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The NBA Draft: A slow start to the 21st century

The NBA will hold its 76th draft at 7:00 pm CST Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NBA teams selected 44 players from Alabama high schools and colleges in the first round, including five in the first decade of the 21st century.

When the 1998 and 1999 NBA drafts went without a first-round Alabama high school or college player, it marked the first time since 1973 and 1974 that consecutive drafts went without an Alabama roots pick.

But the absence turned out to be more than an accident. It was the end of a golden age for Alabama high schools and colleges in the NBA draft.

From 1975 to 1997, 27 Alabama-born basketball players entered the NBA as first-round picks in 23 draft picks. Eleven first round players in the 1980s and 10 in the 1990s played in Alabama high schools or colleges. But in the first decade of the 21st century, only five players with basketball roots from Alabama entered the NBA as first-rounders—none of them were selected higher than the 25th overall—and over 10 drafts in each round, only 15 were selected. state players.

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First round NBA draft picks with basketball roots from Alabama from 2000 to 2009 included:

2000: Mamadou N’Diaye (Auburn), No. 26 Denver Nuggets

N’Diaye broke Charles Barkley’s school record for blocked shots in the Auburn, but failed to match Sir Charles’ success in the NBA. The 7-foot center never played for the Nuggets, who traded him to the Toronto Raptors, and N’Diaye had three more shots in his five NBA seasons. In 69 NBA regular season games, N’Diaye averaged 3.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.1 assists per game. On November 4, 2002, N’Diaye blocked eight shots in the Raptors’ 109–105 win over the Chicago Bulls.

2001: Gerald Wallace (Childersburg High School, Alabama), No. 25 by the Sacramento Kings

A 6-foot-7 forward who played one season in Alabama, Wallace spent a 14-year NBA career during which he was traded five times and left the Kings for the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2004 expansion draft. Wallace reached his career high with the Bobcats in 2007-08, averaging 19.4 points and 3.5 assists per game. But the Crash played in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. That season, he reached a career-high averaging 10.0 rebounds per game. In 832 NBA regular season games, Wallace averaged 11.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals. Wallace led the NBA with an average of 2.5 steals per game during the 2005-06 season.

2008: DJ White (Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa), #29 by the Detroit Pistons.

The 6-foot-9 power forward traveled from Hillcrest to Indiana, where he averaged 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game as a senior. On draft night, the Pistons traded White to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that saw former Parker high school pick and UAB standout Walter Sharp move to Detroit. In 2013, White was traded to Boston in a deal that brought former Childersburg high school player and Alabama star Gerald Wallace to the Celtics and included a first-round pick to become Crimson Tide standout Collin Sexton in the 2018 first round draft pick. In 138 NBA regular season games, White averaged 5.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.6 assists.

2009: DeMarre Carroll (John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham), #27 by the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Junkyard Dog played for eight teams in 11 seasons in the NBA. Carroll, who joined the NBA from Missouri, peaked in the 2017-2018 season, averaging 13.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 73 games for the Brooklyn Nets. In 578 NBA regular season games, Carroll averaged 8.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists. He also averaged 8.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 64 playoff games.

2009: Tony Douglas (Auburn), No. 29 with the Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers selected Douglas from Florida State, but he averaged 16.9 points per game for Auburn as a rookie in 2004-05 before leaving the Tigers for the Seminoles. Los Angeles sent him to the New York Knicks on draft night, the first of four times Douglas was traded in eight seasons in the NBA. The 6-foot-2 defenseman peaked in 2010-11, averaging 10.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 81 games for the Knicks. In 394 NBA regular season games, Douglas averaged 7.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

Mark Inabinette is a sports reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.

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