As the NBA Draft rapidly approaches, BTPowerhouse continues to look at the draft histories of Big Ten programs:
When you look at the Nittany Lions you see a program that hasn't had many draft picks throughout it's history and even less since joining the Big Ten. The program does have Tim Frazier to its name who went undrafted but it now a New Orleans Pelican. In terms of the NBA draft they haven't had a player selected since Calvin Booth back in 1999.
Pre-Big Ten Era
John Calipari has coached the Kentucky Wildcats for seven NBA drafts, he has had 13 players drafted in the lottery. From 1947-1991--the years Penn State played basketball before they played in the Big Ten--the Nittany Lions had 12 players drafted total, not in the first 15 picks, but in the entire draft.
It took Penn State's draftees awhile to get going in NBA with the only player drafted prior to the 1980s to spend more than a year in the league being Bob Weiss. Weiss spent 12 years in the league, averaging 7.6 points and 3.7 assists in 783 games and winning a title with the 76ers in the 1967. He also coached in the league for four different teams.
The most notable former Penn State alum to get drafted is Frank Brickowski, a center that was drafted by the Knicks in 1981. Brickowski wouldn't make it to the NBA until 1984, but he would go on to see time starting for the Spurs and Bucks while also playing for a handful of teams, including the Sonics when they played in the NBA Finals back in 1996. His best year in the association was his first year as a full starter for the Spurs, averaging 18.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 68 starts.
Big Ten Era (1992-Present)
To those readers born in the millennium you are still waiting to see that first Nittany Lion to be drafted. The pre-Big Ten era at least had Brickowski and Bob Weiss, since, Calvin Booth is their only NBA Draft pick which came in the second round of 1999 by the Wizards. Booth was never a major contributor for the seven teams he played for, never starting more than 35 games in a single season, but he did manage to stay in the league until 2009. His career highlight came in the 2001 playoffs when he made a game winning layup of Game 5 against the Jazz.
2016 won't be any kinder than 2000-2015. The hope is that Coach Chambers will be able to turn around the program and get that first player drafted, unfortunately it doesn't look promising. It seems that Penn State will always be a football school.