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NBA Draft History: Maryland Basketball Looks to Continue Recent Draft Success

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Melo Trimble looks to be the latest Terp drafted.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Maryland vs Xavier Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Maryland Terrapins have been an extremely relevant program recently in the eyes of the NBA.

Maryland has had 12 players selected in the NBA Draft since 2001. This includes five players since the 2010 NBA Draft.

Greivis Vasquez kicked off the plethora of drafted Terrapins in the 2010s when he was selected 28th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2010.

Though Vasquez has had an inconsistent NBA career, he had a season in which he averaged 13.9 points per game for the New Orleans Hornets (2012-’13). Vasquez has also scored an average of at least nine points each contest in three other seasons of his eight-year career.

The Terrapins had multiple players drafted in last year’s draft for the 16th time ever and first since the 2002 NBA Draft. Big men Diamond Stone and Jake Layman were each drafted in the middle of the second round. Stone was selected 40th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans and Layman was taken soon after at the 47th pick by the Orlando Magic.

If Maryland is able to get a player drafted in this year’s draft, it would be the first time the Terrapins would have a player selected in back-to-back drafts since 2001 and 2002. There is a decent chance this may happen.

While a number of NBA mock drafts predict that Melo Trimble’s name won’t be called on draft day, there are also a decent amount predicting that the guard will get taken in the second round.

Trimble averaged a career-high 16.8 points per game last season. The talks of if Trimble is good enough to play in the NBA began when he was only a freshman during the 2014-’15 season. Finally, we will soon find out if Trimble will have a chance to prove himself in the NBA.

Regardless of whether or not a Maryland Terrapin is selected in the upcoming NBA Draft, the program has an extremely rich history in the NBA. Maryland has seen 67 of its former players get selected in an NBA draft. This number is good for fourth best amongst all Big Ten teams, trailing Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana.

When reflecting on the best NBA players to graduate from Maryland, there are countless names that come to mind. It’s really tough to select who to talk about and who to leave out. Considering that there have been 11 Maryland graduates to have played at least 10 seasons in the NBA, it’s clear we’ve seen a lot of talent come out of the school over the years.

The 1970s and 1980s were both golden eras for Terrapin basketball in terms of sending players to the NBA. Maryland saw 30 of its former players get drafted from the beginning of the 1970 NBA draft to the conclusion of the 1988 NBA draft. Two players that without a doubt headlined this era of Maryland basketball were Buck Williams and John Lucas.

Williams was drafted third overall by the New Jersey Nets in 1981, making him the fifth player in Maryland history at the time to be selected within the first nine overall picks.

Williams had a long-lasting, dominant NBA career which lasted 17 seasons, the most seasons played by any Terrapin to date. Williams put up flat-out ridiculous numbers. Williams somehow managed to average a double-double in all of his NBA games combined (12.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game). This can largely be credited to an absurd stretch in which Williams averaged a double-double for seven consecutive seasons.

The 1982 NBA Rookie of the Year also was a three-time NBA All-Star and was a member of two NBA All-Defensive First Teams.

Lucas helped highlight the 1970s for Maryland, as he was the first former Terrapin to be selected first overall in the NBA Draft (1976 by the Houston Rockets). Lucas was a two-time All-American when he was on Maryland and translated that into a 14-year NBA career. Lucas bounced around the NBA, playing on seven different teams throughout his tenure. The guard made the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1977 and averaged 10.7 points and seven assists per game in the entirety of his NBA career.

Going way back to the 1950s, a player that cannot go without mentioning is Gene Shue. The guard was drafted third overall by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1954 and was actually the second player ever to be selected in an NBA Draft from Maryland.

Shue had an outstanding 10-year NBA career as a player and an even better 23-year career as a head coach.

During his playing days, Shue averaged 14.4 points and 3.7 assists each contest while also collecting an outstanding 4.1 rebounds per game for a six-foot-two guard. Shue was also an NBA All-Star for five consecutive seasons from 1958-1962.

Shue coached five different NBA teams and earned NBA Coach of the Year honors in 1969 and 1982. Shue also led his team to the NBA Finals on two separate occasions.

I could go on for days about the feats former Maryland basketball players have accomplished. However, I’ll end it here. Because, anyway, I’m sure most die-hard Terrapin fans are mainly focused on seeing whether or not Trimble’s name will get called in the 2017 NBA Draft. Shortly, we will find out.