TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – In one of the most anticipated NBA Drafts in Florida State basketball history, Seminole stars Jonathan Isaac and Dwayne Baconare on the cusp of reaching their dreams and beginning their professional careers when the 2017 NBA Draft from the Barclays Center begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Both players are projected to be the first pair of Seminoles picked in the first round of the NBA Draft since Douglas Edwards (15th overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks) and Sam Cassell (24th overall pick by the Houston Rockets) were both picked during the first round of the 1993 NBA Draft.
Isaac, by most projections, will become just the third Draft Lottery selection in school history. Only the second one-and-done player in school history, Isaac is looking to join George McCloud (seventh overall pick by Indiana in 1989) and Al Thornton (14th overall selection by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2007) as Seminole players taken among the top 14 players in the NBA Draft. The Draft Lottery began in 1985.
“This is an exciting time in the lives of both Jonathan and Dwayne,” said Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton, who will attend the draft. “We are very excited for both players and know they will both be successful. Everybody in our program has been looking forward to this day with tremendous anticipation.”
Isaac, a Freshman All-American, All-ACC Honorable Mention and an All-ACC Freshman Team selection in his only season as a Seminole, participated in workouts with the Philadelphia 76ers (who own the first overall selection, the Boston Celtics (who own the third selection) and the Phoenix Suns (who currently have the fourth pick) among others in the weeks leading up to the draft.
Isaac averaged 12.0 points (second on the team), 7.8 rebounds (first) and 1.5 blocked shots (first) while making 31 3-point field goals (fourth) and shooting .780 from the free-throw line (second) in leading the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament. He was named the ACC Rookie of the Week twice (Nov. 21 and Jan. 23) and was named to the Karl Malone and Wayman Tisdale Award Watch lists as he enjoyed one of the top freshman seasons in school history.
Bacon, meanwhile, displayed his talents for several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers. He felt the opportunity to show the abilities he perfected during his two years at Florida State was the most important part of the draft process for his futures.
“Going through the process and getting the chance to display my talents was the most important thing for me,” said Bacon. “I enjoyed getting to know and talk to everybody throughout the process. It was great to build relationships that will help me in the future.”
Bacon finished his career ranked 32nd in school history with 1,139 career points in only two seasons. He is ranked 17th in school history for career scoring average at 16.5 points per game and became only the second sophomore in school history and tied for the 14th fastest player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. Bacon’s his 623 points as a sophomore in 2017 is the 11th highest single-season total in school history.
Junior guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who was named to the All-ACC Defensive team in 2017, is another Seminole hoping to hear his name called on draft night. After three seasons at Florida State, Rathan-Mayes declared his intentions to enter the draft in March and was invited to work out for the Lakers, Charlotte Hornets, Houston Rockets and Raptors, among others. Working out for the Raptors in Toronto was especially exiting for the native of Canada.
Rathan-Mayes averaged 12.4 points and 4.5 assists for each of his 100 games played during his three-year Seminoles career. He was named to the All-ACC Defensive Team in 2017 and earned Freshman All-American, All-ACC Honorable Mention and All-ACC Freshman Team honors in his first season as a Seminole in 2015. Rathan-Mayes led the Seminoles with a 4.8 assists-per-game average in leading Florida State to a second-place finish in the ACC standings in 2017.
Beginning with Tim Pickett (44th overall selection by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2004) a total of 10 Seminoles recruited and coached by Hamilton at Florida State have been selected in the NBA Draft. Toney Douglas (29th overall by the Lakers), Chris Singleton (18th overall by the Washington Wizards) and Malik Beasley(19th overall by the Denver Nuggets) were all taken in the first round. In 2010, both Solomon Alabi (50th overall selection by the Raptors) and Ryan Reid (57th overall selection by the Oklahoma City Thunder) heard their names called on draft night – one of 10 times in school history that at least two Seminoles have been picked in the same NBA Draft.
A school record three Seminoles – Elvis Rolle (42nd overall pick by the Lakers), Mickey Dillard (55th overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers) and Kris Anderson (90th overall selection by the Milwaukee Bucks) were all selected in the 1981 NBA Draft.
Seminole great Dave Cowens was the fourth overall selection in the 1970 NBA Draft – the highest a Seminole has even been selected. The first-round selection of Cowens helped the Celtics continue to build their dynasty and helped “Big Red” develop into one of the most dominant players in NBA history.
Should Isaac be selected in the first round, it would mark the first time that Florida State players have been picked in the first round of the NBA Draft in consecutive years since the 1994 and 1995 drafts when Charlie Ward (26th overall selection of the New York Knicks in 1994) and Bob Sura (17th overall pick of the Cavaliers) where both picked in the opening round.
Should Isaac and Bacon both be picked in the first round (to mark three first-round selections in the last two seasons) it would mark the second time in school history that three players had been first round picks in the span of two years (Cassell and Edwards in 1993 and Ward in 1995). Sura added to that incredible group as a first-round pick in 1995, giving Florida State four first round choices in a three-year span.
The 2017 NBA Draft begins at 7:30 Thursday night with the entire two rounds and 60 selections broadcast live on ESPN.