With the NBA Draft pushed back this year, among all the other changes, it gave me time to go back and get data on every player selected from a current SEC school. The first draft under the NBA was back in 1950, and that’s where this series starts. I am going to go over each of the decades leading up to today as well as a final article summarizing the draft history of all fourteen SEC basketball programs.
Make sure to check out other posts in this series:
This series is mostly to publish all of the data that I have gathered so far, but I plan to add to it and add other interesting posts on specific aspects in the future.
The early NBA Drafts had some odd formats and the rounds were either dependent on the few teams in the league at the time or arbitrary with some rounds consisting of just one or two picks. Because of that, for each of these drafts, I’m only indicating which pick each player was selected because I believe that is something that can consistently be compared for future drafts.
The total number of selections in each draft also differs, so I will indicate how many are in each year below or any other oddities that I noticed with the draft overall.
1970 NBA Draft
The 1970 NBA Draft had 239 total selections, which is the most selections in a single draft of all time.
There were ten total players drafted from the current SEC schools with the highest being LSU’s Pete Maravich who was drafted third overall by the Atlanta Hawks.
LSU then had Dan Hester drafted by the Atlanta Hawks as well, which gave them two draft picks in the 1970 NBA Draft along with Kentucky and Georgia.
1971 NBA Draft
The 1971 NBA Draft was another long one with 237 total selections.
In total, 13 players were drafted out of current SEC schools with Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and LSU all having two or more draft picks each.
John Mengelt from Auburn was the first SEC player taken when the Cincinnati Royals (now Sacramento Kings) drafted him 21st overall.
1972 NBA Draft
The 1972 NBA Draft dropped back down below 200 selections with only 198 picks throughout the entire draft.
After 13 players being taken the year before, current SEC teams only saw seven guys get selected in the 1972 NBA Draft.
South Carolina did add another top-10 pick for the SEC when Tom Riker was selected by the New York Knicks with the eighth overall pick.
The rest of the draft was pretty thin for the SEC with the six other picks all falling outside of the top-50.
1973 NBA Draft
The 1973 NBA Draft had 211 total selections and the early rounds have stuck to the increased amount of picks per round at 17 or more.
The current SEC schools saw 15 total players drafted with ten different schools having at least one player drafted.
Missouri landed another top-10 pick when John Brown was selected 10th overall by the Atlanta Hawks.
This draft also set a new record at the time for the most players drafted from current SEC schools.
1974 NBA Draft
The 1974 NBA Draft had 178 total selections with legendary college player, pro player, and college broadcaster Bill Walton going number one overall to the Portland Trail Blazers.
There were 13 players drafted from current SEC schools with four of them being taken in the top-25.
Missouri had three different players taken in the 1974 NBA Draft, with Al Eberhard being the highest selection when he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the 15th overall pick.
1975 NBA Draft
The 1975 NBA Draft had 174 total selections with the first eight rounds all having 18 picks each.
Nine total players were drafted from current SEC schools with Kentucky making up four of those draftees.
South Carolina once again had the first player selected amongst the SEC schools with Tom Boswell going 17th overall to the Boston Celtics.
1976 NBA Draft
The 1976 NBA Draft had 173 total selections with the first four rounds decreasing slightly to a consistent 17 picks per round.
There were 11 players drafted from current SEC schools in the 1976 NBA Draft with eight different schools having a player selected.
Alabama led the way, and landed another top-5 pick when Leon Douglas was taken with the fourth overall pick by the Detroit Pistons.
There were five total players taken in the top-30 of the draft with Butch Feher from Vanderbilt landing just outside that mark at 33.
1977 NBA Draft
THe 1977 NBA Draft had 170 total selections with the first five rounds expanding to each have 22 picks.
The current SEC schools had 14 different players selected with nine teams having at least one player drafted.
Tennessee had the best representation and the first two picks from the SEC when Bernard King was drafted seventh overall by the New Jersey Nets and Ernie Grunfeld was taken 11th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.
1978 NBA Draft
The 1978 NBA Draft had 202 total selections with the first five rounds once again having 22 picks in each round.
With 15 players drafted from current SEC schools, the 1978 draft once again tied the record for most players drafted from current SEC schools in a single draft.
Kentucky had four different players drafted, led by Rick Robey going third overall to the Indiana Pacers, with all four of them being selected in the top-50 picks.
Arkansas added another top-10 pick for the SEC when the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Ron Brewer seventh overall.
1979 NBA Draft
The 1979 NBA Draft once again had 202 total selections but only the first four rounds having all 22 picks in each round.
Hall of Famer Magic Johnson was taken number one overall by the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 1979 NBA Draft saw 16 players drafted from current SEC schools which established a new record for most picks from current SEC schools in one draft.
Arkansas improved on their seventh overall pick with another top-10 pick in this draft when Sidney Moncrief went fifth overall to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Ten different current SEC schools had at least one player taken in this draft with Arkansas, Mississippi State, Kentucky, South Carolina, and LSU all having two or more picks.
Throughout the 1970s, there were 123 players drafted from current SEC schools out of 1,984 total selections (6.200%)
Kentucky had 19 players selected in the decade and then Missouri and South Carolina each had 14 players drafted.
There were four total top-5 picks with each selection coming from a different SEC school.
Arkansas had the most top-10 picks with two and Alabama, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, South Carolina, and Tennessee each had one to give the current SEC schools a total of eight players taken in the top-10 throughout the 1970s NBA Drafts.