In February 2017, Edmond Sumner of Xavier University made news by declaring he would enter the NBA draft. There will undoubtedly be more Musketeers in "The Association" than just the sophomore guard.
However, to what extent have Xavier items been successful in higher markets? Unexpectedly, a few of the top names in basketball history haven't even cracked an NBA team.
For instance, Matt Stainbrook, a 6-foot-10 fan favourite, was the closest to participating in the NBA's summer league. In Europe currently, he plays professionally.
Romain Sato's NBA journey took an unexpected turn when he was released from the team roster without the chance to showcase his skills on the court, despite his impressive performance as the leading scorer for the Musketeers with an average of 15.4 points per game. This surprising decision came after the San Antonio Spurs had chosen him in the second round of the 2004 NBA Draft.
Even one of the most accomplished Xavier athletes in history, Byron Larkin, who has 2,696 points to his name and is ranked 23rd on the Division I men's lifetime scoring chart, never made an NBA squad.
Nevertheless, a few of the Musketeers have achieved success in the NBA. Will Sumner follow in their footsteps or, like some of his peers, find it difficult to create an impression in the league? With the NBA returning back to action in October, get our NBA Expert Picks to every night games at busr.ag
The top nine NBA careers of Xavier players are listed here, ordered by accomplishments, length, and production. It is also only based on NBA performance, not that of the D-League, Europe, or any other professional league.
9. Luther Rackley
Although the 6-foot-10 Rackley may not be well-known to Xavier supporters now, he played three strong seasons for the Musketeers in 1966–1969. His average was 12.7 rebounds and 15.4 points. His numbers were good enough for the hometown Cincinnati Royals to select him in the third round of the 1969 draft—yes, there were more than two rounds back then.
Rackley played for seven teams, including the Memphis Tams of the ABA, although his stats were not impressive. However, we'll rank Rackley ninth on the list for his achievements off the court because he has two movie credits. He acted in two motion pictures, "The Last Dinosaur" (1977) and "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh" (1979), which told the story of basketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving. That must have some value.
8. Dave Piontek
More of a throwback than Rackley, Piontek was a Musketeer for just one season, 1955–1956, with the team. In his lone season, the 6-foot-5 forward averaged 15.8 points and an incredible 15.3 rebounds.
The Rochester Royals, who would change their name to the Cincinnati Royals the next season, selected him in the third round of the 1956 NBA draft. During his five years with the Royals, Piontek averaged 7.8 points per game, which were his greatest seasons. During his eight-season career, he also played for the Chicago Zephyrs and the St. Louis Hawks.
But as far as we are aware, Piontek did not feature in any dinosaur-themed motion pictures.
7. Aaron Williams
And there's a name that fans of the present Muskies are perhaps more familiar with. Together with Brian Grant, the athletic 6-foot-9 power forward/centre created an intimidating front line in the early 1990s.
Williams had a strong career at Xavier but was not selected in the draft. Despite this, he went on to have one of the longest and busiest professional careers of any Xavier product. Williams played in the NBA for 14 seasons, travelling to ten different teams like a vagrant. During his longest stint, he averaged 7.2 points per game in 336 games with the New Jersey Nets. With the Nets, he attended the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. His time with the Denver Nuggets lasted just one game.
In 2004, he was also part of a significant transaction wherein the Nets sent superstar Vince Carter to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for a package.
Even though he moved around a lot, playing in the NBA for 714 games is no small accomplishment.
6. Derek Strong
The legendary Musketeer tournament teams of recent years owe a great deal to this Xavier athletics hall of famer. In his final season, 1990, the 6-foot-8 Strong guided Xavier to its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance. He also had some incredible performances, such as a 24-point, 24-rebound performance against Loyola Marymount.
The Philadelphia 76ers selected Strong 47th overall in the 1990 NBA Draft, but he was dismissed in 1992 after he never saw action.
Similar to Williams, Strong had a career full of ups and downs, spending ten seasons with six different organizations. His greatest season was 1997–98 when he played 58 games for the Orlando Magic and averaged 12.7 points and 7.4 rebounds.
5. Jordan Crawford
Crawford, who is currently the first player on an NBA roster, attended Xavier for a brief but incredible time.
Crawford joined the Muskies in 2009–10 and averaged 20.5 points after leaving Indiana University due to a coaching controversy that shook the program. With 32 points in a double-overtime defeat to No. 2-seeded Kansas State in the Sweet 16, his final game was probably his best.
Crawford was motivated to enter the draft by his strong season. The New Jersey Nets selected him in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft, and the Atlanta Hawks acquired him right away. He has moved around a lot since then. Currently, in his ninth season, he has played for five different teams. He has been a reliable NBA scorer despite his travels, averaging 12.2 points over his career.
He will always be remembered, though, for the summer league game he played in as a college student and dunked on LeBron James. Nike made an effort to hide it from the public since King James found it to be extremely embarrassing. Well done on the attempt.
4. James Posey
Numerous rings are proof of this former Musketeer's outstanding NBA career. From 1996 to 1999, the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 15.3 points per game for Xavier, establishing himself as one of the best sixth men in college basketball and a formidable defensive player. He was a threat offensively as well.
Posey was traded to the Houston Rockets after playing a key role for the Denver Nuggets for four seasons. Posey was the 18th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. He played thirteen seasons for seven different teams.
Among those teams, two were distinct. Posey was a member of the Miami Heat team that defeated the Dallas Mavericks in 2006 to win the NBA title, along with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal. When Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett led the Boston Celtics to victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008, Posey was a member of a championship team once more. Posey made a significant contribution to both teams.
In 2016, he was a Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach and also earned a ring.
3. Brian Grant
Grant is among the greatest Musketeers of all time. Over his four years at Xavier, the Georgetown, Ohio native and two-time Midwestern Collegiate Conference player of the year concluded with over 1,700 points and 1,000 rebounds.
A member of the NBA's all-rookie first team, Grant was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the eighth overall pick in the 1994 draft. Standing at 6-foot-9 and 254 pounds, he was a key asset with five different teams throughout his 12-season career due to his ability to rebound. In 2002–03, he averaged a double-double for the Miami Heat (10.3 points and 10.2 rebounds), and in six other seasons, he scored in double figures.
Grant was given a Parkinson's disease diagnosis in 2008. To assist those suffering from the illness, he founded the Brian Grant Foundation.
2. Tyrone Hill
He is a graduate of Withrow High School and one of the greatest rebounders in NCAA history. With an incredible 2,003 points and 1,380 rebounds by the end of his Xavier career, Hill was a member of the school's inaugural NCAA tournament squad in 1987 as well as its inaugural Sweet 16 squad, which included Strong, in 1990. As a result, the 6-foot-9 power forward was selected by the Golden State Warriors with the 11th overall pick in the 1990 NBA lottery, becoming the first selection from Xavier.
Hill played for five NBA teams throughout his excellent 14-year career. During his six seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he averaged 10.8 points and 9.2 rebounds, which were his greatest years. While playing for the Cavaliers in 1994–95, he was also selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team.
With Golden State in 1991–1992, Hill led the NBA in personal fouls, demonstrating his willingness to take it to the next level.
He also played for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001, a team that lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
1. David West
One may argue that West is the best player in the history of the Musketeers. The 6-foot-9 forward was chosen for the first team of the All-America squad and was the 2002–03 consensus national player of the year. He finished with a dazzling 2,132 points and 1,308 rebounds in his career and won three Atlantic 10 Player of the Year titles.
It's undeniable that West is the greatest NBA player to have ever come out of Xavier. Playing for the Golden State Warriors, West, who was selected by the New Orleans Hornets with the 18th overall pick in 2003, recently concluded his 14th season. Only he from Xavier has been selected to the NBA All-Star team twice, in 2008 and 2009.
Throughout his career, West has averaged 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds, breaking the 20-point threshold in his All-Star seasons. With the Warriors going 16-1 in the 2017 postseason and defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the NBA Finals, he can now add a championship ring to his resume. West, who appeared in all 17 of the Warriors' games, was a vital player off the bench, averaging 13 minutes and 4.5 points per contest.
West hasn't forgotten his Xavier heritage either. He spoke to the squad after the Musketeers overcame Arizona in the Sweet 16 and advanced to the Elite 8 in San Jose.