After Thursday night, Arizona Wildcats basketball has now produced 36 NBA draft picks since 1988 which is tied for the most of any school in the nation in that time frame. 65 draft picks total since 1948.
The first selected in 2013, a player that saw steady growth each and every season he suited up with the Wildcats, forward Solomon Hill by the Indiana Pacers. He becomes the 18th first round draft pick in school history.
“It feels great to be a first-round draft pick, and it’s very humbling,” Hill said. “I’ve learned that you have to focus on being the best player you can be and do the little things to help your team win. That’s something Coach (Sean) Miller helped me focus on over the last few seasons, and it’s great to see the hard work pay off.”
Hill was a two-time All-Pac-12 first team selection and led the Wildcats to a pair of Sweet 16 appearances. He goes into a great situation joining a team fresh off an Eastern Conference appearances and a great young core with Roy Hibbert, Paul George, Danny Granger, George Hill and more.
“I love the position I’m in. The Pacers are a great team that competes for championships. I now get the chance to learn from their older guys, so I have a chance to carve out a role and do whatever I can to help the team be successful.”
“Our congratulations go out to Solomon on being the 23rd selection in tonight’s draft by the Indiana Pacers,” said Arizona head coach Sean Miller. “Each year that Solomon played at the U of A, he improved his game. His desire to excel, competitive spirit, basketball intelligence and team-centered attitude are unmatched. Those characteristics will continue to serve him well on the professional level. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll have a successful career in the NBA.”
Hill shares the program record for games played with Kyle Fogg (139), and also ranks third in UA history in games started (129), sixth in minutes played (4,030), 10th in rebounds (773) and 20th in scoring (1,430).
Also drafted in the second round of the draft is forward/center Jerrett who declared for the draft after his freshman season. He averaged 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while leading the team in blocks with an average of 1.0 per game. He shot 40.5 percent from the arc and 81.8 percent from the line in 34 games in in Tucson.
“I want to congratulate Grant on being selected with the 40th pick by the Portland Trail Blazers tonight,” Sean Miller said. “Although he was part of our program for a short period of time, he demonstrated a multitude of talents as a player. His high skill level, strong work ethic and unique size give him a very bright future in the NBA. I’m excited to watch him continue to develop, and I look forward to watching him reach his vast potential.”
Shortly after selected by Portland, Jerrett was then traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and will now suit up with another former Pac-12 player in Russell Westbrook and one of the game’s elite players, Kevin Durant who are eyeing a return to the Western Conference Finals in 2014.
Jerrett became the 12th underclassman in the history of Arizona to be drafted. The last was Derrick Williams in 2011. It is the third Arizona player recruited by Sean Miller to be selected in the NBA Draft.
Arizona Athletics did a complete breakdown of all the NBA draft picks in this graphic: