Although All-WCC big man Eric Mika didn’t hear his name called in the NBA draft on Thursday night, the BYU Cougars have still had plenty of success with players being picked since the draft started. In fact, 42 Cougars have been selected since the draft began in 1947.
Of those 42 players, 18 played at least one game in the NBA or ABA with varying levels of success. There have been players who have made All-Star game appearances and won championship rings while others didn’t live up to their lofty draft position.
This list is the best-of-the-best of those players, the ones who had the best careers in the best basketball league(s) in the world.
15. Devin Durrant
Durrant played two seasons in the league after he was the first pick of the second round by the Indiana Pacers in the 1984 draft. He best year came with the Pacers as a rookie when he averaged 5.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 59 games.
14. Paul Ruffner
Taken with the 11th pick of the second round (28th overall) by the Chicago Bulls in the 1970 draft, Ruffner played for four teams in five seasons. His best season came with the ABA’s Pittsburgh Conders in ’71-72 when he averaged 5.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 79 games.
13. Michael Smith
Smith’s could never reach the lofty expectations that accompanied him as the No. 13 overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 1989 draft. He played just three seasons in the league where he averaged 5.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in 141 games.
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