th selection on forward Chuma Okeke.

In all, 36 players with Alabama basketball roots have been first-round picks in the NBA Draft -- a list that started with Bud Stallworth in 1972.

Stallworth reached the NBA from Morgan County Training School in Hartselle via Kansas. He’s one of the 11 players on the Alabama first-round list who played at a state high school but entered the NBA Draft from an out-of-state college.

The 2020 NBA Draft will originate from ESPN’s facilities in Bristol, Connecticut, with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announcing the 60 selections. ESPN’s televised coverage will start at 6 p.m. CST Wednesday.

The first-round NBA Draft picks from Alabama high schools and colleges (arranged chronologically with pick number and drafting team) include:

No. 7: Bud Stallworth (Morgan County Training School), Seattle Supersonics, 1972

The small forward starred at Kansas, where he was the Big Eight Player of the Year for the 1971-72 season. Stallworth averaged 7.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 313 NBA games spread over five seasons -- two with the Sonics and three with the New Orleans Jazz.

No. 13: Travis Grant (Barbour County Training School), Los Angeles Lakers, 1972

An NAIA superstar at Kentucky State after playing at Barbour County Training School in Clayton, “Machine Gun” didn’t do much for the Lakers. But he averaged 25.2 points for the ABA’s San Diego Conquistadors in the 1974-75 season. Grant averaged 13.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 201 NBA and ABA games with four teams in four seasons.

No. 11: Joe Meriweather (Central-Phenix City), Houston Rockets, 1975

After the 6-10 center from Southern Illinois was an All-Rookie pick, Houston traded him for the top pick in 1976 NBA Draft, which turned out to be Maryland guard John Lucas. Meriweather spent 10 seasons in the NBA as a noted shot-blocker. He averaged 8.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 670 NBA games.

No. 17: Tom Boswell (Carver-Montgomery), Boston Celtics, 1975

The power forward was a member of the NBA championship team as a rookie and played in six NBA seasons after playing collegiately at South Carolina. He averaged 7.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 366 NBA games.

No. 4: Leon Douglas (Colbert County, Alabama), Detroit Pistons, 1976

The first Crimson Tide player drafted in the first round, Douglas provided muscle at center for the Pistons and New York Knicks in 456 NBA games, averaging 7.9 points and 6.5 rebounds.

No. 15: Mike Mitchell (Auburn), Cleveland Cavaliers, 1978

The first player from Auburn drafted in the first round, the small forward was a 1981 NBA All-Star and averaged 22.3 points per game during his seven peak seasons with the Cavs and San Antonio Spurs. For his career, Mitchell averaged 19.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 759 NBA games.

No. 18: Reggie King (Jackson-Olin, Alabama), Kansas City Kings, 1979

After averaging 18.4 points per game in four seasons for Alabama, “Mule” played four seasons for the Kings and two for the Seattle Supersonics, averaging 14.9 points in 1980-81. For his career, King averaged 8.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in 438 NBA games.

No. 19: Wiley Peck (Lee-Montgomery), San Antonio Spurs, 1979

The small forward averaged 14.5 points and 11.3 rebounds for Mississippi State as a senior to get into the first round. He played in 52 games as a rookie for the Spurs, then went to the Dallas Mavericks in the expansion draft, was traded to the Phoenix Suns and never played in the NBA again. He averaged 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in his single season.

No. 8: Andrew Toney (Glenn), Philadelphia 76ers, 1980

Toney became “The Boston Strangler” because of his performances against the Sixers' great rivals, the Celtics. The guard played all eight of his NBA seasons in Philadelphia and was a two-time All-Star. He averaged 15.9 points and 4.2 assists in 468 NBA games. Toney played collegiately at Louisiana-Lafayette.

No. 17: Kevin Loder (Alabama State), Kansas City Kings, 1981

A 6-6 forward, Loder went in the first round after he averaged 22.2 and 23.3 points in his final two seasons at Alabama State. Over three seasons, he played in 147 games for the Kings and one for the San Diego Clippers. He averaged 5.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game during his career.

No. 21: Eddie Phillips (Parker, Alabama), New Jersey Nets, 1982

After averaging 15.9 points and 9.3 rebounds in four seasons at Alabama, the forward played only one NBA season, getting into 48 games as a rookie with the Nets. He averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.

No. 13: Ennis Whatley (Phillips, Alabama), Kansas City Kings, 1983

After averaging 8.3 assists as a rookie for the Chicago Bulls, the point guard turned into a journeyman, with a 385-game NBA career spread over 10 seasons and 14 years with seven teams. Whatley averaged 5.6 points and 4.6 assists per game during his career.

No. 5: Charles Barkley (Leeds, Auburn), Philadelphia 76ers, 1984

“Sir Charles” became a Hall of Famer in the NBA. He played in 11 straight All-Star Games and was the NBA MVP for the 1992-93 season in his first campaign with the Phoenix Suns. Barkley averaged 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds in 1,073 games over 16 seasons.

No. 21: Terry Catledge (South Alabama), Philadelphia 76ers, 1985

The power forward had the best of his eight NBA seasons in 1989-90, when he averaged 19.4 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Orlando Magic. He averaged 12.7 points in his 515-game NBA career after scoring 25.6 in his last year at USA.

No. 4: Chuck Person (Brantley, Auburn), Indiana Pacers, 1986

“The Rifleman” dropped in 1,220 3-point baskets during a 13-season NBA career. He averaged 14.7 points in 943 games, with a high of 21.6 points per game for the Pacers in 1988-89.

No. 20: Buck Johnson (Hayes, Alabama), Houston Rockets, 1986

A 20-point-per-game scorer as a senior at Alabama, the small forward averaged 14.8 points for the Rockets in 1989-90, the best of his seven NBA seasons. For his 505-game NBA career, Johnson averaged 9.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

No. 9: Derrick McKey (Alabama), Seattle Supersonics, 1987

McKey spent 15 seasons in the NBA. During his peak years with the Sonics and the Indiana Pacers, the small forward was a 14-points-per-game scorer. McKey averaged 11.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 937 NBA games.

No. 20: Jim Farmer (Houston Academy, Alabama), Dallas Mavericks, 1987

In five NBA seasons, Farmer played in 136 games for five teams and then became a country-music singer. The shooting guard averaged 5.3 points and 1.4 rebounds per game during his NBA career.

No. 4: Chris Morris (Auburn), New Jersey Nets, 1988

The swingman averaged 12.9 points per game for the first eight of his 11 seasons in the NBA and went to the NBA Finals twice with the Utah Jazz. For his career, Morris averaged 11.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 747 NBA games.

No. 11: Robert Horry (Andalusia, Alabama), Houston Rockets, 1992

“Big Shot Bob” spent 16 seasons in the NBA with four teams without being named an All-Star. But Horry played for seven NBA championship teams with three franchises, more than any other player who wasn’t part of the Boston Celtics dynasty. Horry averaged 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 1,107 NBA regular-season games, and he played in 244 postseason contests, the third-most in league history.

No. 24: Latrell Sprewell (Alabama), Golden State Warriors, 1992

Though better remembered for his run-in with Warriors coach P.J. Carlesimo in the NBA, Sprewell was selected for four All-Star Games in 13 seasons. He averaged 18.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists during his 913-game career, with a scoring high of 24.2 points per game in 1996-97.

No. 21: James Robinson (Alabama), Portland Trail Blazers, 1993

A guard nicknamed “Hollywood,” Robinson averaged 18.9 points per game in three seasons at Alabama. He played for five teams in seven NBA seasons and averaged 7.6 points and 1.9 assists in 381 NBA games.

No. 23: Wesley Person (Brantley, Auburn), Phoenix Suns, 1994

The swingman followed his brother Chuck Person through Brantley High and Auburn to become a first-round pick and an NBA sniper, with 1,150 3-point baskets in 11 seasons. He led the league in 3-pointers in 1997-98 for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Person averaged 11.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 733 NBA games.

No. 2: Antonio McDyess (Alabama), Los Angeles Clippers, 1995

No player from Alabama has been the No. 1 pick, so the former Crimson Tide star is first off the state’s draft board at No. 2. McDyess was traded to the Denver Nuggets on draft night after being picked by the Clippers. He played in the 2011 All-Star Game and averaged 12 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in his 1,105-game, 15-year career that included stops with five teams.

No. 18: Theo Ratliff (Demopolis), Detroit Pistons, 1995

The center led the NBA in blocked shots per game three times in his 16 seasons and was an All-Star in 2001 when he averaged career highs of 12.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Ratliff played for nine teams in his 16 seasons, averaging 7.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 810 games. Ratliff played collegiately at Wyoming.

No. 20: Jason Caffey (Davidson, Alabama), Chicago Bulls, 1995

The power forward played on an NBA championship team in his second season with the Bulls after getting hurt in his first season and missing Chicago’s playoff run to the league title. Caffey played eight NBA seasons with three teams, averaging 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 462 games.

No. 22: Roy Rogers (Linden, Alabama), Vancouver Grizzlies, 1996

The 6-10 power forward played one full NBA season, getting into all 82 games with Vancouver as a rookie, when he averaged 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He played in 55 more games for three teams in two seasons and finished with averages of 4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for his career.

No. 26: Mamadou N’Diaye (Auburn), Denver Nuggets, 2000

Auburn’s most recent first-round pick broke Charles Barkley’s school record for blocked shots, but N’Diaye didn’t duplicate Sir Charles' NBA success. The 7-footer played in 69 games for four teams over five NBA seasons, averaging 3.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest.

No. 25: Gerald Wallace (Childersburg, Alabama), Sacramento Kings, 2001

Wallace was an NBA All-Star in 2010, when he averaged 18.2 points and 10.0 rebounds for the Charlotte Bobcats. In 832 NBA regular-season games with five teams in 14 seasons, Wallace averaged 11.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals.

No. 29: D.J. White (Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa), Detroit Pistons, 2008

The power forward went from Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa to Indiana before landing in the NBA. He played 138 games in six seasons, posting averages of 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds.

No. 27: DeMarre Carroll (John Carroll Catholic), Memphis Grizzlies, 2009

“The Junkyard Dog” has played for eight teams in his 11 NBA seasons. Carroll, who entered the NBA from Missouri, has averaged 8.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 578 NBA games.

No. 29: Toney Douglas (Auburn), Los Angeles Lakers, 2009

The Lakers drafted Douglas from Florida State, but he averaged 16.9 points per game for Auburn as a freshman in the 2004-05 season before leaving the Tigers for the Seminoles. During his NBA career, the guard played for seven teams in eight seasons. He averaged 7.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 394 NBA regular-season games.

No. 5: DeMarcus Cousins (LeFlore), Sacramento Kings, 2010

Cousins had been selected for the NBA All-Star Game four times in a row before tearing an Achilles tendon on Jan. 26, 2018. Cousins returned to play in 30 games for the Golden State Warriors in 2019 and then overcame a torn quadriceps muscle suffered in the postseason to play in the NBA Finals. Cousins signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2019-20 season, but on Aug. 19, 2019, he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and missed the entire campaign. His career averages are 21.2 points and 10.9 rebounds in 565 games after a one-season stopover at Kentucky between LeFlore and the NBA.

No. 18: Eric Bledsoe (Parker), Oklahoma City Thunder, 2010

Bledsoe helped the Milwaukee Bucks post the best record in the NBA in each of the past two regular seasons, and he made the NBA’s All-Defensive team for the 2018-19 campaign. Bledsoe has averaged 14.2 points, 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 631 NBA games. Bledsoe spent one season at Kentucky before joining the NBA, and he’s had three seasons end early because of knee problems.

No. 8: Collin Sexton (Alabama), Cleveland Cavaliers, 2018

The guard from Alabama became the third rookie in NBA history to average scoring at least 16 points per game while shooting at least 40 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free-throw line, joining Larry Bird and Stephen Curry. Sexton has played in every Cavaliers' game during his NBA career and started the past 137. In his second NBA season, his scoring average rose to 20.8 points per game.

No. 16: Chuma Okeke (Auburn), Orlando Magic, 2019

The Magic drafted Okeke even though he had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a Sweet 16 game in the NCAA tourney. The injury caused Okeke to miss the entire 2019-20 season.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.


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