Two University of Louisville men’s basketball players were selected in the 2015 NBA Draft Thursday night.
Guard Terry Rozier was selected in the first round by the Boston Celtics as the 16th overall pick in the draft, while forward Montrezl Harrell was taken in the second round by the Houston Rockets as the 32nd selection.
“We are so excited and so happy for Terry.,” said UofL Coach Rick Pitino. “He’s one of the hardest workers with the most professional attitude any coach could want. He is just scratching his potential and will work his tail off for the Celtics. All of Card Nation is thrilled for him.”
“We’re all surprised that Montrezl slipped out of the first round, but it really doesn’t matter,” said Pitino. “He’ll get a contract from Houston. The most important thing is to be drafted by the right team with a chance to play. He certainly was drafted by the right team with a chance to play. Some players would have a chip on their shoulder to prove people wrong (about not being selected in the first round). Montrezl will have a boulder his shoulder, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that he will.
“Obviously, both players have worked very hard to help make Louisville successful. We hope that Louisville had played a big role in making them successful.”
Rozier led the Cardinals and was fourth in the ACC in scoring (17.1 ppg) last season and also led the ACC in steals (2.0 spg). An All-ACC second team selection, Rozier was twice named ACC Player of the Week, including Dec. 22 after scoring a career-high 32 points at Western Ky.; and on Feb. 2. He averaged 20.1 points in the Cards’ 17 road or neutral site games, including 20 points in Louisville’s nine conference road games.
A 6-1 guard from Youngstown, Ohio, Rozier and Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant were the only two players to rank among the top 10 in the ACC in scoring, steals and free throw percentage. He made the second-highest scoring improvement in the ACC since last season, rising from his 7.0 average as a freshman to his final 17.1 average. Named to the 2015 All-ACC Academic Men’s Basketball team, Rozier was among the top rebounding guards in the ACC, averaging 5.6 boards (23rd in ACC).
Harrell, who was honored with the inaugural Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award, averaged 15.7 points (eighth in the ACC), 9.2 rebounds (second in the ACC, 32nd in the nation) and shot 56.6 percent from the field (third in the ACC, 22nd in the nation). He helped the Cardinals post a 27-9 record and reach their fifth NCAA Elite Eight in the past eight years.
A 6-8 forward from Tarboro, N.C., Harrell was named to the 2015 All-ACC Academic Men’s Basketball team and was the ACC Player of the Week three times. He totaled 1,294 points in his three seasons (tied for 31st all-time at UofL). He finished his career with 777 rebounds, just 36 short of the top 15 in career rebounds at Louisville. He is Louisville’s career leader in dunks with 221 and slammed a school-record 97 dunks as a sophomore.
A total of 68 former Louisville players have been selected in the NBA Draft, including five in the last three years. Last year, Russ Smith was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft with the 47th overall pick, and was subsequently traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. Gorgui Dieng was a first-round selection and the 21st overall pick by the Utah Jazz in 2013, with his rights subsequently traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he has played the last two seasons. Peyton Siva was a second round choice of the Detroit Pistons in 2013 with the 56th pick overall.
Louisville has produced 22 first-round NBA Draft choices, including 11 in the top ten and five 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).
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