LAS VEGAS -- Longtime fans of the UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball squad have enjoyed a quality product for decades, and it shows in the interest expressed by the National Basketball Association.
The NBA has drafted 47 UNLV players, including 13 in the first round. The earliest of those first round selections -- Ricky Sobers in 1975, Reggie Theus in 1978, Sidney Green in 1983, Anthony Jones in 1986 and Armon Gilliam in 1987 -- helped build the foundation for a program that won an NCAA crown in 1990 and is once again nationally ranked.
Here are the eight latest Rebels taken in the NBA's first round.
1. Marcus Banks -- The 13th pick in 2003, selected by the Memphis Grizzlies, was immediately traded to the Boston Celtics. As a point guard, Banks bounced around the league for eight years, mostly as a player off the bench. His best performance was during the 2005-2006 season, when he averaged 12 points and 4.7 assists per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also played for the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors through the 2010-2011 season, logging a 5.9 points-per-game average in 348 regular season games and a 4.2 points-per-game average in 13 playoff contests. On Nov. 12, Banks joined Panathinaikos Athens of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.
2. Shawn Marion -- Chosen ninth in 1999 by the Phoenix Suns, Marion has been one of the most successful Rebels in the NBA. A four-time league all-star, Marion was a member of the 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks squad that captured the NBA championship, and he remains on that team as both a small forward and power forward. He is one of only five players in league history who have at least 1,500 steals and 1,000 blocked shots, and on March 3 moved into 100th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Marion's best season statistically was in 2005-2006 with the Suns, when he averaged 21.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. In the first 13 years of his career, which also included brief stops in Miami and Toronto, Marion posted averages of 16.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in 963 regular season games and 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in 96 playoff contests.
3. Keon Clark -- The Orlando Magic selected the power forward as the 13th pick in 1998 but traded him to the Denver Nuggets. The best of his six seasons came during the 2001-2002 campaign with Toronto, where he posted averages of 11.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He also blocked 12 shots in a game in March 2001, the biggest contributor to what was then an NBA-record 23 blocked shots by a team in one game. But after brief stints with the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz, his career as a mostly backup player was over during the 2003-2004 season. He left with averages of 8.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in 353 regular season contests and 5.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in 28 playoff appearances. Clark hit on hard times after his playing days due to alcoholism. The Associated Press quoted him as telling an Illinois judge in 2007 that he never played a game sober, having made a habit of drinking gin during halftime of games. Clark was sentenced in 2010 to 33 months in prison for driving with a revoked license, paroled in January and arrested again in June in Illinois on charges of unlawful use of a firearm by an ex-felon.
4. Isaiah Rider -- Drafted fifth by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1993, the shooting guard and small forward had a solid career that began with his selection to the NBA's all-rookie first team in 1994 and his victory in the league's slam dunk competition the same year. His best performance statistically was with Minnesota in 1994-1995, when he tallied 20.4 points per game. Rider also played for the Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets during his nine-year career. He won a championship ring with the Lakers as a bench player in 2001, though he was left off the roster during the team's march through the playoffs. In 563 regular season games spanning nine seasons, Rider averaged 16.7 points per game. He also averaged 16.4 points per game in 21 playoff contests.
5. Elmore Spencer -- The 25th player drafted in 1992, Spencer played five seasons combined with the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics. Mostly a backup center, Spencer had his best season in 1993-1994, when he averaged 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for the Clippers. He wound up playing 157 regular season games, averaging 5.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Spencer went scoreless in three playoff games.
6. Larry Johnson -- One of the leaders of the 1990 championship team, Johnson was named the Naismith College Player of the Year in 1991. He also was the only Rebel ever to be taken first overall in the NBA draft, a feat he accomplished in 1991 when he was selected by the Charlotte Hornets. Playing both small forward and power forward, Johnson was NBA Rookie of the Year for the Hornets in the 1991-1992 season, averaging 19.2 points and 11 rebounds per game. A two-time NBA all-star, he played the second half of his 10-year career with the New York Knicks. Johnson was a member of the Knicks when that team lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the 1999 NBA Finals. He averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest over 707 regular season games, and 14.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 66 playoff appearances. Johnson rejoined the Knicks in April as the team's basketball and business operations representative, which includes a community relations role. He and other former Knicks have volunteered their time to help New Yorkers devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
7. Stacey Augmon -- Another leader of the 1990 title team, Augmon was taken ninth by the Atlanta Hawks in 1991. A small forward and shooting guard known for his defense, Augmon made the NBA all-rookie first team in 1992, when he averaged 13.3 points per game for the Hawks. His career turned out to be that of a journeyman who managed to play for 15 years, retiring at age 37. He also played for the Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte and New Orleans Hornets, and Orlando Magic. He averaged 8 points per game over 1,001 regular season contests, and six points per contest in 77 playoff appearances. After serving as an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets, Augmon is in his second season as an assistant to UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice.
8. Greg Anthony -- He became the third member of UNLV's 1990 championship team to be taken in the first round of the 1991 draft when he was selected 12th by the New York Knicks. As a point guard known for his defense, the Rancho High School graduate was a member of the 1993-1994 Knicks squad that lost in the 1994 NBA Finals to the Houston Rockets. His best season statistically was in 1995-1996, when he contributed 14 points and 6.9 assists per game with the Vancouver Grizzlies. Anthony, who played mostly as a substitute, also donned uniforms for the Seattle SuperSonics, Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks. In 757 regular season games he averaged 7.3 points and four assists per game. He also averaged 4.5 points per game in 102 playoff appearances. After retiring from the game, Anthony became a basketball analyst for ESPN, ABC and CBS. He joined the YES Network in November as an analyst for Brooklyn Nets games. A televised ad in which Anthony endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also aired frequently in southern Nevada this fall before Romney lost to President Barack Obama in November.
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