Nine years is a long time for a major basketball program to go between active roster members being selected in the NBA Draft. That number will could officially go over a decade if a Gophers player is not selected in the 2014 NBA Draft.
On Thursday, the NBA held its annual two-round player entry draft. As per usual there were plenty of jaw-dropping picks and more player movement than the best team general managers can keep track of. The night concluded again with no University of Minnesota players selected on the evening — which included prospects Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams Jr.
Players with former ties to the Maroon and Gold as well as natives of the state of Minnesota were among the 60 selected players on the night. Including former Minnesota big man Colton Iverson, who transferred after his junior season to Colorado State University. Iverson was an instant success when he stepped on the court in Fort Collins, Colo. The All-Mountain West Conference center was selected No. 53 overall by the Indiana Pacers.
The selection by the Pacers of Iverson is considered to be a part of a trade deal with the Boston Celtics.
Minnesota native Nate Wolters (South Dakota St. Univ.) was the highest local prospect selected at No. 38 overall by the Washington Wizards. Though again it sounds as if the St. Cloud, Minn. native is a part of a trade and will land with the Milwaukee Bucks. As a prolific scoring point guard for the SDSU Jackrabbits, Wolters was crowned the Summit League Player of the Year this past season.
Another drafted local prospect was Mike Muscala (Roseville, Minn.) who attended Bucknell University and was selected No. 44 overall by the Dallas Mavericks and traded immediately to the Atlanta Hawks. The 6-foot, 11-inch power forward was debated to be one of the more skilled players in the draft.
Now for Mbakwe and Williams Jr., they will have the opportunity to talk with all 30 NBA Teams and discuss possible future plans as part of a summer squad or as a player in an affiliated NBA Development League organization. It is possible that a NBA team leaves camp with summer roster players in tow. Fans will have to wait and see if the Gophers they cheered on at Williams Arena under former coach Tubby Smith will get a chance to player one of the sport’s highest stages.
Three Big Ten men’s basketball teams have had a longer stretch than Minnesota since their last drafted player — Nebraska, Northwestern, and Penn State. Kris Humphries was the last Gophers player to be selected in the draft when he went No. 14 overall in 2004.
- On Tuesday, former Minnesota baseball ace Tom Windle made his professional baseball debut in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. The lefty from Maple Grove, Minn. threw two shutout innings in relief for the Great Lakes Loons — the Dodgers Class A affiliate . The relief role followed the start by the Dodgers first round pick Chris Anderson, who hails from Lino Lakes, Minn.
- All-American awards continue to come in for the Gophers track and field program as Minnesota graduate student Quentin Mege was named a First Team Academic All-American as a thrower for the Maroon and Gold. The award was presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
- To bring some positivity to the basketball program after the 2013 NBA Draft, Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote on the weight loss by forward Mo Walker on head coach Richard Pitino’s watch. Best of luck to Walker on his workout regime.
Tweets of the Day
Final nail in the Tubby Era would be ex-Gopher (Iverson) and two guys he didn’t recruit (Muscala, Wolters) being drafted but no #gophers
— RandBall (@RandBall) June 28, 2013
Undrafted Univ. of Minnesota forward Rodney Williams has agreed to a free agent deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, league source tells Y!
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 28, 2013