Alabama Basketball: Crimson Tide NBA Draft history and success

Alabama Basketball is not one of the college programs considered to be a factory for NBA talent. In its history, 45 Alabama Crimson Tide players have been drafted by the NBA, going back to the first one, Carl Shaeffer, selected in the second round by the Providence Steamrollers in 1949.

It was not until 1973 that the Crimson Tide had another player drafted as high as the second round when Wendell Hudson was chosen by the Chicago Bulls.

Since then, 11 more former Alabama basketball players have been drafted in the second round. The most recent was last season when the New Orleans Pelicans drafted Herbert Jones.

Two of the Tide’s second-round guys played 14 seasons in the NBA. T.R. Dunn, drafted in 1977, played three seasons in Portland, 10 seasons in Denver and one season in Phoenix. After his playing career, Dunn coached for over 20 years, mostly as an NBA assistant coach.

In his 14 NBA seasons, Mo Williams played for the Bucks, Cavs, Jazz, Clippers, Trail Blazers, Timberwolves and Hornets. Williams is now the head coach of Jackson State, in his hometown of Jackson, MS.

Going back to Leon Douglas and the 1976 NBA Draft, 17 former Crimson Tide players have been first-round selections. Three of them, Collin Sexton, Kira Lewis Jr. and Josh Primo are current NBA players. Bama Central pointed out the trio has brought considerable attention to the Alabama basketball program.

Over the past four years, Alabama has been successful at the NBA Draft. Since 2018, Alabama has had three lottery picks selected in Collin Sexton (2018), Kira Lewis Jr. (2020) and Joshua Primo (2021). Over that same time frame, only Duke and Kentucky can boast more lottery picks in all of college basketball.

Maybe the Alabama Crimson Tide deserves more recognition for the NBA players the program produces.

Not counting the three first-rounders currently playing in the NBA, all but one of the other 14, Crimson Tide first-round players had NBA careers of five seasons or longer. Having the most lengthy NBA careers were Ennis Whatley (11 seasons), Latrell Sprewell (13 seasons), Gerald Wallace (14 seasons), Derrick McKey (15 seasons), Antonio McDyess (16 seasons) and Robert Horry (16 seasons).

Alabama Basketball and 2022 NBA Draft

Only a shocking result will give the Crimson Tide a first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. JD Davison is expected to be drafted in the second round, with the most frequently mentioned team being the Timberwolves.

Keon Ellis might gain a second-round selection. Jaden Shackelford is not expected to be drafted.

Note: Information on Tide players in the NFL was provided by RealGM.com and Sports Reference.

Bama Hammer will follow Thursday night’s NBA Draft action and discuss what the results mean for Davison and Ellis.