Thursday, June 27, 2013 | 2 a.m.
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It's NBA Draft week, and this year that means a lot for players with local ties. Sports writers Case Keefer and Taylor Bern make some predictions and offer their GM perspectives. Plus, with sports editor Ray Brewer out on vacation, the guys end with music, including your new favorite rapper Froggy Fresh.
Anthony Bennett has been thinking about today for several years — from the clothes he’ll wear to how big he’ll smile and exactly how firm to shake the hand of NBA Commissioner David Stern. All of it has played out in his head multiple times, and tonight it becomes reality.
Getting selected in the first round of the NBA Draft is something nearly every Division I basketball player dreams about but few realize. Rarer still is the top-10 pick, which appears to be Bennett’s fate. Coverage from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn starts on ESPN at 4 p.m.
Thirteen UNLV players before him have been selected in the first round, seven of them in the top 10. It’s a special fraternity that spans back to 1975 when Ricky Sobers went No. 16 to the Phoenix Suns.
Since then, there’s been a slow drip of Rebels going in the first round, at least until 1991, when the gates momentarily flooded and a trio of former national champions went in the top 12, including No. 1 overall pick Larry Johnson. More picks followed in the next two years, but it’s slowed back down to a crawl in the past 20 years.
Although a Rebel has won an NBA title each of the past three seasons, the first was the Dallas Mavericks’ Shawn Marion, who was drafted in 1999, and Miami Heat bench warmer Joel Anthony was a free agent in 2007. Marcus Banks in 2003 was the last UNLV player to be drafted.
The Rebels believe Bennett will help change that. The best way to win is with the best players, and a one-and-done success story can help attract other similar talents. That’s the hope, anyway.
UNLV probably won’t have to wait long to keep the momentum going. It would be a surprise if junior Khem Birch’s name isn’t on a lot of draft boards by midseason, and fellow junior Roscoe Smith has an NBA body. Elite recruits play the same mental game Bennett has, and seeing that come true for him and possibly other guys already on the team is a great thing for the program.
So if Bennett’s about to be the 14th Rebel taken in the first round, who are the other 13? Click through the slides to see where they all were drafted and how they fared in the NBA:
Note: Career earnings, when available, are pulled from basketball-reference.com.
1975 — No. 16 Ricky Sobers, G, Phoenix Suns
Drafted after John Lambert (USC) and before Tom Boswell (South Carolina)
• 11 seasons: Also played for the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Washington Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics
• Career numbers: 821 games (138 starts); 10,902 points; 45.9 fg%; 29.1 3fg%; 2,132 rebounds; 3,525 assists; 1,085 steals; 161 blocks
1978 — No. 9 Reggie Theus, G, Chicago Bulls
Drafted after Freeman Williams (Portland State) and before Butch Lee (Marquette)
• 13 seasons: Also played for the Kansas City/Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic and New Jersey Nets
• Career numbers: 1,026 games (743 starts); 19,015 points; 47.1 fg%; 25.2 3fg%; 3,349 rebounds; 6,453 assists; 1,206 steals; 236 blocks
• Honors: Two-time All-Star (1981, 83), All-Rookie team (1979)
• Popular culture: From 1995-98, he starred as coach Bill Fuller, a fictional high school basketball coach on NBC’s “Hang Time.” When Theus left, he was replaced by a new coach played by former Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus.
1983— No. 5 Sidney Green, F, Chicago Bulls>
Drafted after Byron Scott (Arizona State) and before Russell Cross (Purdue)
• 10 seasons: Also played for the Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs and Charlotte Hornets
• Career numbers: 679 games (242 starts); 5,080 points; 45.4 fg%; 4,128 rebounds; 635 assists; 369 assists; 223 blocks
1986 — No. 21 Anthony Jones, G, Washington Bullets
Drafted after Buck Johnson (Alabama) and before Scott Skiles (Michigan State)
• Three seasons: Also played for the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks
• Career numbers: 164 games (four starts); 594 points; 39.3 fg%; 30.6 3fg%; 214 rebounds; 119 assists; 38 blocks
1987 — No. 2 Armen* Gilliam, F, Phoenix Suns
Drafted after David Robinson (Navy) and before Dennis Hopson (Ohio State)
• 13 seasons: Also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz
• Career numbers: 929 games (527 starts); 12,700 points; 48.9 fg%; 6,401 rebounds; 1,088 assists; 676 steals; 607 blocks
• Honors: All-Rookie team (1988)
*Gilliam, who died in 2011 while playing a pickup basketball game, changed the spelling of his first name from Armon to Armen near the end of his NBA career because he grew tired of it being mispronounced.
This is the group that redefined UNLV basketball. When they went into the league together, all three of them wore No. 2 to honor coach Jerry Tarkanian. Johnson and Stacey Augmon stuck with that throughout their careers while Greg Anthony also wore No. 50. For three seasons, from 1998-01, Anthony and Augmon were reunited on the Portland Trailblazers and in the first season made it to the Western Conference Finals. That team also included 1993 first-round UNLV draft pick JR Rider.
No. 1 Larry Johnson, F, Charlotte Hornets
Drafted before Kenny Anderson (Georgia Tech)
• 10 seasons: Also played for the New York Knicks
• Career numbers: 707 games (699 starts); 11,450 points; 48.4 fg%; 33.2 3fg%; 5,300 rebounds; 2,298 assists; 515 steals; 258 blocks
• Honors: Rookie of the Year (1992), All-NBA second team (1993), two-time All-Star (1993 and 95)
• Career earnings: $83.1 million
• Popular culture: In 1993, he appeared as Grandmama on the TV show “Family Matters,” and in 1996, he appeared as himself alongside teammate Muggsy Bogues in the basketball movies “Eddie” and "Space Jam.”
No. 9 Stacey Augmon, F, Atlanta Hawks
Drafted after Mark Macon (Temple) and before Bison Dele (Arizona)
• 15 seasons: Also played for the Detroit Pistons, Portland Trailblazers, Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic
• Career numbers: 1,001 games (472 starts); 7,990 points; 46.9 fg%; 3,216 rebounds; 1,561 assists; 974 steals; 317 blocks
• Honors: All-Rookie team (1992)
• Career earnings: $30 million
No. 12 Greg Anthony, G, New York Knicks
Drafted after Terrell Brandon (Oregon) and before Dale Davis (Clemson)
• 11 seasons: Also played for the Vancouver Grizzlies, Seattle SuperSonics, Portland Trailblazers, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks
• Career numbers: 757 games (227 starts); 5,497 points; 40.3 fg%; 34.9 3fg%; 1,417 rebounds; 2,997 assists; 887 steals
• Career earnings: $18.6 million
No. 29 George Ackles, F, Miami Heat
Drafted after Kevin Lynch (Minnesota) and before Rodney Monroe (NC State)
• Taken with the second pick in the second round, Ackles went to the Heat’s training camp but didn’t make the team and never played in the NBA. He spent some time playing overseas and also appeared in games for the Las Vegas Bandits of the International Basketball League. Here’s a 1991 story from the Sun-Sentinel following the draft.
1992— No. 25 Elmore Spencer, C, Los Angeles Clippers
Drafted after Latrell Sprewell (Alabama) and before Dave Johnson (Syracuse)
• Five seasons: Also played for the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trailblazers and Seattle SuperSonics
• Career numbers: 157 games (75 starts); 923 points; 51.6 fg%; 555 rebounds; 109 assists; 53 steals; 170 blocks
• Career earnings: $3.8 million
1993— No. 5 JR Rider, G, Minnesota Timberwolves
Drafted after Jamal Mashburn (Kentucky) and before Calbert Cheaney (Indiana)
• Nine seasons: Also played for the Portland Trailblazers, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets
• Career numbers: 563 games (424 starts); 9,405 points; 44.3 fg%; 2,166 rebounds; 1,535 assists; 367 steals; 136 blocks
• Honors: All-Rookie team (1994)
• Career earnings: $26.4 million
1998 — No. 13 Keon Clark, F, Orlando Magic*
Drafted after Michael Doleac (Utah) and before Michael Dickerson (Arizona)
• Six seasons: Played for the Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz
• Career numbers: 353 games (65 starts); 2,882 points; 50 fg%; 2,096 rebounds; 322 assists; 184 steals; 571 blocks
• Career earnings: $15.2 million
*Though he was drafted by the Magic, Clark was traded in January of the 1998-99 season and didn’t make his NBA debut until Feb. 5, 1999, with the Nuggets.
1999 — No. 9 Shawn Marion, F, Phoenix Suns
Drafted after Andre Miller (Utah) and before Jason Terry (Arizona)
• 14 seasons: Also played for the Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors and Dallas Mavericks
• Career numbers: 1,030 games (962 starts); 16,633 points; 48.5 fg%; 9,402 rebounds; 2,023 assists; 1,642 steals; 1,169 blocks
• Honors: Two-time All-NBA third team (2005, 06), four-time All-Star (2003, 05-07), All-Rookie second team (2000)
• Career earnings: $124.2 million
2003— No. 13 Marcus Banks, G, Memphis Grizzlies*
Drafted after Nick Collison (Kansas) and before Luke Ridnour (Oregon)
• Eight seasons: Played for the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors
• Career numbers: 348 games (37 starts); 2,061 points; 43.2 fg%; 32.7 3fg%; 519 rebounds; 728 assists; 266 steals; 57 blocks
• Career earnings: $26.1 million
*Banks was part of a draft-night trade that sent he and Kendrick Perkins to the Celtics for Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones.