Kansas consensus All-American Thomas Robinson heads a group of nine star basketball players from the Big 12 taken in the 2012 NBA Draft on Thursday, including three first-round selections.
Robinson, who led the Jayhawks to the NCAA Championship game last season against eventual national champion Kentucky, was the No. 1 pick of the Sacramento Kings (formerly the Kansas City Kings) and the fifth overall selection.
After hearing his name called out by NBA commissioner David Stern, Robinson looked visibly relieved. He had a hard time fighting back tears and the overwhelming joy of the moment. when asked by an ESPN reporter what it felit like to be the fifth overall pick in the draft, about all Robinson could get out was, "I'm just happy to be here, man. Thank God."
Joining Robinson in the opening round of the draft were forward Royce White of Iowa State, selected 16th overall by the Houston Rockets, and Baylor forward Perry Jones III, picked late in the first round, 28th, by the 2012 NBA runner-up Oklahoma City Thunder. It was the second time in three years that an Iowa State player has been picked in the first round.
After Jones' selection by the Thunder, two of his Baylor teammates were the next two picks from the Big 12. Quincy Acy was the 37th player taken in the draft and the second selection of the Toronto Raptors. Immediately following Acy, Baylor's Quincy Miller's name was called, the 38th overall pick, as the second-round selection of the Denver Nuggets.
The Big 12 also had the 39th, 41st and 44th selections in the 2012 draft: 39. Khris Middleton of Texas A&M (Detroit Pistons), 41. Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas (Portland Trail Blazers) and 44. Missouri's Kim English (Detroit Pistons). After selecting Taylor, Portland executed a trade, sending the former Jayhawk point guard to the Brooklyn Nets, which ends up putting Taylor closer to home. He is from Hoboken, N.J.
English's teammate at Mizzou, Marcus Denmon, from Kansas City, was the 59th overall selection, the second-round pick of the San Antonio Spurs.
In the past five years, 40 players from the Big 12 have been drafted by NBA teams, the most of any college conference in the country.
This marks the fourth time in the last five years that seven or more Big 12 players have been selected in the draft, and at least four players have been taken in the draft every year for the past nine seasons. There has been at least one top-10 draft selection from a Big 12 school in 12 of the past 16 seasons (since the Big 12 was formed), and at least one first-round pick in 15 of those years.
In the Big 12 era, Kansas leads all conference schools with 23 players drafted. Texas is the Jayhawks nearest challenger in this department with 16, followed by Iowa State with eight, Oklahoma and Missouri seven, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M five each, Colorado four, Texas Tech three, and Kansas State and Nebraska with two. Overall 87 players from the Big 12 have taken in the NBA draft since the Big 12 came into existence.
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