Ranking the best NBA players to come out of the University of Utah (27 items)
The University of Utah has had an upper-echelon basketball program since the early days of college basketball. Led by outstanding coaches like Vadal Peterson, Jack Gardner and Rick Majerus, the Runnin' Utes have produced 10 first- or second-team All-Americans. The first was Dick Romney in 1916 and the latest was Andrew Bogut in 2005. Utah has had four teams advance to the Final Four, and the school won a national championship in 1944 (pictured at left). In total, 40 Ute players have been drafted in the NBA or ABA, with 27 of them playing in one or both of those leagues. Here is a ranking of every player to ever play in the ABA or NBA out of the University of Utah. Note: All statistics are from Basketball-Reference.com. All photos are from Deseret News archives unless otherwise noted.
1 of 27. 27. Gary Bergen
Bergen was selected by the New York Knicks in the 1956 draft. He played 40 minutes over six games and scored eight points while grabbing eight rebounds for the Knicks in the 1956-57 season.
2 of 27. 26. Greg Deane
Deane was selected with the first pick in the fourth round (67th overall) by the Utah Jazz in the 1979 draft. Deane played 48 minutes in seven games for the Jazz that season and registered 10 points, six rebounds and six assists.
3 of 27. 25. Wat Misaka
Misaka was selected by the New York Knicks in the 1947 BAA draft. He appeared in three games for the Knicks in the 1947-48 season and scored seven points.
4 of 27. 24. Kenneth Gardner
Gardner was selected with the 14th pick in the fifth round (82nd overall) by the Phoenix Suns in the 1971 draft. Gardner never played a regular-season game for the Suns, but did play in nine games for the Utah Stars of the ABA in the 1975-76 season. Gardner played 51 minutes that season and registered 14 points, 13 rebounds and three assists.
5 of 27. 23. Deb Smith
Smith made the St. Louis Bombers of the BAA and played 48 games in the 1946-47 season. In that time, Smith averaged 1.5 points a game while handing out a total of six assists.