There is nothing that most BYU and Utah fans like more than to brag about who has produced better players and who has had the most success in the professional ranks. It’s not just Utes and Cougars who love this argument either. Utah State and Weber State fans love to join the conversation too, when they have players to brag about. With the success that Damian Lillard has had in his first two seasons in the NBA, Wildcats have been front and center in these debates, and feeling good about where they stand.
Of Utah’s six major schools, the Utes have had the most NBA and ABA players with 27, followed by BYU (21), Utah State (nine), Weber State (Nine) and Utah Valley (one) while Southern Utah hasn’t had any according to basketball-reference.com
Here is the list that shows who has the ultimate bragging rights when it comes to the best NBA players ever produced out of Utah’s division one schools.
John Fairchild, BYU: Fairchild was with the eighth pick of the second round (16th overall) by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1965 draft. Fairchild played 165 games over four seasons with the Lakers, Anaheim Amigos, Denver Rockets, Indiana Pacers and Kentucky Colonels. His best season came as a member of the Amigos in 1967-68 when Fairchild averaged 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and one assist in 62 games.
For his career, Fairchild averaged 6.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 assists a game.
Steve Kramer, BYU: Kramer made the ABA after going undrafted. He played 124 games over three seasons for the Anaheim Amigos, Houston Mavericks and the Carolina Cougars. His most impressive statistical season came with the Mavericks in 1968-69, when Kramer averaged 14 points, 4.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds over 23 contests.
For his career, Kramer averaged 8.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists.
Willard Sojourner, Weber State: Sojourner was taken with the third pick of the second round (20th overall) by the Chicago Bulls in the 1971 NBA draft. He played for seasons in the ABA for the Virginia Squires and the New York Nets. His most productive season came with the Squires in ’72-73 when he averaged 7.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 64 games.
For his career, Sojourner averaged six points and 4.8 rebounds in 309 games.
Greg Kite, BYU: Kite was taken with the 21st overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 1983 draft. He played 680 games over 11 seasons for the Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. The best statistical season of his career came in 1990-91 when Kite started all 82 games and averaged 4.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and a block a game.
For his career, Kite averaged 2.5 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Jeff Judkins, Utah: Judkins was selected with the eighth pick in the second round (30th overall) by the Boston Celtics in the 1978 draft. Judkins appeared in 272 games over five seasons with the Celtics, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers. His most productive season came as a rookie with the Celtics in 1978-79 when Judkins averaged 8.8 points a game on 50.3 percent shooting to go along with 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists ans one steal.
For his career, Judkins averaged 5.4 points, 1.6 rebounds and one assist a contest.
Arnie Ferrin, Utah: Ferrin was selected by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1948 BAA draft. Ferrin appeared in 178 games over three seasons and was a part of two championship teams. His best statistical season came in 1948-49 when Ferrin averaged 7.3 points and 1.6 assists over 47 games.
For his career, Ferrin averaged 5.8 points, four rebounds and 1.6 assists.
Shaler Halimon, Utah State: Halimon was taken with the 14th overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1968 draft. Halimon played five seasons in the NBA and ABA for the 76ers, Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks and the Dallas Chaparrals. His most productive season came in ’70-71 when he averaged 8.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 81 games with Portland and Chicago.
For his career, Halimon averaged 6.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 254 games.
Jeffrey Congdon, BYU: Congdon was selected with the second pick of the fourth round (32nd overall) by the Detroit Pistons in the 1966 draft. Congdon never played for the Pistons but did play 306 games over five seasons in the ABA for the Denver Rockets, Anaheim Amigos, Utah Stars, New York Nets and Dallas Chaparrals. His best season came in 1969-70 when as a member of the Rockets, Congdon averaged 9.8 points, 5.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds.
For his career, Congdon averaged 6.5 points, two rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Brady Walker, BYU: Walker was selected by the Providence Steam Rollers in the 1948 BAA draft. He played 228 games over four seasons with the Steam Rollers, Boston Celtics and the Baltimore Bullets. His best scoring season came In 1948-49 as a member of the Steam Rollers when Walker averaged 8.3 points a night in 59 contests.
For his career, Walker averaged seven points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists.