Joe Santoro: Best Nevada basketball opponents who went on to the NBA | NevadaAppeal.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Joe Santoro: Best Nevada basketball opponents who went on to the NBA

By Joe Santoro For the Nevada Appeal
Philadelphia 76ers guard Josh Richardson, left, goes down as Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George tries to drive past him during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Mar. 1, 2020, in Los Angeles.
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The Nevada Wolf Pack has been Northern Nevada’s window to some of the best talent to ever compete in the NBA.

The Wolf Pack has played against more than two dozen players who took part in nearly 100 NBA All Star games combined. Pack opponents have included five future NBA Rookies of the Year, two that won Sixth Man of the Year, three that won Slam Dunk titles and more than a dozen who were named to an All-NBA team.

A future NBA Most Valuable Player played against the Pack and, yes, so did 10 future Naismith Hall of Famers.

A look back at the Top 30 college players the Wolf Pack has faced that went on to have significant NBA careers.

30. KURT RAMBIS

Santa Clara

Rambis played 6 games vs. Pack, averaging 14.8 points, 8.9 rebounds. Had 22 points and 8 rebounds in 96-80 win over Pack at Santa Clara on Feb. 9, 1979 and 18 points a week later in 88-85 loss to Pack in Reno.

NBA: 1981-95, 880 games (Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix, Charlotte, Sacramento); 5.2 points, 5.6 rebounds. Won 4 NBA championships with Lakers.

29. TERRY DISCHINGER

Purdue

Scored 30 points (12 FG, 6 FT) at Purdue in 91-59 victory over Pack on Dec. 19, 1961.

NBA: 1962-73, 652 games (Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Portland); 13.8 points, 5.6 rebounds; 3 All Star games; 1963 NBA Rookie of Year.

28. ARMON GILLIAM

UNLV

Averaged 21 points, 12 rebounds in 3 games vs. Pack. Had 32 points, 16 rebounds in 99-88 loss on Dec. 13, 1986 at Lawlor Events Center and 14 points, 14 rebounds in 89-62 win on Nov. 22, 1985 at UNLV.

NBA: 1987-00, 929 games (Phoenix, Charlotte, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Utah), 13.7 points, 6.9 rebounds. Scored 12,700 points with 6,401 rebounds.

27. CHUCK COOPER

Duquesne

Scored 10 points (second on team) in 46-45 overtime win over Pack on Dec. 15, 1946 in Pittsburgh. Cooper sank a free throw to give Duquesne three-point lead with 36 seconds left in regulation.

NBA: 1950-56, 409 games (Boston, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Ft. Worth), 6.7 points, 5.9 rebounds. First African American player drafted by NBA. Played with Harlem Globetrotters. Member of Naismith Hall of Fame.

26. DON NELSON

Iowa

Scored 26 points on 8 FG and 10 FT in 88-46 win over Pack on Dec. 21, 1962 at Iowa.

NBA: 1962-76, 1,053 games (Chicago, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston), 10.3 points, 4.9 rebounds. Member of 5 NBA Championship teams with Boston. Head coach 1976-10, winning 1,335 games and Coach of Year three times.

25. PAUL MILLSAP

Louisiana Tech

Played 6 games vs. Nevada from 2003-06. Averaged 17.8 points, 13.2 rebounds while losing all 6 games. Had 21 points, 21 rebounds in 71-67 loss in Reno on Jan. 8, 2004 and 20 points, 20 rebounds in 79-64 loss Feb. 7, 2004 at Louisiana Tech.

NBA: 2006-20, 989 games (Utah, Atlanta, Denver); 14.1 points, 7.4 rebounds; 4 All Star games.

24. DANNY AINGE

BYU

Scored 13 points (6-13 FG) with 7 rebounds in 100-66 loss to the Wolf Pack as freshman on Nov. 29, 1977 at Centennial Coliseum.

NBA: 1981-95, 1,042 games (Boston, Sacramento, Phoenix); 11.5 points, 4.0 assists. 1 All Star game. Member of 2 NBA Championship teams with Boston.

23. SLEEPY FLOYD

Georgetown

Scored 16 points (6-14 FG) with 4 rebounds in 87-77 loss to Nevada on Dec. 21, 1978 in front of 6,077 at Lawlor Events Center.

NBA: 1982-95, 957 games (New Jersey, Golden State, Houston, Sacramento), 12.8 points, 5.4 assists. 1 All Star Game. Scored 12,260 points.

22. BILL CARTWRIGHT

San Francisco

Cartwright played 8 games against the Pack and Edgar Jones from 1975-79, averaging 18.3 points, 9.4 rebounds. Had 50 points, 27 rebounds senior year (1978-79) in two games combined vs. Nevada.

NBA: 1979-95, 963 games (New York, Chicago, Seattle), 13.2 points, 6.3 rebounds. 1 All Star game.

21. TERRELL BRANDON

Oregon

12 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds in 80-72 victory on Dec. 16, 1989 and 20 points (7-of-21 FG) in 73-66 loss to Pack on Dec. 15, 1990 in Reno.

NBA: 1991-02, 724 games (Cleveland, Minnesota, Milwaukee), 13.8 points, 6.1 assists. 2 All Star games.

20. GUS WILLIAMS

USC

Scored 17 points (6-13 FG) with 4 rebounds in 97-84 win on Dec. 13, 1974 in Los Angeles.

NBA: 1975-87, 825 games (Golden State, Seattle, Washington, Atlanta), 17.1 points, 5.6 assists. 2 All Star games, 1981-82 Comeback Player of Year.

19. JACK RAMSAY

St. Joseph’s

Scored team-high 14 points at Convention Hall in Philadelphia in 49-38 win over Pack on Dec. 14, 1946.

NBA: Did not play in NBA. Head coach 1968-89 for Philadelphia, Portland, Buffalo, Indiana. Won 1977 NBA championship (Portland). Won 864 games. Member Naismith Hall of Fame.

18. REGGIE THEUS, UNLV

Played 4 games vs. Pack, averaging 9.5 points. Had 19 points, 11 rebounds on Dec. 14, 1977 in 77-64 win at UNLV.

NBA: 1978-91, 1,026 games (Chicago, Kansas city, Sacramento, Atlanta, Orlando, New Jersey); 18.5 points, 6.3 assists, 1,206 steals. 2 All Star games.

17. DETLEF SCHREMPF

Washington

23 points, 13 rebounds in 40 minutes in NCAA tournament victory over Pack on March 15, 1984 in Pullman, Wash.

NBA: 1985-01, 1,136 games (Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Indiana); 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists. 3 All Star games; NBA Sixth Man of Year in 1991 and 1992.

16. PAUL SILAS

Creighton

Silas faced the Pack 3 times, averaging 26.3 points. 30 points, 26 rebounds in 92-63 win on Dec. 23, 1963 in Reno. Also had 22 points, 24 rebounds in 76-69 win Jan. 27, 1962 and 27 points in 120-76 win Dec. 21, 1962.

NBA: 1964-80, 1,254 games (St. Louis, Phoenix, Boston, Denver, Seattle), 9.4 points, 9.9 rebounds. 2 All Star games. 11,782 points, 12,357 rebounds.

15. DERON WILLIAMS

Illinois

Scored 15 points with 10 assists, 4 rebounds in NCAA tournament on March 9, 2005 in Indianapolis.

NBA: 2005-17, 845 games (Utah, Cleveland, Dallas, Brooklyn, New Jersey); 16.3 points, 8.1 assists. 3 All Star games.

14. LARRY JOHNSON

UNLV

Scored 21 points (7-8 FG) in 131-81 win over Pack on Dec. 8, 1990 in Reno in front of 11,090.

NBA: 1992-01, No. 1 overall pick in 1991; 707 games (Charlotte, New York); 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists. 2 All Star games. 1991 Rookie of Year.

13. SHAWN MARION

UNLV

Scored 17 points (6-9 FG, 5-8 FT) with 11 rebounds and 4 blocks in 84-69 win Dec. 2, 1998 in Reno.

NBA: 1999-15, 1,163 games (Phoenix, Miami, Toronto, Dallas, Cleveland); 15.2 points, 8.7 rebounds. 4 All Star games.

12. TOM CHAMBERS

Utah

2 points, 5 rebounds in 80-70 win over Pack at Utah on Jan. 9, 1978 and 9 points, 6 rebounds in 71-68 win in Reno on Dec. 12, 1979.

NBA: 1981-98, 1,107 games (San Diego, Seattle, Phoenix, Utah, Charlotte, Philadelphia), 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds. 4 All Star games, 1987 All Star MVP.

11. KEVIN JOHNSON

Cal

Johnson played 4 games vs. Nevada from 1983-86, scoring 35 points and shooting 13-of-38 combined. He had 10 points, nine assists in 52-51 Cal win on Dec. 20, 1085.

NBA: 1987-00, 735 games (Cleveland, Phoenix), 17.9 points, 9.1 assists. 3 All Star games.

10. OTIS BIRDSONG

Houston

Averaged 19 points in three victories vs. Wolf Pack from 1973-76. Had 22 points in 103-74 win Jan. 25, 1975 at Houston and 21 points in 100-87 win at Houston Dec. 17, 1976.

NBA: 1977-89, 696 games (Kansas City, New Jersey, Boston), 18.0 points, 3.2 assists, 4 All Star games.

9. PAUL GEORGE

Fresno State

George played three games against the Pack (2008-10). He was scoreless (0-7 FG) with 7 rebounds, 4 steals in 68-66 Fresno win Feb. 26, 2009. George averaged 14 points, 8.3 rebounds in three games vs. Pack.

NBA: 2010-20, 646 games (Indiana, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles Clippers), 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds. 6 All Star games.

8. DICK MCGUIRE

St. John’s

Scored 7 points (3 FG, 1 FT) in 55-49 loss to Nevada in front of 18,222 at Madison Square Garden.

NBA: 1949-60, 738 games (New York, Detroit), 8.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists. 7 All Star games. Led NBA in assists in 1949-50. Member of Naismith Hall of Fame.

7. WALT BELLAMY

Indiana

Scored 26 points with 21 rebounds in 80-52 win over Nevada on Dec. 17. 1960 at Indiana’s Gladstein Fieldhouse.

NBA: 1961-75, 1,043 games (Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans), 20.1 points, 13.7 rebounds. 4 All Star games. Top pick of 1961 draft by Chicago Packers. 1962 Rookie of Year, member of Naismith Hall of Fame.

6. DENNIS JOHNSON

Pepperdine

Johnson had 27 points in 89-84 win Jan. 16, 1976 and 10 points in 83-66 win Feb. 20, 1976 vs. Nevada.

NBA: 1976-90, 1,100 games (Seattle, Phoenix, Boston), 14.1 points, 5.0 assists, 1.3 steals. 5 All Star games. 1979 NBA Finals MVP. Member of Naismith Hall of Fame.

5. CHET WALKER

Bradley

Scored 24 points (9 FG, 6 FT) in 95-59 Bradley win in Peoria. Ill., on Dec. 14, 1960.

NBA: 1962-75, 1,032 games (Syracuse, Philadelphia, Chicago), 18.2 points, 7.1 rebounds. 7 All Star games. Member of Naismith Hall of Fame.

4. CLYDE DREXLER

Houston

Scored 15 points (7-12 FG) and had 16 rebounds in 86-71 win over Pack on Dec. 23, 1980 at Centennial Coliseum.

NBA: 1983-98, 1,086 games (Portland, Houston), 20.4 points, 5.6 assists, 6.1 rebounds. 10 All Star games. Member of Naismith Hall of Fame.

3. STEVE NASH

Santa Clara

Had two points Dec. 15, 1992 in 81-68 win over Pack at Santa Clara in freshman year. As sophomore had 8 points on 3-of-15 shooting (2-of-11 on threes) in 71-65 overtime win over Pack in Reno.

NBA: 1996-14, 1,217 games (Phoenix, Dallas, Los Angeles Lakers), 14.3 points, 8.5 assists. 8 All Star games. NBA MVP in 2005 and 2006. Led NBA in assists five times. Member of Naismith Hall of Fame.

2. RICK BARRY

Miami

Scored 29 points, including six in overtime, in 64-63 win over Pack at Reno on Dec. 14, 1963. Crowd of 2,400 saw Barry make 10 FG, 9-10 FT.

NBA: 1965-67, 1972-80, 794 games (San Francisco, Golden State, Houston), 23.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists. 8 All Star games. 1965-66 Rookie of Year, 1975 Final MVP. Led NBA in scoring in 1966-67 (35.6). 1967 All Star MVP, led NBA in free throw percentage five times. Member of Naismith Hall of Fame.

1. JOHN STOCKTON

Gonzaga

Scored 15 points (5-10 FG) with 8 assists at Reno Sparks Convention Center in 71-67 Pack win on Dec. 20, 1982 in front of crowd of 3,346. The next night in Wolf Pack Classic in Reno he had 17 points, 8 assists against UC Irvine.

NBA: 1984-03, 1,504 games (Utah), 13.1 points, 10.5 assists. 10 All Star games, 1993 All Star MVP. NBA all-time leader in assists (15,806) and steals (3,265). Member of Naismith Hall of Fame.

40 WORTH REMEMBERING

• GREG ANTHONY, UNLV: 13 points vs. Pack on Dec. 8, 1990. NBA: 1991-02, averaged 7.3 points, 4.0 assists with 887 steals.

• STACEY AUGMON, UNLV: Had 29 points, 18 rebounds in 2 games vs. Pack. NBA: 1991-06, averaged 8.0 points with 974 steals.

• DENNIS AWTREY, Santa Clara: Played 4 games vs. Pack, averaging 18.5 points a game. NBA: 1970-82, 733 games, 3,342 rebounds, 3,516 points.

• THURL BAILEY, North Carolina State: 10 points, 7 rebounds vs. Pack on Dec. 17, 1979. NBA: 1983-99, 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds with 1,086 blocks, 928 games.

• MIKE BANTOM, St. Joseph’s: 17 points, 12 rebounds vs. Pack on Dec. 15, 1971. NBA: 1973-82, 12.1 points, 6.4 blocks.

• BRUCE BOWEN, Fullerton: 45 points in two games vs. Pack. NBA: 1996-09, 6.1 points with 712 steals. Named to 8 NBA All-Defense teams.

• SCOTT BROOKS, Irvine: 18 points on Dec. 28, 1985 vs. Pack. NBA: 1988-98, 1,608 assists, 480 steals, 680 games. NBA head coach for 11 seasons.

• KENNY CARR, North Carolina State: 16 points, 8 rebounds vs. Pack on Dec. 11, 1976. NBA: 1977-87, 11.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 674 games.

• MARIO CHALMERS, Kansas: 4 points, 4 assists vs. Pack on Dec. 1, 2005. NBA: 2008-18, 8.9 points, 3.7 assists, 950 steals, 646 games.

• CHRIS CHILDS, Boise State: 8 games vs. Pack, averaging 14.5 points. Scored 27 points Jan. 31, 1987 vs. Pack. NBA: 1994-03, 541 games, 6.9 points, 4.9 assists.

• JIM CHONES, Marquette: 14 points vs. Pack on Dec. 12, 1970 and 19 points, 11 rebounds on Jan. 11, 1972. NBA: 1972-82, 12.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 623 games.

• DOUG CHRISTIE, Pepperdine: 19 points vs. Pack on Dec. 3, 1991. NBA: 1992-07, 11.2 points, 1,555 steals, 2,992 assists.

• DARREN COLLISON, UCLA: 10 points vs. Pack on Dec. 10, 2005. NBA: 2009-19, 12.5 points, 5.0 assists.

• DARWIN COOK, Portland: Played 6 games vs. Pack 1977-79. Scored 27 points vs. Pack Jan. 4, 1979. NBA: 1980-89, 612 games, 9.5 points, 1,044 steals.

• WAYNE ELLINGTON, North Carolina: 38 points in 2 games vs. Pack in 2007, 2008. NBA: 2009-20, 681 games, 8.0 points, 371 steals.

• PERVIS ELLISON, Louisville: 12 points vs. Pack on Jan. 5, 1987 at Freedom Hall. NBA: 1989-01, 9.5 points, 6.7 rebounds. Top pick of 1989 draft.

• RICK FOX, North Carolina: 19 points with 11 rebounds vs. Pack Feb. 21, 1989 and had 4 points vs. Pack on Dec. 30, 1987. NBA: 1991-04, 9.6 points with 967 steals, 930 games.

• BEN GORDON, Connecticut: 37 points vs. Pack on Nov. 19, 2003. NBA: 2004-15, 14.9 points, 1,171 threes, 508 steals.

• SIDNEY GREEN, UNLV: Six games vs. Pack, averaging 20.9 points. Had 25 points, 24 rebounds on Dec. 7, 1979. NBA: 1983-93, 679 games, 5,080 points, 4,128 rebounds.

• ROD HIGGINS, Fresno State: 29 points on Nov. 28, 1981 and 21 points on Jan. 7, 1980 vs. Pack. NBA: 1982-95, 9.0 points, 779 games.

• LUCIOUS HARRIS, Long Beach State: 34 points on Jan. 14, 1993 and 29 points on Feb. 13, 1993 vs. Pack. NBA: 1993-05, 7.2 points with 556 steals in 800 games.

• KEVIN KUNNERT, Iowa: 24 points vs. Pack on Dec. 13, 1971. NBA: 1973-82, 555 games, 8.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 616 blocks.

• ZACH LAVINE, UCLA: 21 points for head coach Steve Alford on Nov. 29, 2013 in Las Vegas vs. Pack. NBA: 2014-20, 17.7 points.

• TYRONN LUE, Nebraska: 18 points in NIT game on March 18, 1997 vs. Pack. NBA: 1998-09, 8.5 points, 1,727 assists. Won 2016 NBA title with Cleveland as head coach.

• NATE McMILLAN, North Carolina State: 7 points vs. Pack in NCAA tournament March 15, 1985. NBA: 1986-98, 5.9 points, 6.1 assists. Head coach for 16 seasons.

• LAMOND MURRAY, Cal: 20 points vs. Pack on Nov. 22, 1991. NBA: 1994-06, 11.3 points over 736 games, 684 steals.

• LARRY NANCE JR.: 79 points, 53 rebounds combined in 6 games vs. Pack. NBA: 2015-20, 315 games, 8.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 162 blocks.

• EMEKA OKAFOR, Connecticut: 13 points vs. Pack on Nov. 19, 2003. NBA: 2004-18, 12 points, 9.7 rebounds over 616 games.

• JAWANN OLDHAM, Seattle: 13 points, 13 rebounds vs. Pack Jan. 26, 1978. Also had 10 points, 7 rebounds vs. Pack on Feb. 26, 1979 and 12 points, 6 rebounds March 3, 1977. NBA: 1980-91, 329 games, 549 blocks.

• MICHAEL OLOWOKANDI, Pacific: 59 points in 6 games vs. Pack. NBA: 1998-07, 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds over 500 games. Top pick in 1998 draft.

• BO OUTLAW, Houston: 4 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists vs. Pack Feb. 8, 1993. NBA: 1993-08, 914 games, 5.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1,193 blocks, 855 steals.

• J.R. REID, North Carolina: Two games vs. Pack, scoring 28 points with 15 rebounds combined. NBA: 1989-01, 8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds over 672 games.

• ISAIAH RIDER, UNLV: 102 points in three games vs. Pack. Had 44 on Feb. 25, 1993. NBA: 1993-02, 16.7 points, 563 games.

• BRYON RUSSELL, Long Beach State: 23 points in 2 games vs. Pack. NBA: 1993-06, 7.9 points, 874 steals over 841 games.

• RICKY SOBERS, UNLV: Averaged 21.3 points in 4 games vs. Pack. Had 30 on Feb. 25, 1975. NBA: 1975-86, 13.3 points over 821 games.

• LONNIE SHELTON, Oregon State: 17 points, 15 rebounds vs. Pack on Jan. 4, 1975. NBA: 1976-96, 1 All Star game. Averaged 12 points, 6.1 rebounds.

• DARNELL VALENTINE, Kansas: 27 points in 2 games vs. Pack. NBA: 1981-91. 8.7 points, 5.0 assists with 910 steals.

• FRED VANVLEET, Wichita State: 13 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals vs. Pack on Dec. 22, 2015. NBA: 2016-20, 225 games, 10.3 points, 232 steals.

• SPUD WEBB, North Carolina State: 11 points, 4 assists vs. Pack in NCAA tournament on March 15, 1985. NBA: 1985-98, 9.9 points, 5.3 assists, 814 games. 1986 Slam Dunk winner.

• SCOTT WILLIAMS, North Carolina: 25 points, 8 rebounds vs. Pack on Dec. 30, 1987. 11 points vs. Pack on Feb. 21, 1989. NBA: 1990-85, 3,825 points, 3,506 rebounds, 421 blocks, 746 games.