Louisville’s Ray Spalding was drafted 56th by the Philadelphia 76ers last night and his playing rights were immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks also acquired Euro guard Luka Doncic via trade from the Atlanta Hawks earlier in the evening and drafted Jalen Brunson from Villanova.
Ray is the 75th Louisville Cardinal to be drafted to play in the NBA, the former Trinity High School product was an All-ACC Honorable Mention selection, Spalding averaged 12.3 points and 8.7 rebounds as a junior last season with 62 blocked shots and a team-high 54 steals. A three-time All-ACC Academic team choice, he was sixth in the ACC and 54th in the nation in rebounding, averaging 8.7 per game — nearly double his average from his sophomore year (5.5). Spalding was also among the ACC leaders in steals (10th, 1.5 per game), blocked shots (ninth, 1.72) and offensive rebounding (third, 3.14 per game, 33rd in the nation).
The 6-10 Louisville native had 11 double-doubles for the season (sixth-most in the ACC) and 13 in his career. He scored a career-high 23 points with 12 rebounds at Notre Dame on Jan. 16. He chose to enter the 2018 NBA Draft following his junior season.
Louisville is the only school in the nation to have players drafted in both the last five NFL drafts and the last five NBA drafts.
A total of 75 former Louisville players have been selected in the NBA Draft, including seven in the last five years. In addition to Spalding, those recent picks include Donovan Mitchell (2017, 1st round, 13th overall selection, Denver Nuggets), Chinanu Onuaku (2016, 2nd round, 37th overall, Houston Rockets), Terry Rozier (2015, 1st round, 16th, Boston Celtics), Montrezl Harrell (2015, 2nd, 32nd, Houston Rockets), Russ Smith (2nd, 47th, Philadelphia 76ers), Gorgui Dieng (2013, 1st, 21st, Utah Jazz) and Peyton Siva (2013, 2nd, 56th, Detroit Pistons). Former Cardinal Mangok Mathiang made the Charlotte Hornets team in 2017 as an undrafted free agent following his senior season at UofL.
Louisville has produced 25 first-round NBA Draft choices, including 12 in the top ten and six among the top three picks (Pervis Ellison first in 1989; Wes Unseld second in 1968; Darrell Griffith second in 1980; Charlie Tyra second in 1957; Rodney McCray third in 1983; George Hauptfuhrer third in 1948).