LAWRENCE, Kan. – There will be 16 Jayhawks on opening-day rosters for the 2017-18 NBA regular season that begins Tuesday, Oct. 17. Since 2005, Kansas has had a least 10 players on NBA opening-day rosters each year.
Oklahoma City’s Nick Collison has taken over as the longest-tenured Jayhawk after Paul Pierce retired from the NBA following a 19-year career. Collison, a member of KU’s 2002 and 2003 Final Four teams and the No. 12 overall selection in the 2003 NBA Draft, enters his 15th season in the Thunder organization.
The Memphis Grizzlies carry the most Jayhawks on their roster with 2008 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Mario Chalmers, Ben McLemore and Wayne Selden Jr. Chalmers is back after rehabbing an Achilles injury in 2016-17, entering his 10th season in the NBA which includes two titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. McLemore, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 draft, is with Memphis for the first time after playing four seasons for the Sacramento Kings. Selden came on strong at the end of his rookie season in 2016-17, playing briefly for New Orleans and was a regular for Memphis down the stretch and into the playoffs. He enters his second year with the Grizzlies.
Other teams with multiple Jayhawks include the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Washington Wizards. Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall draft selection in 2014, enters his fourth season with the Timberwolves, while Bloomington, Minnesota, native Cole Aldrich is in his second season with Minnesota and his eighth season in the NBA. Aldrich was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Markieff Morris is in his third season with Washington and his seventh overall in the league, while Kelly Oubre Jr., enters his third season in the league, all with the Wizards. Markieff was the No. 13 overall selection in the 2011 draft, while Oubre was the No. 15 pick in 2015.
Darrell Arthur joins Chalmers and Aldrich as 2008 NCAA National Champions still active in the NBA. Arthur, the No. 27 selection in the 2008 draft, is his ninth season in the NBA and fifth with the Denver Nuggets. He missed the 2011-12 season due to injury.
Marcus Morris, twin of Markieff and the No. 14 overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, enters his seventh season in the league and first with the Boston Celtics. Jeff Withey is also with a new team, playing for the Dallas Mavericks. Entering his fifth season in the NBA, Withey had two-year stints in both New Orleans and Utah prior to 2017-18.
Tarik Black has rejoined the Houston Rockets as he goes into his fourth season in the league. Black played for Houston in 2014-15 and then for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2016-17 season.
Joel Embiid, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, has become a household name in the league. Embiid recently signed a five-year, $148 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. Another KU big man, center Cheick Diallo, is in his second season with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The No. 4 2017 NBA Draft selection, Josh Jackson, and 2017 Consensus National Player of the Year, Frank Mason III, enter their rookie seasons in the NBA. Jackson will compete for the Phoenix Suns, while Mason plays the point for the Sacramento Kings.