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A Brief History of Oklahoma State Players Taken in the NBA Draft



The 2018 NBA Draft is tonight, and Oklahoma State will likely not have anyone picked. This is nothing new. In just two of the last seven drafts and three of the last 11 has a Cowboy basketball player gone on to the next level. In this span of time they have, of course, had several players sign as free agents and go on to have successful (John Lucas III) or moderately successful (Stephen Graham) NBA careers.

But it’s always been a bit of a curiosity to me that OSU doesn’t get more guys drafted. Since the Big 12 started (1996-1997), here’s how many players have been drafted from current Big 12 teams (for as long as they’ve been in the Big 12).

  • Kansas: 31
  • Texas: 18
  • Oklahoma: 11
  • Iowa State: 10
  • Baylor: 9
  • Oklahoma State: 8
  • Kansas State: 3
  • Texas Tech: 3
  • TCU: 0
  • West Virginia: 0

West Virginia has not had a player drafted since it joined the Big 12. Its last player drafted came in 2010 when Da’Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks went with back-to-back picks in the second round. That’s kind of a stunner.

I suppose OSU falling right in the middle of that pack is what I would expect, but in a vacuum, eight players drafted in over 20 years for a school that has prided itself on its hoops doesn’t seem like a lot.

Somewhat ironically (?) the majority of those eight have been drafted since OSU entered the current barren wasteland it finds itself in where it has won just one NCAA Tournament game since Salim Stoudamire ended things back in 2005.

Here’s a look at all of Oklahoma State’s draft picks in the Big 12 era.

Draft Rd. Pick Player Team
2017 2 39 Jawun Evans Philadelphia Sixers
2014 1 6 Marcus Smart Boston Celtics
2014 2 44 Markel Brown Minnesota Timberwolves
2010 1 20 James Anderson San Antonio Spurs
2007 2 51 JamesOn Curry Chicago Bulls
2005 1 16 Joey Graham Toronto Raptors
2004 1 25 Tony Allen Boston Celtics
2000 1 17 Desmond Mason Seattle SuperSonics

Marcus Smart was the highest pick at No. 6, but to this point either Tony Allen (6,600 points and a ring) or Desmond Mason (7,700 points) has had the most successful career. Those are the only two on the list who scored more than 5,000 points. I still kind of can’t believe Joey Graham wasn’t more successful. He always seemed so perfect for the NBA.

Jeffrey Carroll could add to this list of eight on Thursday night, although if he does it won’t be until the second round. More likely, he’ll link up with a team via free agency and try to break into the league that way. There were games I watched him where it seemed like an inevitability that he would play in the league, and then there were others where, uh, it didn’t.

“It’s kind of been a rollercoaster,” Carroll told The Oklahoman recently of his pre-Draft workout schedule with various teams. “It’s just been something that you’ve got to go through to get to where you want to go, and my goal, my childhood dream is just to make it to the next level, and that could change here within the next week.”

Interestingly, in the same timespan, OSU’s football program has had 14 players drafted in either the first or second round of the NFL draft (more or less the NBA Draft equivalent). I know there are more corners of the planet from which to draw basketball players and that future football pros often get funneled into one of the Power 5 schools right out of high school, but I found those numbers to be surprising and found myself hopeful that they increase on the basketball side with Mike Boynton at the helm.


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