Wildcat Draft Legacy Still Going Strong

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Arizona Athletics July 2, 2014

Since 1988, 38 Wildcats have been chosen by professional teams during the NBA draft.

Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson were top picks for this year's NBA draft. In the summer of 2013, ESPN ranked Arizona sixth among all college programs in terms of producing top NBA talent over the last two-plus decades. (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson were top picks for this year's NBA draft. In the summer of 2013, ESPN ranked Arizona sixth among all college programs in terms of producing top NBA talent over the last two-plus decades. (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

Aaron Gordon (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

Aaron Gordon (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

Nick Johnson (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

Nick Johnson (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

Over more than two decades, the NBA draft has been a night of celebration for the Arizona men's basketball program. Since 1988, a total of 38 UA players have heard their names called in the draft.

The Wildcats are tied with Duke and Kentucky for the most in the nation over that span. Kansas has 35 selections and both North Carolina and UCLA have 34 to round out the top five nationally since 1988.

This season, Aaron Gordon became the 19th first-round pick and 12th lottery pick in Arizona history when the Orlando Magic made him the fourth overall selection. The San Jose, California, native was the Wildcats' third first-round pick in the last four years, and the second UA player in Sean Miller’s tenure to hear his name called among the first four picks in a draft.

Also this season, Nick Johnson became the fifth of Miller’s recruits to be chosen on draft night when the Houston Rockets selected him 42nd overall.

The UA has had at least one player selected in 22 of the last 27 drafts, and has produced 67 draft picks overall.

Also, 10 of the Wildcats' last 12 first-round picks have been lottery selections. Overall, five of the UA's last eight NBA draft picks have been first-round choices.

Arizona has had five players selected since 2011, a total that ranks eighth nationally over that period of time. The Wildcats' four selections over the last two years are good for second nationally in that span.

UA players have been far from content with just hearing their names called on draft night, however. As has been reported by various media outlets, the fraternity of Arizona's NBA players is nearing the collective $1 billion mark in career earnings, with the total haul exceeding $960 million during the 2013-14 campaign.

Collectively, the Arizona players who have been drafted since 1988 are an accomplished group, having won 13 NBA championships and made six All-Star appearances. The group boasts Damon Stoudamire as a Rookie of the Year, Jason Terry, who was named a Sixth Man of the Year, and Gilbert Arenas, named he Most Improved Player.

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