Kansas well represented on NBA opening day rosters
LAWRENCE, Kan. – There will be 15 Jayhawks on opening day rosters for the 2016-17 NBA regular-season that begins Tuesday, Oct. 25.
Paul Pierce has the most tenure of the Jayhawks in the NBA, entering his 19th and final season of his hall-of-fame career. Pierce is in his second year with the Los Angeles Clippers. Oklahoma City’s Nick Collison, a member of KU’s 2002 and 2003 Final Four teams, is next entering his 14th season with the Thunder.
The Minnesota Timberwolves carry the most Jayhawks on their roster with Cole Aldrich, Brandon Rush and Andrew Wiggins. Aldrich, from Bloomington, Minnesota, returns home for his first season with the Timberwolves and his seventh season in an NBA uniform. He and Rush were members of Kansas’ 2008 NCAA National Championship team. Rush is also in his first year in Minnesota and his ninth in the league. He is one of four Jayhawks to have won both NCAA and NBA titles, as he was a member of the 2015 Golden State Warriors’ title team. Wiggins, the overall No. 1 NBA Draft selection in 2014, is entering his third season with Minnesota.
Also a member of the 2008 national champ Jayhawks is Darrell Arthur, who is in his eighth season in the NBA and fourth with Denver. Arthur missed 2011-12 due to injury.
Twins Marcus and Markieff Morris are entering their sixth year in the league. They have been separated as teammates for the past few seasons with Marcus on the Detroit Pistons, and Markieff with the Washington Wizards. Joining Markeiff on the Wizards is Kelly Oubre Jr., who is in his second season in the NBA.
Thomas Robinson (Los Angeles Lakers) and Jeff Withey (Utah Jazz) were part of KU’s NCAA runner-up team in 2012. The fifth overall NBA Draft selection in 2012, this will be Robinson’s first season with the Lakers as he joins fellow Jayhawk Tarik Black, who is in his third season with the franchise. Drafted in 2013, Withey begins his second year in a Jazz uniform and his third overall in the NBA.
Fourth-year player and No. 7 overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, Ben McLemore continues his career with the Sacramento Kings.
The No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, Joel Embiid suffered through injuries his first two seasons but is now healthy and should see action for the Philadelphia 76ers when they open play Wednesday at home against Oklahoma City.
Cheick Diallo is the youngest Jayhawk in the NBA as he begins his rookie season with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Since 2005, Kansas has had a least 10 players on NBA opening-day rosters each year. Look for veteran free agents Mario Chalmers, Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich to join NBA rosters during the 2016-17 season. Additionally, recent Jayhawks Perry Ellis, Cliff Alexander and Wayne Selden Jr. all were in NBA camps this fall.
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