From the wonderful basketball-reference.com you can peruse all 41 Gopher hoopers that played in either the NBA or ABA (would be cool to find a site that also tracks the pro careers of guys playing overseas). If you want to read about (and see some awesome 1970s fashion) the only Minnesota player ever taken #1 overall in the NBA Draft check out this #TBT post from last year.
The first professional players to come out of the University of Minnesota are a trio that played in 1947, Tony Jaros, Don Carlson, and Kleggie Hermsen (great name, Kleggie). Jaros and Carlson won 2 championships with the Minneapolis Lakers. The legendary Vikings coach, Bud Grant played a couple years for the Minneapolis Lakers in 1950 and 1951. But it wasn’t until 1967 when Archie Clark and Lou Hudson made their NBA debut that the Gophers really put their mark on the league.
Sweet Lou drafted #4 overall in the draft by the St. Louis Hawks went on to have a great career, playing over 890 games, averaging 20 points, and making 6 All Star games. Archie Clark played in the league for 10 years and earned the nickname “Shake and Bake” for being one of the first players to effectively use the cross over.
Kevin McHale’s the 3rd overall pick in the 1980 Draft is the most famous and most impactful career of any Gopher. In 12 seasons Kevin scored 17,335 points and won 3 NBA championships. But all that stuff is boring. Let’s look at some other players.
One of the best stories is that of Trevor Winter, played in 1 NBA game in lockout season of 1999. Trevor played 5 minutes, recorded 3 rebounds and a truly impressive 5 fouls. He is one of 3 NBA players to have as many fouls as minutes played in their career.
Who will be the next Gopher to play in the NBA? If it’s Amir Coffey, he only has to play in 52 games or score more than 68 points to have a better pro career than his father.