On Thursday night, St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson looks to become the 33rd player and first since 1986 in Bonnies basketball history to be drafted by a National Basketball Association franchise. Nicholson is a projected first round pick. If he is drafted in the first round, he will be the fourth Bona player to be drafted in the first round. NBA Hall of Famer, Bob Lanier, was the number one overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. Tom Stith was selected as the second overall pick in the 1961 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks and Brendan McCann was the fifth overall selection in the 1957 NBA Draft by the Knicks.
The last Bonnie to suit up in the NBA was J.R. Bremer. He was a second-team All-rookie team member in 2002-03 with the Boston Celtics as an undrafted free agent. He played in 2003-04 with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. Since then, he is one of the highest paid point guards in Europe.
Prior to Bremer, David Vanterpool had a 22 game cameo with the Washington Wizards in 2000. He has been pro scout for the Oklahoma City Thunder for the last few years and is rumored to be promoted to assistant general manager of the Thunder in the coming days.
While Bob Lanier is the only St. Bonaventure alum in the Naismith Hall of Famer, he is not the only one in Springfield with a connection to the Bonnies. Hall of Fame coach Chuck Daly, who led the famous Pistons “Bad Boys” to two NBA titles and was the head coach of the Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics, played freshman basketball at St. Bonaventure in 1948-49 before transferring to Bloomsburg University.
In all, 15 Bonnies have suited up in the NBA. Here are the top five NBA players from St. Bonaventure:
Billy Kenville played six seasons (1953–1958; 1959–1960) with the Syracuse Nationals and Fort Wayne/Detroit Pistons. He averaged 7.1 points per game and won a league title with Syracuse in 1955.
George Carter was selected by the Detroit Pistons in 1967 and was also selected by the New Orleans Buccaneers in the 1967 American Basketball Association draft. Carter played only game for the Pistons and then joined the Washington Caps of the rival ABA. He went on to play seven seasons in the ABA, spending time with eight teams: the Caps, the Virginia Squires, the Carolina Cougars, the Pittsburgh Condors, the New York Nets, the Memphis Sounds, the Baltimore Claws, and the Utah Stars. Carter represented the Squires in the 1971 ABA All-Star Game and retired from basketball in 1976 with 8,863 combined ABA/NBA career points.
Fred Crawford spent five years in the NBA. He was drafted in the fourth round in 1964 by the New York Knicks. Previously, he had been drafted by the Knicks in the 1963 NBA Draft. He would eventually play with the Knicks in the NBA in 1967. The following year, he was sold to the Los Angeles Lakers. In 1969, he was again sold, this time to the Milwaukee Bucks. Later, Crawford was selected by the Buffalo Braves in the 1970 NBA Expansion Draft and finished his career with the Philadelphia 76ers later that year. Crawford had his best season in the NBA in 1968 with the Lakers when he averaged 10.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game as a part of the west's representative in the NBA Finals.
Ken Murray was the first ever NBA player from St. Bonaventure. In 1950-51, he averaged 12.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game as one of the NBA's top rookies for the Baltimore Bullets and Fort Wayne Pistons. He played three seasons in the league with the Bullets, Pistons and Philadelphia Warriors totaling 1,471 points, 599 rebounds, and 482 assists.
Other notable NBA Bonnies:
Tom Stith was selected by the Knicks in the 1961 NBA draft and gave him a two-year contract. But five weeks after he was drafted, Stith had a physical examination to determine why he had lost 15 pounds during his senior season. He was found to have pulmonary tuberculosis. Stith recuperated in a sanitarium for several months. After his hospitalization, he began working out with his brother Sam, who was in his rookie season with the Knicks. Tom made the Knicks’ 1962-63 team, coached by Eddie Donovan, who had coached him at St. Bonaventure. The crowd at Madison Square Garden gave Stith an ovation when he made his Knicks debut against the Boston Celtics in mid-November, but he played in only 25 games that season and averaged 3.1 points a game. The Knicks released him at the beginning of the next season.
Whitey Martin and Sam Stith each played one season in the NBA, both for the Knicks in 1961-62. Martin played 66 games, while Stith appeared in 32 games.
Essie Hollis played 25 games for the Pistons in 1978-79 as a teammate of Bob Lanier.
Since 1950, there have been a total of 33 NBA draft picks (32 players) to come out of St. Bonaventure. Six picks have been in the top two rounds. Note: Fred Crawford was drafted twice.
1986 Rd 4, 82nd Barry Mungar Washington Bullets
1983 Rd 4, 82nd Mark Jones New York Knicks
1981 Rd 4, 87th Earl Belcher San Antonio Spurs
1979 Rd 7, 141st Tim Waterman Atlanta Hawks
1978 Rd 2, 43rd Glenn Hagan Philadelphia 76ers
1978 Rd 10, 162nd Greg Sanders New York Knicks
1977 Rd 2, 44th Essie Hollis New Orleans Jazz
1976 Rd 9, 153rd Bob Rozyczko Buffalo Braves
1974 Rd 8, 135th Glenn Price Buffalo Braves
1973 Rd 8, 122nd Carl Jackson Buffalo Braves
1972 Rd 4, 59th Matt Gantt Phoenix Suns
1972 Rd 15, 189th Paul Hoffman Buffalo Braves
1971 Rd 4, 59th Greg Gary San Francisco Warriors
1970 Rd 1, 1st Bob Lanier Detroit Pistons
1969 Rd 9, 115th Jim Satalin Milwaukee Bucks
1968 Rd 9, 116th Bill Butler Boston Celtics
1967 Rd 8, 81st George Carter Detroit Pistons
1965 Rd 8, 65th Bob Bamek Philadelphia 76ers
1964 Rd 4, 26th Fred Crawford New York Knicks
1963 Rd 8, 63rd Fred Crawford New York Knicks
1962 Rd 4, N/A Bob McCully Syracuse Nationals
1961 Rd 1, 2nd Tom Stith New York Knicks
1961 Rd 2, 10th Whitey Martin New York Knicks
1960 Rd 8, 56th Sam Stith Cincinnati Royals
1957 Rd 1, 5th Brendan McCann New York Knicks
1955 Rd 5, 39th Mal Duffy Syracuse Nationals
1953 Rd 3, 25th Billy Kenville Syracuse Nationals
1953 Rd 5, 43rd Mike Bodnar Fort Wayne Pistons
1953 Rd 10, 82nd Bob Sassone Philadelphia Warriors
1953 Rd 11, 92nd Bill Edwards Rochester Royals
1952 Rd 4, 43rd Leo Corkery Fort Wayne Pistons
1951 Rd 3, 28th Fred Duite Rochester Royals
1950 Rd 4, 41st Ken Murray Chicago Stags
PART II (post on 7 p.m. Wednesday): Who will select Andrew Nicholson Thursday Night.