1st team All-NBA an elusive goal for former Devils, Heels
Posted June 5, 2014
It wasn’t much of a surprise Wednesday when monolithic college programs Duke and North Carolina failed to place a former player on the 2013-14 NBA all-star teams.
That’s become the norm.
Of the 15 top vote-getters cited by the NBA all-star selection panel members, Wake Forest placed guard Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers) on the 1st team and Davidson product Stephen Curry (Golden State) was named to the 2nd team.
The top Duke alum was guard Kyrie Irving of Cleveland, who finished 28th in the voting. Former UNC guard Ty Lawson of Denver came in 35th. And you have to keep in mind that Irving played only 11 games at Duke.
It’s the latest reminder that although the Blue Devils and Tar Heels are among the best college programs in history and have been prolific recruiting magnets for decades, neither has turned out NBA superstars at an especially high rate.
In fact, the only Duke player ever to be picked 1st team NBA was Grant Hill of Detroit in 1997.
The last Carolina product on first team was Michael Jordan of Chicago in 1998.
Jordan was a 10-time 1st team pick and arguably the best professional player ever. But other than Billy Cunningham (Philadelphia) and Robert McAdoo (Buffalo Braves/LA Clippers), the only other ex-Carolina 1st teamer was Bones McKinney (Washington Capitols) in 1947.
Cunningham was a 3-time 1st-team pick in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. McAdoo, a Greensboro native, played one season for the Tar Heels before going pro. He’d previously played two seasons at Vincennes Junior College in Indiana.
McKinney, a Durham native, played college ball at both Carolina and N.C. State.
The Wolfpack’s only other NBA 1st team pick was David Thompson (Denver), still generally rated the best college player in ACC history.
No fool-proof predictor
One thing the annual all-NBA team selections proves beyond doubt is that the ever-popular high school recruit ratings are no guarantee of future pro fame and riches.
LeBron James (Miami) was a clear pick as the country’s best high school player in 2002-03, made the straight move to the pros when it was legal and obviously has become the most dominant pro of his era.
Paul was a prep all-American at West Forsyth High and fellow 1st team pick Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) and picked Texas over dozens of other offers, but neither was projected as a surefire pro NBA superstar.
Durant wasn’t even deemed to be a lock to start as a college freshman until he grew from 6-feet-3 to 6-8 as a high school senior.
The other two 1st team selections were Houston’s James Harden (Arizona State) and Chicago’s Joakim Noah (Florida).
As a freshman with the Gators in 2004-05, Noah averaged only 10 minutes playing time and rarely was on the court in crunch time.
Rivals had Hardin ranked as the No. 11 prospect in 2007 - behind J.J. Hickson, who picked State, turned pro after one season and has played this season with the Nuggets, his fifth NBA stop.
In 2009, Rivals had B.J. Mullens (Ohio State) rated No. 1. He also went pro after one season in school and has averaged 7.4 points over six pro seasons with four pro teams, most recently the Clippers.
Here are the top all-NBA vote-getters and their colleges:
Kevin Durant (Thunder) Texas
LeBron James (Heat) None
Joakim Noah (Bulls) Florida
James Harden (Rockets) Arizona State
Chris Paul (Clippers) Wake Forest
Blake Griffin (Clippers) Oklahoma
Kevin Love (Timberwolves) UCLA
Dwight Howard (Rockets) None
Stephen Curry (Warriors) Davidson
Tony Parker (Spurs) None
Paul George (Pacers) Fresno State
LaMarcus Aldridge (Trail Blazers) Texas
Al Jefferson (Hornets) None
Goran Dragic (Suns) None
Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers) Weber State
Carmelo Anthony (Knicks) Syracuse
John Wall (Wizards) Kentucky
Tim Duncan (Spurs) Wake Forest
DeMar Robinson (Raptors) Southern Cal
Anthony Davis (Pelicans) Kentucky