2013 NBA Draft features seven Pac-12 alumni

David Stern’s final draft as NBA commissioner was spattered with Pac-12 talent. Seven players were selected from the Conference of Champions: three first-rounders and four second-rounders. And while the Pac picking didn’t get going until the middle of the first round, it became very clear that NBA GMs, league-wide, were finding terrific talent from out West.

Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA: 14th by Utah (traded to Minnesota)

Muhammad wasn’t available to take the stage when Stern called his name. Late arriving, I suppose he came to understand the importance of the commissioner’s 30th and final draft:

But also doing some recognition in this situation are the Minnesota Timberwolves who traded for the rights to the former UCLA Bruin. What they know is that Muhammad is a physical player who can shoot and score in a variety of ways. Sure, some of the brightness of his draft prospects has dimmed since his controversial arrival in Westwood; but there is no changing the fact that Muhammad was among the most outstanding players (18 ppg, 5 rpg) in a conference yielding seven draft picks and five NCAA tournament teams.

[Related: Shabazz Muhammad makes a unique entrance at the 2013 NBA Draft]

Solomon Hill, Arizona: 23rd by Indiana

Though projected to be drafted among the latter selections, Solomon Hill indeed wound up a first-rounder. The 6’7” 220-pound Wildcat senior has played a multitude of roles for the Wildcats and showed gross improvements since arriving in Tucson as an overweight freshman in 2009. Thursday night, he proudly listened to his name get called as one of the most coveted amateur talents in the world. And it will be the Indiana Pacers soon benefiting from Hill’s learned and skilled versatility. The Los Angeles native is Sean Miller’s first four-year draft pick and would seem to embody the concept of a Player’s Program, as Miller calls it. I mean, just check who he ran into soon earlier in the day:

André Roberson, Colorado: 26th by Minnesota (traded to Golden State, traded to Oklahoma City)

Perhaps the most surprising of the Pac-12’s first-round picks – and by perhaps I mean absolutely – this rebounding machine found himself left off numerous draft boards. Thursday night he nabbed a guaranteed NBA contract and a spot on one of the best rosters in the NBA (Hello, KD35!). While the 6’7” forward won’t soon wow you with offensive aptitude, he’s a wildly versatile defender that should fit in nicely among the very established scoring core of the Thunder (Hello, KD35!). Roberson is just Colorado’s 13th first-rounder, but the second in the last three drafts. A sure sign of a program on the rise.

[Related: Colorado alum André Roberson talks Pac-12 records on Statisfaction]

Allen Crabbe, California: 31st by Cleveland (traded to Portland)

Many expected the Pac-12’s reigning Player of the Year to be the second pick among the conference’s alumni. He instead wound up in the second round. Nevertheless, the Blazers have secured an NBA-sized shooter capable of opening the floor up for the slashing Damian Lillard and big LaMarcus Aldridge. And as POYs do, he leaves Berkeley with a significant hole to fill. It would seem, however, that Mike Montgomery and crew have their man in McDonald’s All-American and incoming local byproduct Jabari Bird. While Allen Crabbe leaves a healthy Bears program for the bright lights of the NBA, and no matter the perceived disappointment, it’s all just getting started:

 

Carrick Felix, Arizona State: 32nd by Cleveland

As a Sun Devil junior, Carrick Felix was putting up 10 points and four rebounds per game, and was considered a moderate bust. After all, he was the first-ever junior college player to be offered a scholarship by the great Coach K (yes, that’s me taking the easy way out of having to spell his name). But then something changed. Perhaps it was effort or work or things just clicking or the arrival of super-freshman Jahii Carson? Whatever the case, Felix put down a senior season for the ages. One in which he upped his scoring average by 40 percent and his rebounding average by 100 percent. He was a terror in all facets of the game and someone in Cleveland recognized what we all saw during his 2012-13 campaign: Carrick Felix can hoop.

Grant Jerrett, Arizona: 40th by Portland (traded to Oklahoma City)

He scored less than 200 points as a Wildcat in a shade over 600 minutes. By comparison, his former teammate and fellow draftee, Solomon Hill, scored 1,430 points in 4,030 minutes. Yes, many questioned Jerrett’s decision to leave Tucson for the NBA, but his name was indeed announced by Adam Silver, and Jerrett has earned himself a little more time to prove his merits as an NBA talent. He’s not guaranteed a contract but he does have the prospects – hence why he was drafted, we must presume – to be a contributing NBA player.

A value and discount pick or an immature and unready toss in the bucket? Time will tell. But for now, Jerrett’s choice to leave early seems validated.

[Related: Drop DirecTV - get Pac-12 Networks]

Arsalan Kazemi, Oregon: 54th by Washington (traded to Philadelphia)

The last Pac-12 player to be selected in the 2013 NBA draft is the first Iranian-born player ever to be drafted. That’s pretty cool. It’s also pretty cool that the Sixers have acquired one terrific ballplayer. He was Pac-12 All-Defense and only missed out on Defensive Player of the Year to the great André Roberson. That’s a whole lot of defense between two rebounding machines. He came to Oregon as a nearly tardy transfer from Rice and in his one season made his presence felt: the Ducks were conference (tournament) champions. Of course the Sixers hope to leverage his energy and skills as a defender into some additional wins. They’ll also hope to teach him a jump shot: He shot just 16 percent on two-point jumpers this past season.

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