Countdown: Top 5 NBA players drafted from Kansas State University

kansas state basketball

As we continue looking at some of the best NBA players to come from our local schools, we now look at the best to come from the Little Apple. While Kansas State hasn’t had a continuously consistent basketball program, they still have found success, making 29 NCAA Tournaments, 4 Final Fours, and have been named 44th on the Associated Press’s All-Time Poll. Through the years the Wildcats have had some talented players that had great NBA careers, including a hall-of-famer. And as we get closer to the NBA Draft, we look at the best NBA players from Kansas State, based on their NBA success.

Honorable mention: Lew Hitch, Bill Walker, Ed Nealy

Kansas State Basketball to NBA #5: Mike Evans

Played for K-State 1974-78, 21st overall pick in 1979, Played in NBA 1979-88

Second on the list of K-State’s all-time scorers, Mike Evans was able to translate his game to the NBA pretty well, spending nine years in the pros. Although he spent his first three seasons with three different teams, Evans found a good landing spot in Denver, where he finished out his career. Evans averaged the most points in a season of his career as a Nugget, averaging 10.1 points in both the 1984-85 and 1986-87 seasons. Evans also made a name as a good three-point shooter, shooting 36% or better in three seasons of his career. By the end of his career, Evans finished his career averaging 7.7 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. Being able to continue his scoring ability from college and putting in six good years with the Nuggets, Evans stands out as one of the best NBA players from Kansas State.

Kansas State Basketball to NBA #4: Michael Beasley

Played for K-State 2007-08, 2nd overall pick in 2008, Played in NBA 2008-Current

Michael Beasley hasn’t really lived up to expectations some had for him being selected second overall and winning the 2008 Big 12 Player of the Year, but he continued to have a good scoring presence in the NBA. Beasley has bounced around the NBA in his nine years, playing for five different teams and having two stints with the Miami Heat. He started off his career with a bang, being named NBA All-Rookie First Team by averaging 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Beasley continued that momentum through the next two years, where he averaged the most points (19.6), rebounds (6.4) and assists (2.2) per game in a season in his entire career. The former Wildcat star has lost a step from those years, partly due to playing in China professionally two separate times and playing for so many different NBA teams. However, Beasley still continues to be a consistent scorer, having three other seasons where he averaged over 10 points per game. Even though he’s slowed down a bit, Beasley’s track record has shown he’s one of the best to be drafted from K-State.

Kansas State Basketball to NBA #3: Bob Boozer

Played for K-State 1956-59, 1st overall pick in 1959, Played in NBA 1960-71

One of two Wildcats to be drafted first overall, Bob Boozer went on to have a successful 11 years in the NBA. Although he sat out the first year of his career to play in the 1960 Summer Olympics, Boozer went on to have a strong presence in the post his whole career. Through his 11 seasons, Boozer played for six different teams, but that didn’t stop him from putting up some great numbers. There were only two seasons Boozer didn’t average more than 10 points per game, plus he also had two seasons where he averaged over 20 points per game. On top of that, he had five seasons where he averaged at least eight rebounds per game. His statistical success didn’t go unnoticed, as Boozer did get selected as an All-Star in 1968. Boozer also got to go out as many players wish to, as he won an NBA Championship with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971 and retired soon after. Through his basketball career, Boozer proved to not only be one of the best Wildcat players of all-time, but one of the best NBA talents to come from Manhattan.

Kansas State Basketball to NBA #2: Rolando Blackman

Played for K-State 1977-81, 9th overall pick in 1981, Played in NBA 1981-94

Not only will Rolando Blackman be remembered as one of the best Wildcats for his accomplishments, he is also known as the first ever Panamanian-born player in the NBA and one of the best players to don a Dallas Mavericks jersey. Blackman spent 13 years in the NBA, his first 11 in Dallas and then finished his NBA playing days with the Knicks. Blackman continued to show off his scoring ability in the pros, averaging 19.2 points per game as a Maverick. In fact, Blackman had the franchise record for points scored (16,643) until Dirk Nowitzki broke his record in 2008. Blackman also ranks in the top 10 in franchise history in other categories, including rebounds, assists, steals, minutes and games played, and field goals and free throws made. Through his statistical accomplishments, he was also named an NBA All-Star four times, showing the great presence he had in the NBA. By the end of his career, Blackman had a career average of 18.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, plus he had his number retired by the Mavericks. With such a decorated career and place in Mavericks’ history, Blackman is easily one of the best NBA players drafted from Kansas State, but there’s only one player who beats him out for the top.

Kansas State Basketball to NBA #1: Mitch Richmond

Played for K-State 1986-88, 5th overall pick in 1988, Played in NBA 1988-2002

The only Wildcat in the Hall of Fame based on his NBA career, Mitch Richmond is easily the best NBA player from K-State. During his 14-year career, Richmond played for four different teams, the Warriors, Kings, Wizards and Lakers, but had his best seasons with the Kings. In fact, all six times he was named an NBA All-Star in his career happened during his seven seasons as a Sacramento King. Richmond still made a huge impact with each team he played on, averaging at least 20 points per game in 10 seasons and having only one season where he averaged under 16 points per game. By the end of his career, Richmond put up some amazing numbers, having a career average of 21.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. His time with the Kings also put him among the all-time franchise leaders in points and steals, being third in both categories. The Kings honored his accomplishments as one of the best in franchise history, retiring his number at the end of his career. Richmond also had a long list of awards by the end of his career, including the 1989 Rookie of the Year, the 1995 All-Star Game MVP, and named to five straight All-NBA Teams. Richmond also got to go out as a champion before he retired, winning the championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002. After all he accomplished, Richmond was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014, cementing his place as one of the greats in NBA history and the greatest NBA player to have played at Kansas State.

But what do you think? Did we leave someone off the list or in the wrong place? Which of these players did/do you enjoy watching the most? Let us know in the comments!

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