For the first time in school history, two Badgers were selected in the first round of the same NBA Draft, as Frank Kaminsky went ninth overall to the Charlotte Hornets and Sam Dekker was taken 18th by the Houston Rockets at the 2015 NBA Draft inside the Barclays Center on Thursday night.
“This is a very proud moment for the University of Wisconsin basketball program to have two guys go in the first round. That is special,” head coach Bo Ryan said. “And who knows, we may have some other guys that maybe didn’t go in the first round but still might end up playing at the highest level. I wouldn’t be surprised. But I’m very proud of Frank and Sam and I’m sure everyone else takes the same pride in their accomplishments and now they’ve been rewarded professionally.”
Kaminsky becomes the highest drafted Badger and the first NBA Lottery pick from UW since Devin Harris went No. 5 overall in 2004 to Washington and was subsequently traded to Dallas.
Dekker and Kaminsky are Wisconsin’s first opening-round picks since Alando Tucker was taken 29th by Phoenix in the 2007 draft.
Wisconsin became just the 10th Big Ten team to have two first-round draft picks in the same NBA Draft since 1995.
Dekker and Kaminsky become the eighth and ninth Badgers to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft in school history.
Few players in the country entered the 2014-15 season with as much hype and promise as senior Frank Kaminsky. Somehow, the 7-footer managed to exceed those lofty expectations, becoming a consensus national player of the year and leading the Badgers in one of the greatest seasons in program history.
The first player in Wisconsin history to win national player of the year, Kaminsky filled his mantle with the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, Oscar Robertson Trophy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award. He was named national player of the year by the Associated Press, Sporting News and USA Today. A consensus first-team All-American, Kaminsky became just the third Big Ten Player of the Year in UW history.
Simply put, Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky did it all for Wisconsin and drove the Badgers to both the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships, then back to the Final Four and the national championship game. The Lisle, Illinois, native led UW in nearly every major category: points, rebounds, assists, blocks, field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage, free throws and free throw attempts.
A preseason Wooden Award and Naismith Award candidate, Sam Dekker produced a junior season worthy of consensus 2015 Second-Team All-Big Ten selection and a postseason outburst that earned him 2015 NCAA West Region’s Most Outstanding Player recognition. The in-state product from Sheboygan led the Badgers back to the Final Four for a second-consecutive season and the national championship game in 2015.
After a summer impressing at both the Kevin Durant and LeBron James Skills Academies, Dekker carried momentum into the 2014-15 campaign and became just the eighth player in UW history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in just three seasons. The athletic wing finished his UW career ranked 15th with 1,363 career points.