***NOTE: No Big 12 player has gone 28th overall***
Best Big 12 Player Drafted #27: Linas Kleiza, Missouri Tigers, by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2005.
Those who have been in a coma since Kleiza left Mizzou simply would not believe what type of player the Lithuanian turned into. As a Tiger, LK was more of a fullback than a basketball player, basically ducking his head, driving into the lane and going strong to the basket. His NBA role, though, is one of a jump shooter. During his first four years in the league, Keliza came off the bench for the Nuggets and rained three after three. In fact, for his career, three balls have accounted for 38.5 percent of all his field goal attempts. But it works. He went overseas for a season and was highly sought after upon his returning, finally settling in the great north in Toronto.
Other Notable Big 12 Players Drafted 27th:
DeMarre Carroll, Missouri Tigers, by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009
Darrell Arthur, Kansas Jayhawks, by the New Orleans in 2008
Jamaal Tinsley, Iowa St. Cyclones, by the Vancouver Grizzlies in 2001
Jacque Vaughn, Kansas Jayhawks, by the Utah Jazz in 1997
Best Non-Big 12 Player Drafted 27th: Arron Afflalo, UCLA Bruins, by the Detroit Pistons in 2007.
Ironically it was Afflalo who assumed Keliza's role off the bench for the Denver Nuggets when LK left to play in overseas.
In preparation for the 2011 NBA Draft, each day until June 23 we'll count down the best Big 12 player drafted with each pick. This list only takes into account players who played in the Big 12, so it starts with the 1997 draft. In total 70 Big 12 alumni have been selected, filling 43 of the 60 possible slots.
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