Even though his NBA Draft stock has fluctuated to a degree over the last few months, Jacob Evans appears poised to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday. While he isn’t going to be taken in the top five or challenge for the top 10, Evans is, by all accounts, a sure thing to be taken in the later part of the first round. When he is drafted, he’ll join an elite fraternity of Cincinnati Bearcats to be taken in the draft.
There are currently 56 members of that fraternity dating back to 1950 when Dick Dallmer was selected by the Philadelphia Warriors and Jack Laub became a Baltimore Bullet. In those days, there were far more players selected. In fact, as the draft has evolved, it has gone from having a seemingly endless number of rounds to the two we now know. We detailed the history of Bearcats in the NBA Draft a few years ago, but let’s take a deeper dive into the 10 who have the distinction of being first round draft picks, a number Evans should increase on Thursday.
Connie Dierking, No. 6 overall, 1958
A first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference contributor for the 1958 Bearcats, Dierking was selected sixth overall by the Syracuse Nationals, who are now the Philadelphia 76ers. Across 12 NBA seasons, Dierking averaged 10.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He was taken in the same draft as Elgin Baylor and was selected before Hal Greer, Wayne Embry and Adrian Smith.
Oscar Robertson, No. 1 overall, 1960
The greatest player in UC history was taken first overall in 1960, following his third-straight consensus All-American season. The Big O highlighted a loaded draft class which featured Jerry West and Lenny Wilkens. Robertson, of course, went on to have a storied professional career, averaging a triple-double for a season far before Russell Westbrook and making 12 All-Star games. He didn’t have to go far for most of it, playing his first 10 seasons with the Cincinnati Royals.
Paul Hogue, No. 2 overall, 1962
Just two years later, Hogue turned his storied collegiate career (which included two national titles) into a professional job. Hogue was taken second overall by the New York Knicks during a draft that featured Dave DeBusschere, Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek. Hogue didn’t have as strong a run as some of the other players on this list, ending his NBA career following the 1963-64 season. He averaged 6.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in 65 career contests.
Rick Roberson, No. 15 overall, 1969
Roberson went 14 picks after No. 1 overall selection Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was still known as Lew Alcindor at that point. Roberson was taken by the Lakers, but would go on to play for five different NBA teams before hanging it up in 1976. He averaged 9.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in his career.
Jim Ard, No. 6 overall, 1970
The next year, it was Ard’s turn. Ard was chosen by the Seattle SuperSonics, but elected to play in the ABA for the New York Nets instead. He later found his way to the NBA when he signed with the Boston Celtics in 1974. While he only scored 1,909 career points (4.4 ppg) in the NBA, he did sink two critical foul shots in game five of the NBA Finals for the eventual champion Celtics.
Corie Blount, No. 25 overall, 1993
While Chris Webber was taken No. 1 overall and Penny Hardaway went two picks later, Blunt went No. 25 overall to the Chicago Bulls, just a spot behind Sam Cassell. A member of the 1992 Final Four team, Blount lasted for quite a while in the NBA although he never became a star. During his 11 years in the league, he played for seven teams and averaged 3.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Danny Fortson, No. 10 overall, 1997
The Milwaukee Bucks selected Fortson No. 10 overall in 1997, just one spot behind Tracy McGrady. This was also the same year Tim Duncan was drafted. Fortson was an absolute force in 1997 when he was named a consensus All-American. While that didn’t fully translate at the next level, he still managed a 10-year career as a role player, including a strong run for the Golden State Warriors that would have been much better if not for an injury.
Kenyon Martin, No. 1 overall, 2000
K-Mart joined the Big O as the only UC players ever taken No. 1 overall. He was picked by the New Jersey Nets in what was a pretty thin draft class overall. He quickly made good on his player of the year award from 2000 and was an All-Rookie first-teamer in 2001. He went on to make the All-Star game in 2004 and would play all the way until 2015, including seven years with the Denver Nuggets and those early years with the Nets when he played in two NBA Finals.
DerMarr Johnson, No. 6 overall, 2000
Martin wasn’t the only lottery pick in 2000, which wasn’t surprising considering UC won 29 games and was ranked No. 1 for most of the year. Johnson, who was a one-and-done player, was selected by the Atlanta Hawks. He played in at least 70 games in his first two seasons, but only accomplished that feat once more before ultimately leaving the NBA in 2008.
Jason Maxiell, No. 26 overall, 2005
The Detroit Pistons chose Maxiell, the 2002 Conference USA Sixth Man of the Year, late in the first round. He played for the Pistons for eight seasons. Detroit won 64 games in his rookie year and would make the Eastern Conference Finals in each of his first three seasons. He averaged 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds during a 10-year career, playing his last two with Orlando and Charlotte.