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Indiana Hoosiers look to end short NBA draft absence

The Hoosiers look poised to end a two year absence from the NBA draft and hear some familiar names called Thursday night.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana University has one of the most historically powerful basketball programs in the country. As a blue blood program, success at the NBA level is sure to follow.

Since the 2000 season, though, it has been an up and down road for Indiana basketball and that is also true about putting players into the NBA.

Here’s a look at the Indiana Hoosiers to have their names called on Draft Night in the NBA since the year 2000.

2000: A.J. Guyton 32nd

A.J. Guyton went to Indiana in 1996 to play for Bob Knight and had a heck of a career there. He was a four year starter, appearing in every game during his tenure there and finishing as the program leader in three point field goals made with 283 while also hitting the 2,000 point milestone with 2,100 points, fourth in school history. Guyton was the Big Ten player of the Year and a consensus first team All-American in 2000 for the Hoosiers.

Unfortunately for Guyton, his collegiate success did not translate to an overly successful professional career in the NBA. He was drafted 32nd overall by the Chicago Bulls and played there from 2000-2002 before joining the Golden State Warriors for the 2002 season, his last in the NBA. After that season, he bounced around in Europe and Israel until 2010.

2001: Kirk Haston 16th

Haston went to Indiana as a shooter and lived up to his reputation, leading the Big Ten in scoring in the 2000-2001 season and being named a third team All-American. Haston was picked earlier than many thought he should have gone at 16th overall to the Charlotte Hornets. His NBA career was short lived, as he averaged 1.2 points while playing in only 27 games.

His playing career ended after he was waived by a European team due to a right knee injury in 2005.

2002: Jared Jeffries 11th

Jared Jeffries will always be remembered fondly by Hoosiers for his part in their run to the 2002 Championship game, having big games throughout the NCAA Tournament as a sophomore before entering the NBA Draft, skipping his junior and senior seasons.

He was selected 11th overall by the Washington Wizards and became a valuable piece off of the team off the bench, though his first season was cut short by injury. He went on to be a player you could bring off the bench or start and he would do his job. He averaged 21.6 minutes per game during his 11 NBA seasons, averaging 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

2005: Bracey Wright 47th

Wright was a great scorer for the Hoosiers in his three seasons there, finishing with 1,498 points and making 186 threes and leading the Big Ten in scoring as a junior with 18.3 points per game.

He was drafted 47th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but never really made it in the NBA. He has, however, enjoyed nice success overseas and was named the Israeli League Finals MVP in 2015.

2008: Eric Gordon 7th, D.J. White 29th

Eric Gordon left the Indiana Hoosiers after only one year, but he took them for a pretty good ride along with D.J. White.

As a freshman, Gordon led the Big Ten in scoring at 21.5 points per game and was named Freshman of the Year as well as First Team All Big-Ten.

His NBA career has been largely injury riddled, but he has been a productive player when he has been on the floor. He has played for the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans and the Houston Rockets since being drafted 7th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. He has averaged 16.6 points per game in 33.5 minutes in his time in the NBA, and could be a possible 6th Man of the Year award winner for this past season.

D.J. White did not enjoy the same amount of NBA success as Gordon has. He has been well traveled, being a part of three different teams and appearing in 158 games. He has averaged 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds in his appearances in the NBA.

2013: Victor Oladipo 2nd, Cody Zeller 4th

On perhaps the best draft night in Indiana basketball history, Oladipo and Zeller claimed two of the top four spots in the draft.

Oladipo was drafted 2nd overall by the Magic, and has since been traded to Oklahoma City Thunder. He plays the role of backcourt mate to Russell Westbrook and has averaged a nice 15.9 points in 33.2 minutes in his career. He also plays good defense, as he did at Indiana, and averages 1.5 steals per game for his career.

Oladipo appears to still be developing into his full potential, and if his outside shot can take one more step forward, he could see a spike in his numbers.

Zeller was taken 4th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets) and has become a key piece of their rotation in Charlotte. Zeller surprised many by staying two years at Indiana, and it seems to have benefited him in the long run. As his body continues to grow along with his opportunities, he’s developing into a good NBA big man.

This past season, Zeller had his best individual year, averaging career bests across the board in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and field goal percentage.

2014: Noah Vonleh, 9th

Vonleh spent only one year at Indiana, but it was clear that his size and athletic ability would allow him to take his game to the NBA level. In his year at Indiana, Vonleh averaged 11.3 points and nine rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game.

Vonleh was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets and suffered a foot injury early in his rookie season, limiting him to 25 games where he averaged 3.3 points and 3.4 rebounds. After that season, he was traded to Portland and has been there the last two seasons.

He posted career bests in points with 4.4 per game and rebounds with 5.2 per game this season for the Trailblazers, playing both a starting role and coming off the bench from night to night.

Overall

The Indiana Hoosiers have a storied basketball program, but over the past decade and a half or so, the college success has not necessarily translated to NBA success.

They have a few players in the league in their prime or approaching it, so some of the stories are still not fully told. There are a trio of players hoping to add to the list of Hoosiers gone pro this Thursday with O.G. Anunoby, Thomas Bryant and James Blackmon Jr.