Year of selection Player name Position Since 1947, this is the first NBA club. Washington Capitols, 1948, Jack Tingle F. Joe Holland was a member of the Baltimore Bullets in 1948. Washington Capitols, Jack Parkinson G., 1948 G Ken Rollins of the Fort Wayne Pistons had been drafted earlier in 1948, but he died in a car accident before playing in an NBA game.
The first player from Kentucky to be drafted into the NBA was Joe "Sporty" Kent on January 15, 1947. He played three seasons for the Washington Capitols and averaged 5.3 points per game.
Kent was followed by two more Wildcats in the draft's subsequent years: Jerry "Goose" Vines in 1948 and Cliff "Yahmurex" Williams in 1949. All three players were members of the Washington Capitols during their rookie seasons.
Vines was the first player from any University of Kentucky team to be selected when the Minneapolis Lakers chose him with the 14th pick in the 1948 BAA Draft. He played only one season in the NBA and averaged 7.1 points per game.
Williams was the last player drafted by an NBA team from Kentucky until Dereck Whittenburg was picked by the New York Knicks in the 2009 NBA Draft. Like Vines, he also played only one season in the NBA and averaged 3.6 points per game.
On April 25, 1950, he was selected by the Washington Capitols in the second round (17th overall) of the 1950 NBA Draft. The Fort Wayne Pistons selected him in the dispersal draft from the Washington Capitols on January 9, 1951. The Fort Wayne Pistons traded him to the Boston Celtics for Chuck Share on April 26, 1951. Sharman played one season with the Celtics before being waived on November 23, 1952.
He was then signed by the Indianapolis Olympians as a free agent on December 16, 1952. He stayed with the team until February 8, 1953, when he was traded to the Chicago Stags in exchange for Bob Wilson. He finished his NBA career with the Stags that season. After leaving the NBA, he played one more season in Italy and then retired from basketball.
During his NBA career, Sharman averaged 4.7 points per game. He played in 80 games during the 1951-1952 season, averaging 4.9 points per game. His best season came in 1952-1953 when he scored 6.1 points per game in only 20 minutes per game. He played alongside stars such as Red Auerstädt, Harry "Fats" Richter, and George Mikan who were known for their fame and popularity among fans and players alike. However, despite the presence of these players, the Indianapolis Olympians failed to make the playoffs that season.
Since the 1986-1987 season, Jim Sukup of Collegiate Basketball News has been documenting the origins of players on NBA opening-day rosters.
On the present list, there are four types of players: 1 NBA players who attended Division I colleges; 2 NBA players who attended non-Division I universities, including junior colleges; 3 NBA players who moved directly from high school to the NBA without completing college; and 4 overseas players who had no college experience in the United States.
Here's a look at some former junior college basketball players who have gone on to play in the NBA. We'll start with those who became NBA All-Stars and then extend to include all former JUCO players who played in the NBA.
Former Kentucky Basketball Players Are Currently Playing in the NBA
Overall, Jackie Robinson
|Jackie Robinson †||Brooklyn Dodgers||April 15, 1947|
|Larry Doby †||Cleveland Indians||July 5, 1947|
|Hank Thompson||St. Louis Browns||July 17, 1947|
|Willard Brown †||St. Louis Browns||July 19, 1947|
The Detroit Pistons selected him with the 26th selection in the 1996 NBA Draft out of Georgetown University (the pick originally belonged to the San Antonio Spurs and went to the Pistons in the Dennis Rodman trade). He was a vital reserve for the Pistons throughout his four-plus years with the team. In 1999-2000, he not only started but also led the team in assists while playing over 30 minutes a game.
Jerome attended Georgetown University from 1994 to 1998. With the Hoyas, he played in 111 games and averaged 5.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 10.3 minutes per game. As a freshman, he started all 33 games for the Hoyas. Under head coach John Thompson III, who is now the men's basketball program director at Georgetown, Jerome earned first-team All-Big East honors as a sophomore and junior. He was also named to the Big East All-Defensive Team each year he played.
As a professional basketball player, Jerome has had a long career in the NBA after being picked by the Detroit Pistons in the 1996 NBA Draft. He has played for the Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, among others. Currently, he plays for the Brooklyn Nets as a backup point guard.
In 474 total games over the course of 4 seasons, Jerome has averaged 3.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 9.1 minutes per game.