Mbwake, Williams Jr not selected in NBA Draft


Mar 6, 2013; Lincoln, NE, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Trevor Mbakwe (32) goes to the hoop against Nebraska Cornhuskers forward Brandon Ubel (13) and guard Shavon Shields (31) in the second half at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Nebraska won 53-51. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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