A Look At How Ohio State's Previous Second-Round NBA Draft Picks Have Fared

By Dan Hope on June 22, 2018 at 8:35 am
Deshaun Thomas
Deshaun Thomas

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, former Ohio State basketball player Keita Bates-Diop slid all the way to the No. 48 overall pick before being selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round of Thursday night’s 2018 NBA draft.

As a result, Bates-Diop will likely have to compete just to make the Timberwolves’ roster rather than receiving the guaranteed contract that comes with being a first-round pick.

Historically, the odds of a second-round draft pick having a prolific career in the NBA aren’t great. Some of them never even play in the NBA, and most of them who do are career backups.

With that being said, Ohio State has had a couple second-round draft picks who have gone on to have noteworthy NBA careers – including one of the most successful second-rounders since the turn of the century – and Bates-Diop will look to follow in their footsteps as he takes his game to the next level.

In total, Ohio State has had 10 players selected in the second round of the NBA draft. To get an idea of the odds that Bates-Diop might be up against, we take a look at how each of those previous nine have fared.

Michael Redd, No. 43 Overall Pick, Milwaukee Bucks, 2000

While Michael Redd isn’t Ohio State’s most recent second-round draft pick before Bates-Diop, he is by far the Buckeyes’ most successful second-round pick, so we start with him.

Despite falling into the middle of the second round of the 2000 NBA draft, Redd went on to have a 12-year career in the league, highlighted by his 2003-04 season, when he was an All-Star and earned All-NBA third team honors.

Redd was the Milwaukee Bucks’ leading scorer for six straight seasons from 2003-04 to 2008-09 – averaging more than 21 points per game in each of those seasons – and averaged 19 points per game for his 629-game career as a whole.

Redd was also a member of the United States’ 2008 national team that won gold at the Beijing Olympics.

Lawrence Funderburke, No. 51 Overall Pick, Sacramento Kings, 1994

Outside of Redd, Lawrence Funderburke is Ohio State’s only other second-round pick who has played more than five seasons in the NBA – and even he had to spend three years developing his game in Europe before playing for the team that drafted him.

While Funderburke was selected by the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the 1994 NBA draft, he didn’t make his debut for the Kings until 1997, first spending three years overseas with four different teams before making the Kings’ regular-season roster.

Once Funderburke made it to the Kings, however, he put together a solid NBA career, playing six seasons in Sacramento. Funderburke averaged 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in his first season as a backup power forward for the Kings, and 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in his subsequent season.

Funderburke’s numbers declined from there, however, and after missing the entire 2003-04 season with an Achilles injury, Funderburke appeared in just two more NBA games with the Chicago Bulls in 2004-05.

Granville Waiters, No. 39 Overall Pick, Portland Trail Blazers, 1983

While Granville Waiters never played a game for the team that drafted him, he did spend five seasons in the NBA after being selected in the second round of the 1983 NBA draft.

The former Ohio State center spent his first two NBA seasons with the Indiana Pacers, averaging 3.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as a rookie in 1983-84 and 3.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in 1984-85. After that, Waiters spent one season with the Houston Rockets, but played only sparingly, averaging just 0.6 points and 0.7 rebounds per game.

Waiters spent his final two NBA seasons with the Bulls, averaging 1.9 points and two rebounds per game in 1986-87 and 0.8 points and 1.3 rebounds per game in 1987-88, before finishing out his professional basketball career with two years in Spain.

Dave Sorenson, No. 26 Overall Pick, Cleveland Cavaliers, 1970

Dave Sorenson spent three years in the NBA after being selected in the second round of the 1970 draft, putting together his best NBA season as a rookie, when he averaged 11.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sorenson followed that up by averaging seven points and four rebounds per game during the 1971-72 season.

After just 10 games in the 1972-73 season, however, Sorenson was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Sorenson averaged 5.4 points and 3.6 rebounds for the season as a whole between the two teams, but never played in the NBA again after that year, instead playing out the rest of his professional basketball career in Italy.

Sorenson died in 2002 after a battle with cancer.

Deshaun Thomas, No. 58 Overall Pick, San Antonio Spurs, 2013

Ohio State’s most recent second-round pick prior to Bates-Diop, Deshaun Thomas has yet to play in an NBA regular-season game. Since being drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in 2013, Thomas has spent the majority of the past five years playing internationally.

Following one-year stints with JSF Nanterre in France and FC Barcelona in Spain, Thomas returned to the United States to suit up for the Spurs in 2015. Thomas was waived by the Spurs, however, after playing in just two preseason games for the team, and spent the 2015-16 season playing for the Spurs’ G League affiliate in Austin.

Since then, Thomas has returned to international basketball, playing for Anadolu Efes in Turkey in 2016-17 and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel this past season. Thomas has performed well overseas – leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to a league championship earlier this month – but as of now, a career in the NBA does not appear imminent.

Jon Diebler, No. 51 Overall Pick, Portland Trail Blazers, 2011

Like Thomas, Diebler has never played in an NBA regular-season game despite being selected in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft, instead spending the last seven years playing overseas.

After beginning his international career with Panionios in Greece, Diebler has spent the last six seasons playing in Turkey, most recently with Besiktas. Diebler previously spent three years playing for Pinar Karsiyaka, winning a league championship in his final season with that team in 2015.

Diebler is also set for his second year playing in The Basketball Tournament with Scarlet & Gray, a team of Ohio State alumni that made the semifinals of the tournament in its debut last year. As of now, however, it does not appear likely that Diebler will ever play in the NBA.

Jon Diebler
Jon Diebler has played professionally in Turkey and participated in The Basketball Tournament, but has never played in the NBA.

Ken Johnson, No. 48 Overall Pick, Miami Heat, 2001

Ken Johnson played in just 16 games for the Miami Heat during the 2002-03 season, averaging two points and two rebounds per game. The former Ohio State center went on to play for several teams in the D-League and a multitude of teams internationally, but never made it back to the NBA.

Scoonie Penn, No. 57 Overall Pick, Atlanta Hawks, 2000

The second-to-last pick in the 2000 NBA draft, Penn was another second-rounder who never played in an NBA game, playing nearly his entire 11-year professional basketball career internationally with the exception of a brief stint with the D-League’s Asheville Attitude.

Penn has since returned to Ohio State to become the basketball program’s director of player development.

Allen Hornyak, No. 26 Overall Pick, Cleveland Cavaliers, 1973

A three-time All-Big Ten shooting guard for the Buckeyes, Hornyak never played professional basketball despite being selected in the second round of the 1973 draft by the Cavaliers.

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