For the first time since 1971, the Oregon Ducks have five players eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Jordan Bell, Chris Boucher, Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Dylan Ennis are vying to make their dreams a reality on Thursday.
This draft could break the record for most freshman chosen. Not to mention, the Pac-12 is the dark horse of the night. How many from the star-studded conference will be drafted on Thursday? We already know the No. 1 and 2 overall pick are Pac-12 stars.
The ‘71 Ducks were the last team in program history to boast three or more players drafted in the NBA.
Larry Holliday was drafted by Seattle in the ninth round, yes the ninth. Bill Drozdiak went to San Francisco (when they had a professional franchise) in the 10th round. Leonard Jackson was selected by San Diego in the 16th round.
It’s hard to believe the league once had more than two rounds of draft selections. Imagine the coverage of that draft today.
Oregon’s highest drafted player in program history occurred on two separate occasions when a Duck was chosen with the fourth overall pick. Jim Loscutoff was the first in 1955 by the Boston Celtics. 22 years later, Greg Ballard was selected with the No. 4 pick by the Washington Bullets.
The last two Ducks to head to professional pastures were Elgin Cook and Dwayne Benjamin. Both were signed as free agents following the 2016 NBA Draft last year.
Cook signed with the Golden State Warriors affiliate in Santa Cruz. He is now a member of the brand new G-League. Ok, it’s not new. It’s just the old D-League in a new pair of jeans. Benjamin is playing professionally overseas in Australia.
Joseph Young was the last Oregon basketball player to be drafted in 2015. He was selected by the Indiana Pacers in the second round with the 43rd overall pick.
However, Aaron Brooks was the last Duck to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. In 2007, the Houston Rockets chose Brooks with the 26th overall pick. Will Jordan Bell snap the streak on Thursday evening?
Luke Jackson was the last Oregon player to be selected higher than 26th overall. Jackson was chosen by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 10th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.
2008 was the only season two Duck players were selected in the first round of the draft. Malik Hairston went 48th overall to the Phoenix Suns. Meanwhile, Maarty Leunen was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 54th overall pick.
Overall, the Ducks have produced 47 NBA Draft selections all-time, including 11 first round selections.
Thursday could mark history for the Oregon basketball program. Five players are eligible for the draft, three will be drafted and two should be drafted. More than likely, Boucher and Ennis will sign as free agents following the draft.
Is there a first round pick in the mix this year? Are their multiple first rounders coming out of Oregon? I would not be surprised by anything, especially Bell and Brooks at the end of the first round and Dorsey early in the second.
The 2017 NBA Draft begins at 4:00 p.m. PT via NBA TV and ESPN. If you can’t watch it live, there are a multitude of apps and online streaming to take care of your needs. We will have all the news as it breaks. Always us.