from NBA Draft history - June 15,2000
NBA draft is all the rage. Prospects are dissected, analyzed, and compared
to heroes of yesteryear. There is the pre-draft camp, the endless talk
show hustle as well as fantasy drafts. Preceded by hype, hope and hoopla,
the NBA Draft finally arrives with a cast of hundreds of personalities,
nationally televised hour after hour. And then there is the endless
upon a time things were quite different in a simpler world and a smaller
NBA. The first draft in 1947 saw first-round selections made by
Pittsburgh, Boston, Providence, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis,
Chicago, Washington and Baltimore. No name from that first-round faraway
time (aside from Knicks draftee Walt Dropo, who went on to a distinguished
Major League baseball career) had any kind of real basketball impact.
records from that primitive time are so shrouded in a time warp that a
couple of the players drafted in '47 like Bob Alemeida and George
Petrovick have a question mark next to their name signifying a lack of
information as to the college they played for.
few non-first-round players went on to make a name for themselves in pro
ball like Andy Phillip out of Illinois, Jim Pollard from Stanford, Bob
Kurland of Oklahoma A&M, and Red Rocha who had played at Oregon State.
footnote to NBA history is Tony Lavelli of Yale, taken by Boston in the
1949 Draft. He went on to play the accordion for the Celtics at half time,
sometimes. But contrary to rumors, his musical skill was not one of the
reasons for Boston drafting him.
1950 Draft went 10 rounds for some teams and 12 for others, as a few teams
lost interest. Territorial picks were sometimes much fought over and
debated. The exclusive right to draft a player who came from a team's
geographical region gave Philadelphia the legendary Paul Arizin in 1950.
couple of others who went on to fame and glory were picked in that draft:
Bud Grant (NFL) by Minneapolis and Bob Cousy by Tri-Cities.
1951 NBA Draft lasted 12 rounds, but most teams stopped picking by then.
First Round went this way:
(Baltimore) Gene Melchiorre, Bradley
(TriCities) Mel Hutchins, Brigham Young
(Indianapolis) Marcus Freiberger, Oklahoma
(Ft Wayne) Zeke Sinicola, Niagara
(Syracuse) John McConathy, NW Louisiana
(NY Knicks) Ed Smith, Harvard
(Boston) Ernie Barrett, Kansas State
(Rochester) Sam Ranzino, North Carolina State
(Philadelphia) Don Sunderlage, Illinois
(Minneapolis) Whitey Skoog, Minnesota*
pick of Skoog was a Territorial one.
the sixth round, the New York Knicks plucked Al McGuire from St. John's.
The last player picked was John Burke of Springfield, Massachusetts by
Baltimore in the 12th round. By 1966, the territorial selections were
eliminated. A year later, the New York Knicks used their fifth pick to get
Walt Frazier and their 17th to obtain Phil Jackson.
the ensuing years, all kinds of marquee players and also-rans have made
their way onto NBA rosters through the draft. In my opinion, the 1970 and
1981 NBA Drafts rank among the all-time best yielding bumper crops of
1970 NBA Draft yielded such greats as Dave Cowens by Boston (4th); Pete
Maravich by Atlanta (3rd); Bob Lanier by Detroit (1st); Calvin Murphy by
San Diego (18th); and Geoff Petrie by Portland (8th).
1981 draft included such gems as Isiah Thomas by Detroit (2nd); Mark
Aguirre by Dallas (1st); Buck Williams by New Jersey (3rd); Tom Chambers
by San Diego (8th); Rolando Blackman by Dallas (9th); Danny Ainge by
Boston (31st); Kelly Tripuka by Detroit (12th); Orlando Woolridge by
Chicago (6th); and Eddie Johnson by Kansas City (29th).
knows what the NBA Draft 2000 has in store. Stay tuned.
# # #
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Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
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STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
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