July 15, 2024

Greatest NBA Careers from Kansas State Basketball

Kansas State basketball has been a notable contributor to the NBA, sending 29 players to the pros. With a rich history including one National Championship, four Final Fours, 14 Elite Eights, 18 Sweet Sixteens, and 24 total NCAA Tournament appearances, Kansas State’s basketball program has produced several outstanding NBA careers.

The journey began in 1949 with Howie Shannon, and since then, many Wildcats have made their mark in professional basketball. Evaluating the careers of former Wildcats who have retired from the NBA, here are some of the standout players:

Greatest NBA careers in Kansas State basketball history

Willie Murrell: Though his ABA career lasted only three seasons, Murrell had a notable stint. At Kansas State, he averaged 20.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Drafted in the fourth round of the 1964 NBA Draft by the St. Louis Hawks, Murrell averaged 13.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assist per game in the ABA.

Michael Beasley: One of Kansas State’s most talented players, Beasley played just one season at Kansas State, averaging 26.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. Drafted second overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, Beasley had a 10-year NBA career across seven teams, averaging 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game.

Bob Boozer: Boozer attended Kansas State in the late 1950s, averaging 21.9 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He was the first overall pick in the 1959 NBA Draft by the Cincinnati Royals and averaged 14.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game in a 10-year career across six teams, predominantly with the Cincinnati Royals.

Rolando Blackman: Playing at Kansas State in the late 1970s, Blackman averaged 15.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. Drafted ninth overall in the 1981 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks, Blackman had an illustrious NBA career, averaging 18.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. He was a four-time All-Star, primarily playing for the Mavericks and later for the New York Knicks.

Mitch Richmond: The only Kansas State player inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame, Richmond had a distinguished 13-year NBA career. At Kansas State, he averaged 20.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Drafted fifth overall in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, Richmond averaged 21.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. His career included stints with the Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards, and Los Angeles Lakers.

These players represent the pinnacle of Kansas State’s contributions to the NBA, showcasing the program’s ability to develop talent that succeeds at the highest level of professional basketball.

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