Top NBA draft picks from Colorado

Written by:
April 6, 2022
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Top NBA draft picks from Colorado

Summer may not be professional basketball season, but there is one thing that brings fans, teams, and college ball players the same excitement and anticipation as any headline matchup—the National Basketball Association’s annual Draft.

The draft has evolved over the years from the sort of thing you’d read about in the newspaper to a fully televised event that has become a significant draw for the NBA, both from a revenue and brand reinforcement standpoint. The draft’s key role for teams is to allow them to pinpoint their deficiencies in order to identify precisely what kind of player they need coming out of the annual raffle, and also to effect strategic trades either for (or with) draft picks to plan for the future.

The draft’s impact at the college level is even bigger. Since it is the ambition of most college ball players to go pro, each year’s draft presents them with a new chance to level up. Now that high school players cannot qualify except after a gap year (of either college ball or not) due to 2006’s “one-and-done rule,” the annual pool of eligible college players is the NBA’s best source of fresh talent.

In summer 2022, colleges and universities across the country will see their top players try to fulfill their dream of playing at the professional level. Many schools are known for their basketball programs, and many more seem to slip under the radar while surprising teams and fans alike by producing some of the greatest players ever to take the court. For every Reggie Miller (UCLA), there’s a Stephen Curry (Davidson College). That’s what makes the draft so exciting for sports fans—they get to bear witness to dreams coming true and potential being rewarded. After more than 70 years, the NBA Draft retains its power to change the face of the game and help teams transform themselves into championship contenders.

With the next draft set for June 23, 2022, Stacker compiled a list of the highest NBA draft picks from [university], using data from Basketball-Reference.com. Before the 2022 draft class is decided, take a look back at the top picks from your favorite college team down through NBA history.

#10. Kaniel Dickens (PF/SF)
- Born: Denver, Colorado
- Draft pick: #50 overall in 2000
- Drafted by: Utah Jazz
- School: Idaho
- Years in NBA: 3

#9. Eric McWilliams (PF)
- Born: Denver, Colorado
- Draft pick: #37 overall in 1972
- Drafted by: Houston Rockets
- School: Cal State Long Beach
- Years in NBA: 1

#8. Nick Fazekas (PF)
- Born: Denver, Colorado
- Draft pick: #34 overall in 2007
- Drafted by: Dallas Mavericks
- School: Nevada
- Years in NBA: 1

#7. Michael Ruffin (PF/C)
- Born: Denver, Colorado
- Draft pick: #32 overall in 1999
- Drafted by: Chicago Bulls
- School: Tulsa
- Years in NBA: 9

#6. Derrick White (SG/PG)
- Born: Parker, Colorado
- Draft pick: #29 overall in 2017
- Drafted by: San Antonio Spurs
- School: Colorado
- Years in NBA: 5

#5. Glen Gondrezick (SF/PF)
- Born: Boulder, Colorado
- Draft pick: #26 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: New York Knicks
- School: UNLV
- Years in NBA: 6

#4. Jason Smith (C/PF)
- Born: Greeley, Colorado
- Draft pick: #20 overall in 2007
- Drafted by: Miami Heat
- School: Colorado State
- Years in NBA: 11

#3. Joe Kleine (C)
- Born: Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Draft pick: #6 overall in 1985
- Drafted by: Sacramento Kings
- School: Arkansas
- Years in NBA: 15

#2. Ron Shavlik (F)
- Born: Denver, Colorado
- Draft pick: #4 overall in 1956
- Drafted by: New York Knicks
- School: NC State
- Years in NBA: 2

#1. Chauncey Billups (PG/SG)
- Born: Denver, Colorado
- Draft pick: #3 overall in 1997
- Drafted by: Boston Celtics
- School: Colorado
- Years in NBA: 17

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