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June 28, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
The number of players from MU’s 2011-12 team who are eligible for the NBA draft. Marcus Denmon, Kim English and Ricardo Ratliffe will all be waiting to hear their name called. MU hasn’t had more than one player selected in a single draft since 1990.
The number of pre-draft projections that have an MU player going in the first round. First-round picks get guaranteed contracts in the NBA. Players selected in the second round don’t have that luxury; they’ll have to earn their roster spots and their salaries — even after the draft.
The number of MU All-Americans in the NBA era who have gone undrafted. Melvin Booker, the 1994 Big 8 Player of the Year, is the sole exception out of MU’s 12 All-Americans since 1946. Marcus Denmon earned All-American status following the 2012 season. Most projections have him going late in the second round.
The number of MU players who weren’t drafted but still played in the NBA. Going undrafted doesn’t necessarily mean a professional basketball career is off the table. Booker, Jerry Fowler, Thomas Gardner, Derek Grimm and Med Park found a way onto an NBA roster without hearing their names called on draft night. Of those five, Park played the longest; he participated in 313 games over five seasons for the St. Louis Hawks and Cincinnati Royals. Dozens of others have had successful careers overseas.
The number even the lowest paid full-time NBA players will see on their W2. Although it’s not quite the payday projected top pick Anthony Davis can expect, if any MU player is selected tonight, he should be able to afford an elaborate celebration party. Conversely, the highest-paid player in the 2012 season was Kobe Bryant, who made more than $25 million.
The number of years before an NBA player qualifies for the league pension plan. NBA alumni who are at least 62 years old and have at least three years of service to the league are eligible for a minimum of $57,000 per year in retirement benefits. Many second-round picks never make it to the valuable three-year mark, though; only 13 players drafted in the second round in 2009 have played in each of the three seasons since.
The number of former MU players to finish their NBA careers with a double-digit scoring average. Larry Drew, arguably MU’s most successful pro, had his scoring peak in the 1983 NBA season when he averaged more than 20 points per game. Steve Stipanovich, MU’s other double-digit NBA-scorer, played five seasons before injuries forced him to retire.
The number of former MU players who have played in an NBA All-Star game. Jon Sundvold did participate in the three-point contest during All-Star Weekend twice, however. If either English or Denmon make it in the NBA, MU fans might see a second Tiger raining threes.
The number of former MU players currently on an NBA roster. They played for three different head coaches at MU: Keyon Dooling with both Norm Stewart and Quin Snyder, Linas Kleiza with Snyder and DeMarre Carroll with Mike Anderson. If a fourth MU player joins that list tonight, he will be the only Frank Haith-coached player currently in the NBA.
The number, in millions of dollars, that Dooling has accumulated in NBA contracts. He’s had the most lucrative NBA career of any former MU player. He earned more than $2 million this past season with the Boston Celtics and is a free agent this summer.
Read more about Marcus Denmon, Kim English and Ricardo Ratliffe's pre-draft journey over at the Missourian.
And hear editor Jesse Bishop's personal essay on the NBA draft over on VoxTalk.