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

Atlanta 4 Bottom 8th Inning
Detroit 3
Philadelphia 1 Top 9th Inning
Houston 6
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Miami 1
Baltimore 1 Top 9th Inning
Tampa Bay 1
NY Yankees 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Chicago Cubs 0 Top 2nd Inning
San Francisco 0
Los Angeles 1 Bottom 4th Inning
Chicago WSox 0
San Diego 0 Top 3rd Inning
Seattle 1
Cleveland 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Cincinnati 1
Milwaukee 0 Top 3rd Inning
LA Angels 0
Oakland 0 Top 3rd Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
Texas 0 Top 1st Inning
Kansas City 0
Colorado 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Arizona 1
NY Mets 4:05 PM
Washington
Boston 6:05 PM
Minnesota
Toronto 6:05 PM
Baltimore
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Chicago
Dallas 9:30 PM
Portland
Calgary 6:00 PM
Boston
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Washington
Toronto 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Dallas 6:30 PM
Florida
NY Islanders 7:00 PM
Nashville
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Arizona
Montreal 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Morgan State 3:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Niagara 4:00 PM
Siena
Holy Cross 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Navy 6:00 PM
Colgate
Temple 6:00 PM
East Carolina
UAB 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Lafayette
American Univ 6:00 PM
Lehigh
Wisconsin 6:00 PM
Minnesota
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Saint Peters
Arkansas 6:00 PM
South Carolina
Morehead State 6:00 PM
UT Martin
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
North Florida
Southern Ill 6:05 PM
Missouri State
Texas State 6:30 PM
Appalachian St
SC State 6:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Delaware State 6:30 PM
Coppin State
Middle Tennessee 6:30 PM
FIU
Texas-Arlington 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Norfolk State 6:30 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 6:30 PM
NC Central
Savannah State 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Georgia State 7:00 PM
ULM
Marshall 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Rice 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
Louisiana
South Alabama 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
Alabama State 7:30 PM
Grambling St
Alabama A&M 7:30 PM
Jackson State
Sam Houston St 7:30 PM
Lamar
Central Arkansas 7:30 PM
Nicholls
Portland State 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Southern U 7:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Texas Southern
Houston Baptist 7:30 PM
TX A&M-CC
SE Louisiana 7:45 PM
New Orleans
California 8:00 PM
Arizona
Eastern Ill 8:00 PM
Belmont
Memphis 8:00 PM
Connecticut
VA Commonwealth 8:00 PM
Davidson
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Marist 8:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northwestern St 8:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
North Texas 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 8:00 PM
Washington
Idaho 8:00 PM
Weber State
Abilene Christian 8:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Eastern Wash 8:05 PM
Idaho State
Bradley 8:35 PM
Drake
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Long Beach State
UC Riverside 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Stanford 10:00 PM
Arizona State
Utah 10:00 PM
Washington St
Monmouth 68 FINAL
Canisius 56
Wake Forest 85 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 79
Saint Louis 65 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 58
Saint Peters 62 FINAL
Rider 54
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
Liberty 59
UNC Greensboro 44 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 78
Michigan State 69 FINAL
Michigan 49
Arkansas 72 FINAL
Ole Miss 61
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Niagara 57
Massachusetts 63 FINAL
Richmond 67
Virginia 52 FINAL
Miami-Florida 62
Jacksonville St 45 FINAL
Belmont 55
Morgan State 65 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 50
Furman 65 FINAL
Samford 54
Campbell 48 2nd Half 7:30
Winthrop 40
Oregon 44 2nd Half 13:16
Washington St 46
Indiana 28 2nd Half
(23) Rutgers 37
Pepperdine 27 2nd Half
Loyola Marymount 34
Auburn 10 1st Half 9:28
(18) Texas A&M 15
Morehead St 3:00 PM
Tennessee St
George Mason 3:30 PM
Saint Josephs
Western Carolina 3:30 PM
East Tenn St
Arizona 4:00 PM
UCLA
Texas State 4:00 PM
Appalachian St
TX-Arlington 4:00 PM
Georgia Southern
SC State 4:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Delaware State 4:30 PM
Coppin State
Portland 4:30 PM
Santa Clara
Norfolk State 4:30 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 4:30 PM
NC Central
Savannah State 5:00 PM
Florida A&M
Virginia Tech 5:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Central Arkansas 5:00 PM
Nicholls
Houston Baptist 5:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Radford
Georgia 5:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 5:00 PM
Marshall
Ark-Little Rock 5:00 PM
Louisiana
South Alabama 5:05 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 5:15 PM
ULM
Sam Houston St 5:30 PM
Lamar
SE Louisiana 5:30 PM
New Orleans
Northwestern St 5:30 PM
Stephen F Austin
Alabama A&M 5:30 PM
Jackson State
Alabama State 5:30 PM
Grambling
Southern U 5:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Texas Southern
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Wofford 5:45 PM
Mercer
Abilene Christian 6:00 PM
Incarnate Word
La Salle 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Illinois 6:00 PM
Nebraska
TX-San Antonio 6:00 PM
Rice
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
Oakland
Missouri State 6:05 PM
Indiana State
Georgia Tech 7:00 PM
(15) North Carolina
Presbyterian 7:00 PM
High Point
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
UAB
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
North Texas
Wichita State 7:00 PM
Evansville
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Bradley 7:05 PM
Drake
Vanderbilt 7:30 PM
(12) Kentucky
Colorado 8:00 PM
USC
San Francisco 8:00 PM
Pacific
FIU 8:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
Weber State 8:00 PM
Idaho
Purdue 8:25 PM
Minnesota
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Long Beach St 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Hawaii 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Northern Ariz 9:00 PM
Portland State
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Utah 10:30 PM
Washington
BYU 10:30 PM
St Marys-CA
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close