Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ranking the best NBA players from Utah schools: has Utah or BYU produced the most talent? (34 items)

By , For the Deseret News

May 22, 2014

There is nothing that most BYU and Utah fans like more than to brag about who has produced better players and who has had the most success in the professional ranks. It’s not just Utes and Cougars who love this argument either. Utah State and Weber State fans love to join the conversation too, when they have players to brag about. With the success that Damian Lillard has had in his first two seasons in the NBA, Wildcats have been front and center in these debates, and feeling good about where they stand.

Of Utah’s six major schools, the Utes have had the most NBA and ABA players with 27, followed by BYU (21), Utah State (nine), Weber State (nine) and Utah Valley (one) while Southern Utah hasn’t had any, according to basketball-reference.com. Here is the list that shows who has the ultimate bragging rights when it comes to the best NBA players ever produced out of Utah’s Division 1 schools.

Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a freelance writer by night. He is the creator and lead writer of the website jmoneysports.com. Contact him at jmoney34@hotmail.com. Twitter: @jmoneysports

1 of 34. Honorable mention: John Fairchild, BYU

Fairchild was with the eighth pick of the second round (16th overall) by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1965 draft. Fairchild played 165 games over four seasons with the Lakers, Anaheim Amigos, Denver Rockets, Indiana Pacers and Kentucky Colonels. His best season came as a member of the Amigos in 1967-68 when Fairchild averaged 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and one assist in 62 games.

For his career, Fairchild averaged 6.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 assists a game.

2 of 34. Honorable mention: Steve Kramer, BYU

Kramer made the ABA after going undrafted. He played 124 games over three seasons for the Anaheim Amigos, Houston Mavericks and the Carolina Cougars. His most impressive statistical season came with the Mavericks in 1968-69, when Kramer averaged 14 points, 4.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds over 23 contests.

For his career, Kramer averaged 8.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

3 of 34. Honorable mention: Willard Sojourner, Weber State

Sojourner was taken with the third pick of the second round (20th overall) by the Chicago Bulls in the 1971 NBA draft. He played for seasons in the ABA for the Virginia Squires and the New York Nets. His most productive season came with the Squires in ’72-73 when he averaged 7.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 64 games.

For his career, Sojourner averaged six points and 4.8 rebounds in 309 games.

4 of 34. Honorable mention: Greg Kite, BYU

Kite was taken with the 21st overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 1983 draft. He played 680 games over 11 seasons for the Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. The best statistical season of his career came in 1990-91 when Kite started all 82 games and averaged 4.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and a block a game.

For his career, Kite averaged 2.5 points and 3.8 rebounds.

5 of 34. Honorable mention: Jeff Judkins, Utah

Judkins was selected with the eighth pick in the second round (30th overall) by the Boston Celtics in the 1978 draft. Judkins appeared in 272 games over five seasons with the Celtics, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers. His most productive season came as a rookie with the Celtics in 1978-79 when Judkins averaged 8.8 points a game on 50.3 percent shooting to go along with 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and one steal.

For his career, Judkins averaged 5.4 points, 1.6 rebounds and one assist a contest.

1. Who am I sir?
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
May 23, 2014

I did have to smile when I saw Shawn Bradley listed number 11 (the 4th highest BYU player listed) when the Deseret News, within the past week, ran a story with "Shawn Bradley goes from a "bust on the Basketball court" to a superstar off it!" headiline!

2. Uteology
East Salt Lake City, Utah,
May 23, 2014

Wow! Jimmer didn't even make the list as honorable mention? Player hater!

3. Sinew South
Centennial, CO,
May 23, 2014

As a BYU fan, I can readily admit that the Utes have a far more impressive list of pro players (which I knew would be the case before I viewed the list). As the next few years pass, I think Lillard will move up the list. I also think Kite was under-ranked. Chambers and Van Horn were fun to watch.

4. Wookie
Omaha, NE,
May 23, 2014

Shawn makes the list as he had a decent NBA career, maybe it didn't pan out as a number 2 in the draft should go, but he was a decent player. I still think Andre Miller should be the number 1 player.

Go UTES!

5. Mormon Ute
Kaysville, UT,
May 23, 2014

Go Utes! Even with the damage Boylen caused to the program, Utah still is on top for putting players in the NBA. Now Coach K is poised to start things back up again with Delon Wright most likely being drafted next year and a string of others following him in the years to come.