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The NBA draft is approaching fast, next Thursday. It’s time for history to be made again for the Arizona Wildcats.
For only the second time in the history of the Arizona Wildcats program will a former player get selected in the first round of the NBA draft in three consecutive years.
Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson figure to join Aaron Gordon from last year and Solomon Hill in 2013 as Arizona Wildcats earning a first-round selection in the NBA draft.
The feat matches the run from 1993 to 1995 when Chris Mills (1993), Khalid Reeves (1994) and Damon Stoudamire (1995) were Arizona Wildcats selected in three consecutive seasons.
Time will tell if NBA scouting personnel and executives did their homework correctly on the Arizona prospects and others.
Other than Sean Elliott, the third overall pick in the 1989 draft by San Antonio, Arizona’s contingent of 18 first-round picks have not lasted long with the team that selected them.
The average span: 2.9 years. That’s including Andre Iguodala’s eight years with Philadelphia to start his career and the 11 spent overall by Elliott with San Antonio (with one season sandwiched between at Detroit).
Don’t get this stat wrong. A majority of Arizona first-rounders have succeeded in the NBA. Most have done that after moving to another team after their selection in the draft.
The list includes Damon Stoudamire, Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye.
Other historical possibilities of next week’s draft:
— If Brandon Ashley and T.J. McConnell are taken in the second round, that would mean four Arizona selections in the first two rounds for only the second time in the program’s history. In 2001, Jefferson, Gilbert Arenas, Michael Wright and Loren Woods were taken in the first two rounds.
— Sean Miller’s probable five first-round picks in a five-year span — from 2011 to this year — is the best stretch of first-rounders selected in the program’s history.
Enjoy the slideshow which will show the draft spots of Johnson and Hollis-Jefferson.
Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:
ARIZONA’S FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICKS (18)