Kansas State Basketball: The Biggest NBA Success Stories in Wildcats History

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2014

Kansas State Basketball: The Biggest NBA Success Stories in Wildcats History

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    Kansas State may not be exactly known for churning out NBA talent, but a few familiar names were able to take their games to the next level after their career with the Wildcats. 

    There's Michael Beasley, who was drafted No. 2 overall by the Miami Heat. After going from Miami to Minnesota to Phoenix, he returned to the Heat and showed flashes of what made him the second pick. 

    There's Rolando Blackman, a four-time NBA All-Star. 

    The most notable, though, is Mitch Richmond, who was one of just two Wildcats to win an NBA championship and make an All-Star team and the only one to win Rookie of the Year. 

    With that, let's check out five of K-State's best NBA success stories. 

Cartier Martin

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    From 2003 to 2007, Cartier Martin was a household name in the Big 12. His best year was his junior season, when he averaged 18 points and nearly seven rebounds. 

    Now he has become somewhat of a journeyman in the NBA, proving to be a reliable role player off the bench. He spent time in Washington, Golden State and Chicago before finally settling in with the Atlanta Hawks. 

    This past season, he appeared in 53 games with the Hawks, averaging 5.9 points on 41 percent shooting with the team. 

    Martin is certainly no All-Star, but he's proving that he belongs in the league and is one of just two Wildcats who are currently in the NBA. 

Bob Boozer

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    The No. 1 overall pick in the 1959 NBA draft, Bob Boozer is one of the all-time greats for K-State. 

    Not only does he have his number retired with the Wildcats, but he also averaged 14.3 points over 11 seasons in the NBA. He made it to the All-Star Game in 1968 with the Chicago Bulls and won a championship in 1971 with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

    Boozer is one of just three top-two picks in the NBA draft in K-State history. 

Rolando Blackman

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    Drafted ninth overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 1981, Rolando Blackman is one of the best players ever to come from K-State in NBA history. 

    A four-time NBA All-Star, he spent 11 of his 13 seasons in the league with Dallas. From 1983 to 1992 he averaged at least 18 points per game. 

    He helped Dallas to six postseason appearances and left as the team's all-time leading scorer, a record that has since been broken only by Dirk Nowitzki. 

Michael Beasley

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    In 2007-08, Michael Beasley was arguably the best player in college basketball. 

    That led the Miami Heat to draft him No. 2 overall in the 2008 draft to play alongside Dwyane Wade. 

    In his second season in South Beach, Beasley averaged 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

    After the Heat acquired LeBron James and Chris Bosh, they sent Beasley and his contract to Minnesota. After problems with the law there, he got shipped to Phoenix. After he faced similar problems with marijuana possession, the Heat ended up taking Beasley back and relegating him to more of a role player position. 

    Still, he shined on occasion for the Eastern Conference champions this year, scoring in double figures 18 times despite having just 55 game appearances in the regular season. 

    How he fits into Miami's long-term plans remains to be seen, but it's clear that he's the best representative for K-State in the NBA today. 

Mitch Richmond

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    If you want to narrow down K-State's history of successful NBA players to one man, look no further than Mitch Richmond. 

    Far and away the best player to ever come out of the Little Apple, he was a six-time All-Star and finally captured his elusive NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001-02. 

    Over his career, Richmond averaged 21 points per game. He was also named the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1995 and the Rookie of the Year in 1989. He was featured as the cover athlete on NBA Live 97

    Since his retirement, the Sacramento Kings have retired his number after he spent seven illustrious years with the team.