Stealing this list from the Arizona Republic’s Doug Haller, eight players from the Pac-10 (going back to when the league was the Pac-8), have been selected within the top two picks of the NBA Draft.
Lew Alcindor (UCLA, 1969), Sidney Wicks (UCLA, 1971), Bill Walton (UCLA, 1974), David Meyers (UCLA, 1975), Dave Greenwood (UCLA, 1979), Gary Payton (Oregon State, 1990), Jason Kidd (California, 1994) and Mike Bibby (Arizona, 1998).
Arizona’s Derrick Williams is hoping to join that very fine list on Thursday.
Beyond Williams, it could be a decent draft for the Pac-10, with Washington State guard Klay Thompson and USC’s Nikola Vucevic potentially going in the top half of the first round.
A pair of UCLA players, wing Tyler Honeycutt and guard Malcolm Lee, are two draft wild-cards — talented, but not polished by any means. Washington point guard Isaiah Thomas, only 5-foot-10, figures to be second-round material.
In any case, this draft will be better for the Pac-10 than the 2010 edition, when the league produced a scant two draft picks.
Of the Pac-10 products other than Williams, Arizona coach Sean Miller said Thompson has the skill set to make an immediate impact.
“I think Klay Thompson is really talented. I marveled at how explosive he was,” Miller said.
“You look at the way he shot, it was really amazing to see. He was difficult to deal with. Klay Thompson can be a terrific player in the NBA.”
SI.com: No. 2 — Williams; No. 10 — Thompson; No. 17 — Vucevic; No. 27 — Lee
DraftExpress.com: No. 2 — Williams; No. 10 — Thompson; No. 16 — Vucevic; No. 25 — Honeycutt
CBSSports.com: No. 2 — Williams; No. 9 — Vucevic; No. 18 — Thompson; No. 25 — Honeycutt
USA Today: No. 2 — Williams; No. 10 — Thompson; No. 20 — Lee; No. 22 — Honeycutt; No. 23 — Vucevic