Hartman: Local NBA draft picks were once the norm

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2014 - 12:06 AM

In the 1940s and ’50s, the Lakers won titles with a roster featuring many players from Minnesota.

hide

Vern Mikkelsen -- former Hamline star, Minneapolis Laker great and NBA Hall of Famer -- in a 2006 file photo.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

An issue has been made over the fact that the Gophers have not had a player selected in the NBA draft since 2004 when Kris Humphries was selected 14th overall by the Utah Jazz.

But if you look back to the George Mikan days with the Lakers, from 1948 to 1957 there were at least three local college players on the Minneapolis Lakers roster alone each season. During that period, the Lakers went 380-240, a .613 winning percentage, and won five NBA championships.

Using their territorial pick in 1949, the Lakers selected Vern Mikkelsen, who had played at Hamline. Two years later they took Whitey Skoog, a Gophers guard, and in 1955 they selected Dick Garmaker, also from the Gophers.

But even outside of the territorial picks, which helped NBA teams acquire popular local college players before the regular draft began, the Lakers grabbed a number of local college stars. In 1950 they used a second-round pick on Hal Haskins of Hamline. Haskins never played for the Lakers, but two other later local picks from that year did: fifth-rounder Bud Grant from the Gophers and seventh-rounder Joe Hutton from Hamline.

In 1953 they drafted another Hamline player, Jim Fritsche. The following year, they picked Gophers center Ed Kalafat. And in ’55, the same year they selected Garmaker, they drafted Chuck Mencel from the Gophers.

That’s nine local draft picks from 1949 to ’55.

Mikkelsen, who grew up north of the Twin Cities in little Askov, Minn., essentially invented the power forward position and is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was a six-time All-Star who averaged 14.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

Haskins grew up in Alexandria and passed on playing for the Lakers, instead deciding to play for the St. Paul Lights of the National Professional Basketball League, only to have the franchise fold midseason.

Grant was selected by both the Lakers and the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL draft. He averaged 2.6 points off the bench in two seasons with the Lakers, winning an NBA title as a rookie, before deciding to play football instead and eventually becoming the Hall of Fame coach of the Vikings.

Hutton, who would become the Minneapolis North boys’ basketball coach later in life, played three seasons with the Lakers and averaged 2.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game, winning a title with the 1952 squad.

Skoog was a Brainerd native who played with the Lakers from 1951 to ’57, winning three titles with the Lakers. He averaged 8.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 points per game.

Fritsche was selected seventh overall and played parts of two seasons with the Lakers, the Baltimore Bullets and the Fort Wayne Pistons. He averaged 3.9 points and 3.3 rebounds.

Kalafat, grew up in Montana before coming to the University of Minnesota, and played for three years with the Lakers before joining the Army. He averaged 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, and he also ended his military career with the rank of captain.

Garmaker, an All-America with the Gophers who grew up in Hibbing, was a four-time NBA All-Star and averaged 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists over seven seasons.

Mencel was the Big Ten MVP in his senior season with the Gophers in 1955, and the Lakers took him in the second round. He played three seasons with the team, averaging 7.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.

The difference, though, is that all of those local college stars were mostly local high school products as well, and they stayed in town to attend college here. The Gophers had only one player on their roster who was from Minnesota last year, Joey King, an Eastview High School alum who transferred here after one season at Drake.

Mbakwe with Lakers

Incidentally, there will be a local high school and college product playing with the Lakers summer league team.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - J. Peavy 7:07 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 6:00 PM
Orlando
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Boston
Washington 6:30 PM
New York
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Memphis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Atlanta 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Portland 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Phoenix 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Anaheim
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close