Wildcats in the NBA Update - Tucson News Now

Wildcats in the NBA Update

TUCSON, AZ - With the playoffs getting under way this weekend, take a look at how more than a dozen Arizona men's basketball alums have fared in the NBA this season.

In his first season with Milwaukee, Jerryd Bayless averaged 7.8 points and 3.0 assists per game to lead the Bucks to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. For his career, the 11th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft has averages of 8.3 points and 2.9 assists per game. The Phoenix native is making his fourth playoff appearance in seven years in the NBA.

Chase Budinger finished his third season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, battling back from injury to average 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 67 games. In 341-career games over six NBA seasons, the La Jolla, Calif., native has averages of 8.6 points and 3.2 rebounds.

Channing Frye was a steady presence for the Magic in his first season in Orlando, playing in 75 games and making 51 starts. The No. 8 overall selection in the 2005 NBA Draft averaged 7.3 points and 3.9 rebounds, while shooting better than 39 percent from three-point territory. The Phoenix native has played in 657 games over nine NBA seasons, averaging 9.6 points and 5.0 rebounds.

Aaron Gordon's rookie season was marred by injury, but the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft came on strong late in the season, averaging 27 minutes per game down the stretch for Orlando. The San Jose, Calif., native played in 47 games as a rookie, making eight starts, and averaged 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Magic.

Jordan Hill, the eighth selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, finished his third full season with the Los Angeles Lakers with career-high averages of 12.0 points and 7.9 rebounds in 70 games (57 starts). He also recorded a career-best 22 double-doubles this season. The Atlanta native has played in 329 games over six NBA seasons, averaging 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.

A second-year pro and the Pacers' first round pick in 2013, Solomon Hill played in all 82 games and made 78 starts for an Indiana team that was in the playoff hunt down to the season's final day. He averaged 8.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 29.0 minutes per night. The Los Angeles native has seen action in 110 games over the last two seasons, averaging 7.1 points and 3.2 rebounds.

Andre Iguodala's second season with Golden State saw him help lead the Warriors to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs and an NBA-best 67-15 record. The 2014 NBA All-Defense first-teamer averaged 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 77 games in the regular season, and owns averages of 14.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 835 games over the course of 11 NBA seasons.

Iguodala's head coach at Golden State is former Wildcat Steve Kerr, a candidate for NBA Coach of the Year after guiding the Warriors to an .817 winning percentage to set a league record for first-year head coaches. Former Arizona players Luke Walton and Bruce Fraser are also on the Warriors' bench as assistant coaches.

Richard Jefferson helped Dallas reach the playoffs in his first season with the team, playing in 74 regular-season games and making 18 starts. The Phoenix native averaged 5.8 points and shot 42.6 percent from three-point range in his 14th NBA season after being the 13th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft.

Grant Jerrett made his NBA debut in 2014-15, playing in five games for the Oklahoma City Thunder and three for the Utah Jazz after a midseason trade. The Chino Hills, Calif., native averaged 2.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in limited action after rehabbing from injury.

The Rockets' second-round pick in 2014, Nick Johnson played in 28 games for a Houston team that finished the campaign with the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Gilbert, Ariz., native averaged 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds in his first regular season.

Also a member of the second-seeded Rockets, Jason Terry averaged 7.0 points and 1.9 assists in 77 regular-season games in his first season in Houston. The Seattle native, who had his jersey retired at McKale Center in February, also shot 39.0 percent from beyond the arc. In 1,213 games over 16 NBA seasons, Terry has averages of 14.8 points and 4.2 assists, while his 2,076 three-point makes are the third-most in NBA history.

Derrick Williams, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, played in 74 games for Sacramento in 2014-15, finishing his fourth NBA season with averages of 8.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. In 296-career games, the Los Angeles native has produced averages of 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds.

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.

UA players have been far from content by just hearing their names called on draft night, however. As has been reported by various media outlets, the fraternity of Arizona's NBA players has surpassed the collective $1 billion mark in career earnings.

Collectively, the Wildcat 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 a Rookie of the Year (Damon Stoudamire), a Sixth Man of the Year (Jason Terry) and a Most Improved Player (Gilbert Arenas).


Copyright 2015. Arizona Athletics. All rights reserved.

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