Lots of crazy things have happened in sports recently, the Cavaliers getting Cleveland a championship, the Warriors breaking the wins record, and Leicester City winning the premier league. A Minnesota Golden Gopher getting drafted this year will not be joining the list on Thursday night in Brooklyn.
Since 2005 there hasn't been one player drafted out of the Minnesota program. Kris Humphries in 2004 left Minnesota following his freshman year, after becoming only the sixth player in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring and rebounding, and first to do it as a freshman. He was drafted 14th overall by the Utah Jazz. His NBA career was more famous for his off the court prowess then on the court, but nonetheless, was a solid NBA player.
Although the last 12 years and probably next couple years cannot be described as pretty, the half century before that was.
Minnesota's NBA Draft Performance In the 1950s
The 1950s were good to Minnesota basketball 10 players were drafted throughout the decade. Before the LA Lakers were the LA Lakers they resided only three and half miles away from the barn. Eight of the ten drafted went to the hometown Minneapolis Lakers.
The first of them was Bud Grant. As a die hard Minnesota Vikings fan I think of Bud walking on to the field in the below zero weather before this years playoff game. Before that Grant was a three-sport star in basketball, football and baseball and was drafted in the 4th round of the 1950 NBA draft by the Lakers. He was also drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft that same year by the Philadelphia Eagles. Bud Grant is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame because for his 18 years as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 1967-1985.
Another notable draftee was Dick Garmaker who Minneapolis picked in both '54 and in '55. He became a 4-time all-star for the Lakers.
Minnesota's NBA Draft Performance In the 1960s
The 60's saw nine Gophers drafted throughout the decade. The Lakers-Gophers connection ended when they left the state.
Talledaga Nights, a famous movie starring Will Ferrell has a famous scene when Ferrell talks about how he is going to "Shake and Bake." Archie Clark was drafted in 1966 and was nicknamed Shake and Bake before Ferrell was even born.
Lou Hudson was also picked in the 1966 draft and his No. 24 jersey was retired by the Hawks. His No. 12 was retired by the Gophers as well.
Minnesota's NBA Draft Performance In the 1970s
13 more Golden Gophers were picked in the '70s. Before Larry Bird was picked in the 1978 draft a Bahamian named Mychal Thompson was drafted #1 overall, the only player from the Minnesota U even to be taken No. 1 overall. He won two NBA titles with the "showtime" Lakers in the latter stages of his career.
Larry Mikan, son of the Hall of Fame Minneapolis Lakers great George Mikan, was taken in '70 by the Los Angeles Lakers, but played his only NBA season for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Minnesota's NBA Draft Performance In the 1980s
The first of eight Gophers drafted in the '80s was Kevin McHale. He started the decade strong for Minnesota by being drafted third overall in '80 by the Celtics. The Hall-of-Famer is considered by many to be the greatest power forward the game has ever seen. Part of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players list, McHale won three titles alongside frontcourt mates Larry Bird and Robert Parrish in Boston.
Minnesota's NBA Draft Performance In the 1990s
The Gophers kept rolling in the '90s with seven more basketball players drafted by NBA teams. 2004 NBA Three-Point Shootout champion Voshon Lenard was drafted in '94 out of Minneapolis, followed by Bobby Jackson in '97. Jackson is best remembered for his role as the bacckup point guard for the Sacramento Kings during their playoff runs of the early 2000s.
Minnesota's NBA Draft Performance In the 2000s
Right when I am old enough to start remembering drafts, the Gophers stopped producing players to remember. Aside from Humphries only Joel Przybilla (a fan favorite of mine in Portland) and Rick Rickert were drafted.
Unfortunately for Gopher fans all the headlines have been bad this offseason and don't expect any good ones out of Barclays Center tonight.