University of Wyoming Players Selected in the NBA Draft
If Josh Adams hears his named called in the 2016 NBA Draft tonight, he will become the 30th former University of Wyoming player to be selected.
The first draft in professional basketball history occurred in 1947, when two former Wyoming players, Ron Livingstone and Bill Strannigan, were selected in the 5th round of the inaugural Basketball Association of America (BAA) Draft.
Livingstone went on to play for two seasons with the New York Knicks. Strannigan, who was drafted one pick later by the St. Louis Bombers, chose coaching over a professional career and later became the head coach at Colorado State and Iowa State before returning to Laramie to lead Wyoming's basketball program from 1959 to 1973.
Of the 29 former Pokes players who have been drafted, five were first round picks.
The highest draft pick in Wyoming history was Bill Garnett, who was selected with the fourth overall selection in the first round by the Dallas Mavericks in 1982.
Garnett's college teammate Charles Bradley was drafted by the Boston Celtics one year earlier, becoming the first Wyoming player ever taken in the first round.
In 1988, Erik Leckner was chosen by the Utah Jazz with the 17th overall pick in the first round and played for nine years in the league.
Theo Ratliff, who was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 1995 draft, went on to have the longest professional career of any Wyoming alum. During his 16 seasons, Ratliff led the league in blocked shots three times, was named to the NBA All-Defensive team twice and was a member of the 2001 Eastern Conference All-Star team.
It would take another 20 years before another Pokes player was drafted. In 2015, Larry Nance, Jr. was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 27th overall pick in the first round.