Not only did the BIG EAST lead all conferences in representation in the two-round, 60-pick draft. The 11 BIG EAST draftees were among the top 40 selections. The league had seven players taken in the first round, which is also a conference record. The previous first-round high was six in 1996. In addition, the 11 selections this year is a BIG EAST mark since the NBA Draft was reduced to two rounds in 1988.
Villanova’s Randy Foye, the BIG EAST Player of the Year, was the first to go, tabbed seventh overall by the Boston Celtics. Foye was immediately part of a trade frenzy that included five of the top 10 picks. The former Wildcat guard was dealt twice and landed with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With the eighth pick, the Houston Rockets took Connecticut’s Rudy Gay, then traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies. Gay was the first of four first-round picks for the Huskies, which tied an NBA Draft record. The other first-round UConn players were center Hilton Armstrong (12th-New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets), guard Marcus Williams (22nd-New Jersey Nets) and forward/center Josh Boone (23rd-New Jersey Nets).
Quincy Douby of Rutgers, the BIG EAST’s 2005-06 scoring champion, went 19th to the Sacramento Kings. It was the first time since 1983 that Rutgers had a first-round selection.
Immediately after the Nets tabbed Marcus Williams and Josh Boone, the Memphis Grizzlies grabbed Villanova guard Kyle Lowry in the 23rd slot. Lowry will be a teammate of Gay.
BIG EAST players also went in the first three selections of the second round. The Portland Trail Blazers took Cincinnati’s James White with the 31st overall selection then sent him to the Indiana Pacers. The Houston Rockets made Marquette’s Steve Novak the 32nd selection. The Atlanta Hawks chose USF’s Solomon Jones 33rd.
The final BIG EAST player selected was UConn’s Denham Brown who was taken with the 40th pick by the Seattle Supersonics. The five Connecticut draft selections give the Husky program 26 all-time BIG EAST picks which ties Syracuse for the league lead.
are the 11 BIG EAST players selected in the 2006 NBA Draft:
Pick Player, School
Randy Foye, Villanova
Boston Celtics (traded to Minnesota Timberwolves via
Rockets (traded to Memphis Grizzlies)
New Orleans/Oklahoma City
Portland Trail Blazers (traded to Indiana Pacers)