The Salukis men’s basketball team at Southern Illinois University is a rising program of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Salukis has participated in ten NCAA Tournaments including six since 2002. There have been nine NBA players from Southern Illinois, led by Hall of Famer Walt Frazier.
Walt “Clyde” Frazier is a Hall of Fame guard and the greatest all-time NBA player from Southern Illinois University. After averaging a double-double in two collegiate seasons with the Salukis, Frazier was chosen with the fifth pick of the 1967 draft by the Knicks. Frazier was a perennial All-Star and All-Defensive guard for the Knicks in the 1970s. He was integral to their NBA Championships in 1970 and 1973. In 13 NBA seasons, he averaged 18.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Frazier remains with the Knicks today as color commentator for their television broadcasts.
Center Joe Meriweather played 11 seasons as one of the best NBA players from Southern Illinois University. Meriweather averaged 19.6 points and 12.9 rebounds at Southern Illinois and he was the last member of the Salukis to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft. He was named to the All-Rookie First Team in 1976 with the Rockets. In 1976-77, he had his best statistical season with 11.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game with a .526 field goal percentage. Meriweather twice ranked among the top ten in blocks as he totaled 5,439 points, 3,764 boards, and 810 blocks in his career.
ABA All-Star Chico Vaughn was one of the top NBA players from Southern Illinois University. Vaughn entered the NBA with the Hawks as the 26th pick of the 1962 draft. He played 239 games across four seasons with the Hawks with averages of 10.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per contest. In 1967, he jumped to the ABA in its inaugural season, immediately earning an All-Star selection and winning a championship with the Pittsburgh Pipers. In two of his three ABA seasons, he finished in the top two in three-point baskets, totaling 306 for the league’s eighth most all-time.
The most recent NBA player from Southern Illinois University is point guard Troy Hudson. A Missouri transfer player, Hudson averaged 21.2 points in two years with the Salukis. He played 11 seasons in the NBA from 1997 to 2008 with the Jazz, Clippers, Magic, Wolves, and Warriors. He spent one full year as a starter in Minnesota, averaging career highs of 14.2 points and 5.7 assists in the 2002-03 campaign. Hudson finished with career averages of 9.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Guard Dick Garrett played five seasons in the 1970s and remains one of the best NBA players from Southern Illinois. After three strong collegiate seasons, Garrett was drafted 27th overall in 1969. With averages of 11.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, Garrett earned First Team All-Rookie honors with the Lakers in 1969-70. He notched double-digit scoring averages in each of his first four NBA seasons with the Lakers and Braves.
NBA & ABA Players Who Attended Southern Illinois University. Basketball-Reference.com