Cal Basketball: How Have Pac-12 Players of the Year Done in the NBA?

Kevin Lover and James Harden were both conference players of the yearPhoto by Troy Taromina - USA TODAY Sports

Washington's Jaylen Nowell follows Kidd, Payton, Harden and others. Some have been great in the pros; some not so much

This past season Washington’s Jaylen Nowell became the 43rd player to be named Pac-8/Pac-10/Pac-12 player of the year since the honor was first awarded in 1976, and most of those players have gone on to successful NBA careers.

However, some didn’t fare so well (Hello, Wayne Carlander).

We take a look at the previous 42 conference players of the year to see how they did in the pros, which may provide a hint as to how Nowell will do after he was drafted in the second round by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Photo by Darren Yamashita - USA TODAY Sports

You will note that Cal has had seven conference players of the year, and only Arizona, with nine, has had more. It should be noted, however, that UCLA’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, perhaps the two greatest college players in history, played before a conference player of the year was awarded. You will also note that some very good NBA players from the conference (Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan, Klay Thompson, for example) were not conference players of the year.

Trivia question: Which Pac-8/Pac-10/Pac-12 player of the year has the most NBA championship rings? (Answer at the bottom of the story)

We placed the conference players of the year into categories based on their NBA success. Players are listed by name, the college they attended, the year they were named conference player of the year, and the round they were drafted. This is followed by a short description of their pro careers.

We start with Hall of Fame Players and go down to players who did little or nothing in the NBA.

HALL OF FAMERS

Gary Payton, 1990, Oregon State, drafted first round (2nd overall) by Seattle.

17 NBA seasons. Hall of Fame, one NBA title, two Olympic gold medals, 9-time all-star, 9-time first-team all-defensive team, third in 1997-98 MVP voting. Career averages: 16.3 points, 6.7 assists. Also: 4th all-time with 2,445 career steals. Best season (Seattle, 1999-00): 24.2 points, 8.9 assists.

Photo by Raj Mehta - USA TODAY Sports

Jason Kidd, 1994, Cal, drafted first round (2nd overall) by Dallas.

19 NBA seasons. Hall of Fame, one NBA title, two Olympic gold medals, 10-time all-star, second in 2002 MVP voting, five-time first-team all-NBA, one-time first team all-defensive team. Career averages: 12.6 points, 8.7 assists. Also: 2nd all-time with 2,684 career steals and 4th with 107 triple-doubles. Best season (Phoenix, 1998-99): 16.9 points, 10.8 assists, seven triple-doubles (rest of the league combined for 11 triple-doubles that season).

Jason KiddPhoto by Brad Mills - USA TODAY Sports

James Harden, 2009, Arizona State, drafted first round (3rd overall) by Oklahoma City.

10 NBA seasons (still active). 2018 NBA MVP, one Olympic gold medal, seven-time all-star, five-time first-team all-NBA, sure-fire Hall of Famer. Career averages: 23.7 points, 6.2 assists. Best season (Houston, 2018-19): 36.1 points, 7.5 assists, 6.6 rebounds, seven triple-doubles.

James HardenPhoto by Thomas B. Shea - USA TODAY Sports

NBA STARS

Marques Johnson, UCLA, 1977, drafted first round (3rd overall) by Milwaukee.

11 NBA seasons. Five-time all-star, one-time all-NBA first team. Career averages: 201. Points, 7.0 rebounds. Best season (Milwaukee, 1978-79): 25.6 points, 7.6 rebounds. (No, Johnson was not voted into the Hall of Fame.)

Kevin Love, 2008, UCLA, drafted first round (5th overall) by Memphis.

11 NBA seasons (still active). One NBA title, one Olympic gold medal, five-time all-star, two-time second-team all-NBA, sixth in 2012 MVP voting. Career averages: 18.3 points, 11.3 rebounds. Best season (Minnesota, 2011-12): 26.0 points, 13.3 rebounds. He played just 22 games for Cleveland in 2018-19 because of injuries.

Sean Elliott, 1988 and 1989, Arizona, drafted first round (3rd overall) by San Antonio.

12 NBA seasons. One NBA title, two-time all-star. Career averages: 14.2 points, 4.3 rebounds. Best season (San Antonio, 1995-96): 20.0 points, 5.1 rebounds.

Terrell Brandon, 1991, Oregon, drafted first round (11th overall) by Cleveland.

11 NBA seasons. Two-time all-star. Career averages: 1.3 points, 6.1 assists. Best season (Cleveland, 1996-97): 19.5 points, 6.3 assists.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim, 1996, Cal, drafted first round (3rd overall) by Vancouver.

13 NBA seasons. One Olympic gold medal, one-time all-star. Career averages: 18.1 points, 7.5 rebounds. Best season (Vancouver, 1998-99): 23.0 points, 7.5 rebounds.

Brandon Roy, 2006, Washington, drafted first round (6th overall) by Minnesota

Six NBA seasons. Three-time all-star. Second-team all-NBA in 2008-09. Career averages: 18.8 points, 4.7 assists. Best season (Portland, 2008-09): 22.6 points, 5.1 assists. He retired before the 2011-12 season because of a degenerative knee condition but returned to play five games in 2012-13. (Roy barely made this category because of his short career.)

POTENTIAL STAR

Deandre Ayton, 2018, Arizona, drafted first round (1st overall) by Phoenix.

One NBA season (still active). Career averages: 16.3 points, 10.3 rebounds. Best season (Phoenix, 2018-19, rookie): 16.3 points, 10.3 rebounds. Suns finished the season with a 19-63 record. The 2018 NBA Draft was the second year in a row a Pac-12 player was the No. 1 overall pick. Markell Fultz of Washington was the top pick in 2017. Before that a player from the conference had not been taken first overall since 1974, when Bill Walton was the first selection.

Deandre AytonPhoto by Russell Isabella - USA TODAY Sports

SOLID NBA CAREER

Steve Johnson, 1981, Oregon State, drafted first round (7th overall) by Kansas City

10 NBA seasons. One-time all-star. Career average: 11.7 points, 5.5 rebounds. Best season (Portland, 1986-87): 16.8 points, 7.2 rebounds.

A.C. Green, 1984, Oregon State, drafted first round (21st overall) by L.A. Lakers

16 NBA seasons. Three NBA titles, one-time all-star. Career averages: 9.6 points, 7.4 rebounds. Best season (Phoenix, 1993-94): 14.7 points, 9.2 rebounds.

Mike Bibby, 1998, Arizona, drafted first round (2nd overall) by Vancouver.

14 NBA seasons. Career averages: 14.7 points, 5.5 assists. Best season (Sacramento, 2005-06): 21.1 points, 5.4 assists.

Damon Stoudamire, 1995 tie, Arizona, drafted first round (7th overall) by Toronto

13 NBA seasons. Career averages: 13.4 points, 6.1 assists. Best season (Toronto, 1996-97): 20.2 points, 8.8 assists.

Jason Terry, 1999, Arizona, drafted first round (10th overall) by Atlanta.

19 NBA seasons. One NBA title, one-time sixth man of the year. Career statistics: 13.4 points, 3.8 assists. Best season: (Atlanta, 2000-01): 19.7 points, 4.9 assists.

Jason TerryPhoto by Jeff Hanisch - USA TODAY Sports

MADE A NICE LIVING IN THE NBA

David Greenwood, UCLA, 1978 and 1979, drafted first round (2nd overall) by Chicago

12 NBA seasons. One NBA title. Career averages: 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds. Best season (Chicago, 1979-80, rookie year): 16.3 points, 9.4 rebounds.

Lester Conner, 1982, Oregon State, drafted first round (14th overall) by Golden State

13 NBA seasons. Career averages: 6.3 points, 3.9 assists. Best season (New Jersey, 1988-89): 10.3 points, 7.4 assists.

Chris Mills, 1993, Arizona, drafted first round (22nd overall) by Cleveland

10 NBA seasons. Career averages: 11.2 points, 4.9 rebounds. Best season (Golden State, 1999-00): 16.1 points, 6.2 rebounds.

Luke Ridnour, 2003, Oregon, drafted first round (14th overall) by Seattle.

12 NBA seasons. Career statistics: 9.3 points, 4.5 assists. Best season (Minnesota, 2010-11): 11.8 points, 44.0 percent 3-point shooting.

Josh Childress, 2004, Stanford, drafted first round (6th overall) by Atlanta.

Eight NBA seasons. Career averages: 9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds. Best season (Atlanta 2006-07): 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds. Childress left to play in Greece for two seasons during his peak years before playing four more years in the NBA.

Arron Afflalo, 2007, UCLA, drafted first round (27th overall) by Detroit.

11 NBA seasons. Career averages: 10.8 points, 2.9 rebounds. Best season (Orlando, 2013-14): 18.2 points, 42.7 percent 3-point shooting. He is still a free agent and worked out for Philadelphia in December but was not signed.

Eddie House, 2000, Arizona State, drafted second round (37th overall) by Miami.

11 NBA seasons. One NBA title. Career statistics: 7.5 points, 1.6 assists. Best season (Boston, 2008-09): 8.5 points, 44.4 percent 3-point shooting.

Allen Crabbe, 2013, Cal, drafted second round (31st overall) by Cleveland.

Six NBA seasons (still active). He played his first four NBA seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers and the last two (2017-18 and 2018-19) with the Brooklyn Nets. He was limited to 43 games this season with a knee injury, and he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks following the 2018-19 season. Career averages: 9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds. Best season (Brooklyn, 2017-18): 13.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 68 starts.

Allen CrabbePhoto by James Ennis - USA TODAY Sports

DID NOT DO MUCH BUT HUNG AROUND IN THE NBA FOR A WHILE

Ron Lee, Oregon, 1976, drafted first round (10th overall) by Phoenix

Six NBA seasons. Career averages: 7.3 points, 3.8 assists. Best season (Phoenix, 1977-78): 12.2 points, 3.7 assists, 2.7 steals

Don Collins, 1980, Washington State, drafted first round (18th overall) by Atlanta

Six NBA seasons. Career averages: 9.8 points, 1.8 assists. Best season (Washington, 1982-83): 11.8 points, 3.2 rebounds

Kenny Fields, 1983, UCLA, drafted first round (21st overall) by Milwaukee

Four NBA seasons. Career averages: 6.2 points, 2.5 rebounds. Best season (1986-87, Milwaukee/L.A. Clippers): 8.2 points, 3.1 rebounds.

Derrick Williams, 2011, Arizona, drafted first round (2nd overall) by Minnesota.

Seven NBA seasons. Career averages: 8.9 points, 4.0 rebounds. Best season (Minnesota, 2012-13): 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds. Played two games for the Lakers in 2017-18, and played for Bayern Munich in Germany in 2018-19, averaging 10.3 points.

Derrick WilliamsPhoto by Greg M. Cooper - USA TODAY Sports

Jakob Poeltl, 2016, Utah, drafted first round (9th overall) by Toronto

Three NBA seasons (still active). Career averages: 5.4 points, 4.5 rebounds. Best season (Toronto, 2017-18): 6.9 points, 4.8 rebounds. Poeltl was acquired by San Antonio in the trade that sent DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard to Toronto. Poeltl could rise several categories if he reaches his potential. He averaged 5.5 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Spurs in 2018-19.

Dillon Brooks, 2017, Oregon, drafted second round (45th overall) by Houston

Two NBA seasons (still active). Career averages: 10.9 points, 2.9 rebounds. Best seasons (Memphis, 2017-18, rookie): 11.0 points, 3.1 rebounds. Brooks was limited to 18 games in 2018-19 because of injuries and suffered a toe injury in early January that ended his season. Injuries are holding Brooks back.

CUP OF COFFE IN THE NBA

Ike Diogu, 2005, Arizona State, drafted first round (9th overall) by Golden State.

Six NBA seasons. Career statistics: 6.0 points, 3.1 rebounds. Best season (Golden State, 2005-06 rookie season): 7.0 points, 3.3 rebounds. Diogu was signed by six NBA teams but played for only two. He has played in the NBA Developmental League as well as in Puerto Rico and China. In January 2018, Diogu signed to play for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association, and he is a member of the Nigerian National Team.

Christian Welp, 1986, Washington, drafted first round (16th overall) by Philadelphia

Three NBA seasons. Career averages: 3.3 points, 2.4 rebounds. Best season (Philadelphia, 1987-88): 4.8 points, 2.4 rebounds in 10 games that season. Welp injured his knee when he slipped on a wet court during his rookie season and was never the same.

Jose Ortiz, 1987, Oregon State, drafted first round (15th overall) by Utah

Two NBA seasons. Ortiz played in Spain before entering NBA. He was waived after 13 games in his second NBA season. Career averages: 2.9 points, 1.1 rebounds. Best season (Utah, 1989-90): 3.2 points, 1.2 rebounds in 13 games.

Harold Miner, 1992, USC, drafted first round (12th overall) by Miami

Four NBA seasons. Two-time slam dunk champion. Career averages: 9.0 points, 1.2 assists. Best season (Miami, 1993-94): 10.5 points, 1.5 assists. Known as “Baby Jordan,” his career was affected by knee injuries.

Ed O’Bannon, 1995 tie, UCLA, drafted first round (9th overall) by New Jersey

Two NBA seasons. Careers averages: 5.0 points, 2.5 rebounds. Best season (New Jersey, 1995-96 rookie): 6.2 points, 2.6 rebounds. Played overseas for seven years.

Ed Gray, 1997, Cal, drafted first round (22nd overall) by Atlanta.

Two NBA seasons. Career averages: 6.2 points, 0.8 assists. Best season (Atlanta, 1997-97): 7.6 points, 1.1 assists. He was traded to Portland after the 1998-99 season, then traded to Houston, but never played for either team. Injuries and suspensions affected his career. Later he played for the Gary Steelheads of the International Basketball League and the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Developmental League. He was on the roster of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Sean Lampley, 2001, Cal, drafted second round (45th overall) by Chicago.

Two NBA seasons. Career averages: 4.5 points, 2.1 rebounds. Best season (Miami, 2002-03): 4.8 assists, 2.4 rebounds. Lampley also played in Canada, Australia, the Philippines, Greece, Germany, Andalusia, Qatar and the NBA Developmental League.

Jorge Gutierrez, 2012, Cal, undrafted

Three NBA seasons, played no more than 20 games in any NBA season. Career averages: 2.9 points, 1.5 assists. Best season (Brooklyn, 2013-14): 4.1 points, 2.0 assists. In August 2018, Gutiérrez signed a one-year deal with Delteco GBC of the top professional division in Spain for the 2018-19 season, but the Basque club parted ways with Gutiérrez in January 2019. He previously played in Mexico and Turkey and the NBA Developmental League.

Photo by Joe Camporeale - USA TODAY Sports

Nick Johnson, 2014, Arizona, drafted second round (42nd overall) by Houston.

One NBA season (28 games). Career averages: 2.6 points, 0.4 assists. Best season (Houston, 2014-15): 2.6 points, 0.4 assists. Johnson played in Germany in 2016-17, and as played for two teams in the NBA G League in 2018-19. He started the 2018-19 season with the Austin Spurs and finished it with the Wisconsin Herd, averaging a combined 13.9 points per game.

Joseph Young, 2015, Oregon, drafted second round (43rd overall) by Indiana.

Three NBA seasons. Career averages: 3.4 points, 0.9 assists. Best season (Indiana, 2017-18): 3.9 points, 37.9 percent 3-point shooting. Young is played for the Nanjing Monkey King of the Chinese Basketball Association in 2018-19 and led the team in scoring, averaging better than 36 points per game.

NOT NBA MATERIAL

Sam Clancy, 2002, USC, drafted second round (45th overall) by Philadelphia.

Never played in the NBA after missing his entire rookie season with an injury. He has played for 21 different teams around the world and played the 2018-19 season with Atletico Central Cordoba in Argentina. He averaged 10.1 points for Atletico Central Cordoba, which completed its season earlier this month (June).

Jerome Randle, 2010, Cal, undrafted

Randle played two preseason games for the Dallas Mavericks in the contract-dispute-shortened 2011-12 season, but never played in a regular-season NBA game. Randle has played professionally in France, Lithuania, Israel, Belgium, Ukraine, Turkey and Australia. He has a Ukrainian passport and played for his adopted country at EuroBasket 2015.

Randle played in Australia for the Sydney Kings for much of the 2018-19 season. He averaged 17.9 points and 4.1 assists for the Kings this season, and took out the Club’s MVP honors in the 2017-18 season. He left that team in March after one and half seasons with the Kings.

Andrew Bogut played with Randle with the Kings before Bogut was signed by the Golden State Warriors.

Randle joined Lokomotiv Kuban in the Russian professional league in March 2019. In 10 games, Randle averaged 9.5 points for Lokomotiv, which was coached by Bob Donewald and plays in the VTB United League. Randle finished the season with Lokomotiv Kuban in May and is exploring his options for next season.

Click here for some Jerome Randle action against NBA competition.

Wayne Carlander, 1985, USC, drafted fifth round by L.A. Clippers

Carlander never made an NBA roster. As of January 2019, he was branch manager of a southern California mortgage lending company.

Answer to the trivia question: A.C. Green owns the most NBA championship rings, with three, all with the Lakers.

How do you think Jaylen Nowell will do in the NBA?

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