The University of Wisconsinâ€™s history in the NBA Draft isnâ€™t a long, nor a storied one. Such is the life of a program that went decades without an NCAA tournament berth.
In fact, just seven players have ever been selected in the 1st round of any NBA Draft heading in to Thursday nightâ€™s 2015 NBA Draft. With Wisconsin making back-to-back Final Four appearances with virtually the same cast of characters, some NBA front office people were bound to take notice of the talent on the roster.
After junior Sam Dekker declared himself eligible for the draft following the end of the season, it was likely that history was bound to happen. History was indeed made, as the now former Badger was picked No. 18 overall by the Houston Rockets, making him the second UW player selected in the first round of the draft.
Dekker left the University of Wisconsin after amassing 1,363 points, grabbing 569 rebounds and shooting 49.3 percent from the field (59.1 percent from two-point range alone).
He joined teammate Frank Kaminsky, who went in the lottery at No. 9 overall to the Charlotte Hornets.
With those selections the Badgers had two players taken in the first round for the first time in school history.
â€śThis is a very proud moment for the University of Wisconsin basketball program to have two guys go in the first round. That is special,â€ť head coach Bo Ryan said in a statement released by the school. â€śAnd who knows, we may have some other guys that maybe didnâ€™t go in the first round but still might end up playing at the highest level. I wouldnâ€™t be surprised. But Iâ€™m very proud of Frank and Sam and Iâ€™m sure everyone else takes the same pride in their accomplishments and now theyâ€™ve been rewarded professionally.â€ť
It was just the eighth time the Badgers program has had multiple draft picks in any NBA Draft period, let alone the first round.
UW also led the way for the Big Ten as well, becoming the only team in the conference with multiple players selected in the first round.Â Overall the conference had just three first round picks, with Ohio Stateâ€™s Dâ€™Angelo Russell going No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers.