Hoosiers in the NBA Draft: The All-Time First Round Picks

The 2018 NBA Draft is on Thursday.  While there won’t be any Hoosiers taken in this year’s draft, IU has a long history of its top players being selected in the annual event.

Indiana has had more than one first round pick on five different occasions, with three picks in 1976, and two picks in 1981, 1993, 2008 and 2013.

As our trusted IU athletics historian Bill Murphy reminded us, what it means to be a first round pick has changed over time as the number of teams in the NBA has grown.  For example, in the 1965 NBA Draft, Dick and Tom Van Arsdale were selected as the 10th and 11th overall picks, respectively.  Because there were so few teams, that put them in the 2nd round, while today they would be so-called lottery picks.

Charlotte has selected the most former IU players, with four different Hoosiers in the first round.  Washington has selected three.

Walt Bellamy and Kent Benson are the only Hoosiers to be selected number one overall.  Archie Dees, Scott May, Isiah Thomas and Victor Oladipo were all taken as the second overall selection.

Bellamy, George McGinnis and Thomas ended up in the Hall of Fame.

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Walt Bellamy in 1958. Photo Credit – IU Archives
  • 1948:  Ward Williams, Fort Wayne (BAA)
  • 1958:  Archie Dees, Cincinnati
  • 1961:  Walt Bellamy, Chicago
  • 1971:  George McGinnis, Indiana (ABA)
  • 1973:  Steve Downing, Boston
  • 1975:  Steve Green, Utah (ABA)
  • 1976:  Scott May, Chicago
  • 1976:  Quinn Buckner, Milwaukee
  • 1976:  Bobby Wilkerson, Seattle
  • 1977:  Kent Benson, Milwaukee
  • 1980:  Mike Woodson, New York
  • 1981:  Isiah Thomas, Detroit

Image result for "isiah thomas" 1981 nba draft

  • 1981:  Ray Tolbert, New Jersey
  • 1983:  Randy Wittman, Washington
  • 1985:  Uwe Blab, Dallas
  • 1993:  Calbert Cheaney, Washington
  • 1993:  Greg Graham, Charlotte
  • 1995:  Alan Henderson, Atlanta
  • 1996:  Brian Evans, Orlando
  • 2001:  Kirk Haston, Charlotte
  • 2002:  Jared Jeffries, Washington
  • 2008:  D.J. White, Detroit
  • 2008:  Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers
  • 2013:  Victor Oladipo, Orlando
  • 2013:  Cody Zeller, Charlotte
  • 2014:  Noah Vonleh, Charlotte
  • 2017:  OG Anunoby, Toronto

According to IU, they have an Big Ten leading 76 all-time NBA draft selections.


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