Wisconsin: Jim Chones
Wisconsin was the 30th state inducted into the union in 1848, 51 years later the Wisconsin Badgers went 0-3. In 1947 Dick Schulz became the first Wisconsin born player to be drafted and play in the NBA. More contemporary players have led the way in terms of college performances, such as Caron Butler, Chris Mihm, Nick Van Excel and Jim Chones.
In the early 90s, Excel played two seasons with Cincinnati. The 6-foot-1 guard is known for his ‘ankle-breaking’ crossovers and his clutch tournament performances. ‘Nick the Quick’ played in nine tournament games and averaged 14 points, three rebounds, and almost six assists that would earn him NCAA All-Tournament Region team in both his years.
Another player who saved his best for the tournament, although he was not rewarded accordingly was Chris Mihm. The 7-footer born in Milwaukee upped his regular-season averages in his three tournament games with 17 points and four rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field. It was his three-block average during the season that would lead him to be named a first-team All-American.
There is however a player who was recognized for his regular season play and tournament performances and that was Chones. During his 50 games at Marquette over his two years in the early 70s ‘Bunny’ as he was nicknamed, averaged 19 points, 12 rebounds while shooting 55 percent from the field. Stats that he would improve upon in eight tournament games.
Chones would be named an All-American, alongside Walton and Bob McAdoo as well as earning a spot on the tournament All-Region team, all enough to be solely named best Wisconsin born college player.
Wyoming: Jaycee Carroll
Wyoming is not rich in history when it comes to producing basketball players that parlay their college careers into being drafted by an NBA team. Wyoming does have a history that dates back just as far as any other state though. Out of the seven Wyoming born players to play at least a game in the NBA, five ended their careers in the early 1950s.
James Johnson is the most recent, for he was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Although, as Yoda would say “Mean a good college career a good professional career does not.’ A reference that is a lot more clever if any of those players hailed from Yoder Wyoming. Regardless, during his two years at Wake Forest, he was All-ACC third team. In his freshman year, he was on the All-ACC freshman team as well as the All-ACC Defensive team.
Jaycee Carroll was the 2007-08 WAC Player of the Year when he averaged 22 points and six rebounds on 52 percent shooting. While impressive in his senior year, his career stats over 134 games at Utah State are 19 points and five rebounds, which is four points more and three rebounds less than James Johnson. Carroll was just as effective in tournament games, between his two NCAA tournament games and two NIT games, his lowest single-game total was 15 points.
With Johnson and Carroll receiving their top honors within the conference, it puts Lander native Mike Dabich at a disadvantage. Dabich played for New Mexico State in the mid-1960s while they were an independent so his 16 points and over nine rebounds were unable to get him on any all-conference teams. Unfortunately, we do not work with hypotheticals and it is a fact that Carroll holds two of the four highest-scoring seasons in the WAC to earn him tops in Wyoming.
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