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Arizona Wildcats basketball has been supplying the NBA with talent since the merger between the league and the ABA occurred in 1967.
Indeed, pre-merger, going back to 1948 when Morris Udall and Lincoln Richmond made the transition from college basketball to the professional ranks, to Arizona’s most recent contributions to the NBA in 2015 of Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Wildcat alumni joining the world class talent pool of professional basketball in the United States has become almost a foregone conclusion.
Pregame hype videos boast of Arizona’s 69 NBA Draft picks. Seemingly, it’s almost an assured fact that starting at least two years for the Arizona Wildcats will at least get a player’s foot in the door in professional basketball either in the NBA, the NBA’s developmental league or a contract to play overseas. Play well enough at Arizona to start, you will play professionally.
For this year’s class, Thursday’s NBA Draft might be one of the anomalies. For the second time in four years, Arizona will, in all likelihood, not have a player hear his name announced by commissioner Adam Silver to join one of 30 teams looking to address their needs on an NBA roster. For Kaleb Tarczewski, Gabe York, Ryan Anderson and Mark Tollefson, it seems as if the long road to realizing a dream might have to be taken.
Tarczewski is Arizona’s most prolific center since Loren Woods or Michael Wright. York added his name to Arizona’s three-point shooting history along with Salim Stoudamire, Steve Kerr and others. But they have not made mock draft boards.
All four players have worked out for multiple NBA teams all over the country since Arizona lost in the first round of March Madness to Wichita State. Only Tarczewski and Anderson managed to crack two top 100 lists. DraftExpress.com and CBSSports.com ranked Zeus No. 99 and No. 90 respectively and Anderson made the CBSSports.com list at No. 118.
YEARS WITH NO NBA DRAFT PICKS SINCE LUTE OLSON’S HIRE IN 1983
Only eight times thus far in 31 years.
Jose Roman Jr. was born a Wildcat fan. Lifetime fanhood was solidified when he was able to meet Tedy Bruschi, Sean Harris, Brandon Sanders, Chuck Levy and Ontiwaun Carter as a sixth grader. Having served 10 years in the armed forces and been deployed all over the world, he’s still managed to make it to every Arizona home football game, bowl game and at least one away game for the last 12 years. Now combining his love of writing with his love of all things sports, Jose is proud and honored to be with AllSportsTucson.com as a writer.