Thursday, June 23, 2011

NBA Draft Likely Won't Touch the MAAC

The last MAAC player to have been picked in the NBA's annual draft was Rider's 6-10 center/forward Jason Thompson.

There almost assuredly won't be another conference player joining him as a draftee when the pros select players in a two-round process tonight.

Siena's 6-9 center Ryan Rossiter, who finished second nationally in rebounding, is the only semi-candidate to get draft consideration. But, no mock draft figures that he'll get picked, and published comments from teams he has worked out for all speak to how his best chance at eventual time in the NBA is to first play professionally overseas, add 20 pounds of muscle and improve his outside shooting ability.

For basketball fans of upstate New York, though, there is a "rooting" interest in tonight's draft.

That would be for BYU's Jimmer Fredette, this year's College Basketball's Player of the Year who averaged 28.3 points per game.

The 6-foot-2 guard from Glens Falls, N.Y., has no connection to the MAAC other than he probably would have gone to Siena had he not chosen BYU, primarily because of his own Mormon religious faith.

Vastly underrecruited (almost no other schools ... and, certainly, no high majors ... recruited him), Fredette has made a career out of proving wrong those who doubted his ability to play at advancing levels and, it says here, he'll do the same in the NBA. He is projected to be drafted anywhere from seventh to 15th tonight.

Your hoopscribe has seen Fredette play in person a number of times, but none was more memorable than nine years ago when he was an eighth-grader playing with the Glens Falls High School's varsity.

At the time he was 5-foot-11 and slightly pudgy. But the memory is that after seeing him drain several shots from well beyond the 3-point stripe and finish with a point total in the high 20's, your scribe returned to his newspaper office to tell others about the Capital Region's next terrific player.

Anyway, the draft should be interesting tonight ... even if there isn't a MAAC connection.

And, maybe, Rossiter will eventually make it to the NBA. If he does, he will be the second Siena player to wear an NBA uniform. Former Saint Kenny Hasbrouck got several 10-day contract stints and was on the active roster of the Miami Heat during the 2009-10 season, but never got into a game.

Here is the list of all MAAC players who have been picked in the NBA draft since the conference's beginning in the 1981-82 season.

Included is draft slot and the team doing the selection. Not all of the MAAC players picked actually played in the NBA. Some got cut prior to getting into an NBA game. Others opted not to attend NBA workouts, heading directly to pro careers overseas, and others didn't pursue pro basketball at all.

Also, the majority oa players were picked before 1990. Through 1985 the NBA's draft lasted 10 rounds. In 1986 the draft was cut to seven rounds and, after that, was limited to just two rounds. it's current length.

Here's the draft list, in chronological order:

-1982: William Brown, Saint Peter's, 5th round, Boston Celtics.
-1983: Pete DeBisschop, Fairfield, 4th round, Seattle SuperSonics. Ed Bona, Fordham, 6th round, Phoenix Suns. David Maxwell, Fordham, 8th round, San Diego Clippers.
- 1984: Steve Burtt, Iona, 2nd round, Golden State Warriors; Ernie Floyd, Holy Cross, 5th round, Milwaukee Bucks; Gary Springer, Iona, 6th round, Philadelphia 76ers; Champ Godboldt, Holy Cross, 8th round, Boston Celtics; Phil Jamison, Saint Peter's, 10th round, New Jersey Nets.
- 1985: Steve Black, La Salle, 3rd round, Philadelphia 76ers; Albert Butts, La Salle, 5th round, Boston Celtics; Ralph Lewis, La Salle, 6th round, Boston Celtics.
- 1986: Jim McCaffrey, Holy Cross, 6th round, Phoenix Suns..
- 1990: Lionel Simmons, La Salle, 1st round, Sacramento Kings
- 1991: Doug Overton, La Salle, 2nd round, Detroit Pistons; Sean Green, Iona, 2nd round, Indiana Pacers.
- 1992: Randy Woods, La Salle, 1st round, Los Angeles Clippers.
- 2004: Luis Flores, Manhattan, 2nd round, Houston Rockets.
- 2007: Jared Jordan, Marist, 2nd round, Los Angeles Clippers.
- 2008: Jason Thompson, Rider, 1st round, Sacramento Kings.

The highest draft choice from the MAAC was Simmons, the seventh pick overall in 1990.Thompson was the No. 12 pick overall in 2008. Woods, the other first-round pick was No. 16 overall in 1992.


Joe said...

Mike Smrek, Canisius College
1985 Portland Trail Blazers, 2nd round (1st pick, 25th overall)

Steve Amedio said...

Joe ...
You are certainly correct that Mike Smrek of Canisius was an NBA draft choice in 1985. However, Canisius had not yet joined the MAAC when Smrek was picked. The Griffs came aboard in 1989. That's why Smrek was not on the list. There have been more than a few players at current MAAC programs selected by the NBA (Calvin Murphy of Niagara comes to mind immediately) before the schools became conference members.
The list provided here only identifies players picked by the NBA after they played in the MAAC.