Draft Lookback: Syracuse in the '70s

In seven of 10 years, Syracuse produced at least one player who went on to be chosen in the NBA Draft. See the history of all those selected inside.

Bill Smith got things started early in the 1970s for Syracuse Orange men's basketball alum when he was chosen in the third round of the 1971 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.

As a sophomore in the 1968-69 season, Smith would have Roy Danforth who was in his first year at the helm of the Syracuse program.

When Smith left the Orange, he was in the top two in school history in career points (second to Dave Bing) and rebounds (second to Jon Cincebox).

Along with being drafted by the Trailblazers of the NBA, Smith was also selected by the Pittsburgh Pipers of the ABA in their 1971 draft.

Smith chose to play in the NBA and did so for two seasons. His time on the floor and his numbers as a result dropped in his second and final NBA season in 1972-73.

In 1972, Greg Kohls was selected in the seventh round by the Buffalo Braves, who became the San Diego Clippers before being today's Los Angeles Clippers.

Kohls went from a sophomore at Syracuse who played in 17 games without one start in the 1969-70 season to a junior and senior who played in and started every game, 54 to be exact over those two seasons.

He averaged no less than 22 points per game in his final two seasons with the Orange, with his 26.7 points per game senior campaign in 1971-72 residing behind only Dave Bing in Syracuse history.

In that senior season, Kohls not only scored 30 or more points in 11 games but he also had over 100 assists for the year.

Kohls demonstrated the importance of the free throw line when he went 17-for-17 in a match with Fordham en route to a one-point victory by the Orange.

He would not play for the Braves despite being drafted, but did spend time with the Washington Generals who competed against the Harlem Globetrotters.

Following in 1973, Mike Lee was also given an opportunity by the Braves when they drafted him in the 11th round.

Born in Kirkwood, New York, the 6'3" Empire State native would average no less than six rebounds per game for Syracuse in three consecutive seasons.

Lee was also strong at the line, making more than 78% of the attempts he took from his sophomore to his senior season. In his junior season alone, he went on a streak of 34-straight makes at the charity stripe.

He was inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 with his brother Jimmy Lee, of whom he spent one season with at Syracuse (1972-73). Mike and Jimmy Lee were the first brothers placed in Syracuse's hall in its history.

A year later, the Orange had two alum selected back-to-back when Dennis DuVal and Fred Saunders had their names called in their second round as the 12th and 13th picks, respectively. DuVal was given an opportunity from the Washington Bullets (now Wizards), while Saunders' opportunity came from the Phoenix Suns.

Starting in every game for Syracuse from 1971 to 1974, DuVal was atop all Orange in points per game in his junior and senior seasons.

While drafted by the NBA's Bullets, DuVal was also selected in the ABA Draft of 1974 by the Denver Nuggets. He chose the Bullets and competed in one season for them (1974-75) and then in one season for the Atlanta Hawks (1975-76).

He became a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.

Saunders was a transfer from the University of Southwest Louisiana who played at Syracuse University for his senior season only. He averaged just shy of 10 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Orange in that season (1973-74).

He would join the Suns who drafted him and then spend some of his NBA career with the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Jazz for a total of four seasons combined amongst these professional squads.

Syracuse would double-up once again in the 1975 NBA Draft when Rudy Hackett went to the New Orleans (now Utah) Jazz in the third round and Jim Lee was chosen by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the fifth round.

Hackett was like a fine wine at Syracuse, he just got better with time. His points, assists, and rebounds per game totals rose from his sophomore season through to his senior year. He averaged a double-double in his junior and senior campaigns and was just shy in his sophomore season.

As a junior, Hackett would miss free throws that prevented the Orange from taking the lead late in an NCAA Tournament game against Oral Roberts.

Ironically, a year later, Hackett made late shots from the charity stripe versus LaSalle to move on in the NCAA Tournament.

He became the first Syracuse player to be drafted to the NBA but choose the ABA. Hackett played for the ABA team that drafted him, the St. Louis Spirits from 1975-76.

But irony rose again in Hackett's life as the ABA came to pass bringing him into the NBA after all. He played in one game with the New York (now Brooklyn via New Jersey) Nets before being traded to the Indiana Pacers.

Hackett would go on to compete in the Italian Professional League for 13 seasons as a player and then for five years afterwards as a coach.

His teammate Jim Lee would join him to help the Orange to three straight berths in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in Syracuse men's basketball history.

The final trip (1974-75) saw the Orange get all the way into the Final Four. Lee hit the shot that rose Syracuse above North Carolina in the Sweet 16, then went on to score 25 points in the Elite Eight match against Kansas State.

Though drafted, Lee would never play in the NBA, but his career percentage of free throws made (85.9%) while on the Orange would help on the court and with other players when he wrote the book "Fifteen Feet for Free" in 2012.

The last two years of the 1970s included an Orange alum attaining a spot in the NBA Draft once in 1978 and 1979. Marty Byrnes was selected at the 19th pick in the first round of the 1978 draft by the Phoenix Suns who used another 19th pick, this time in the sixth round, to grab another Syracuse alum when they drafted Dale Shackleford in 1979.

Byrnes went from a little-utilized freshman in 1974-75 to a three-year starter who played in every game. During his time at Syracuse, he played both forward and center, moving from center to forward in his junior year (1976-77) when Roosevelt Bouie entered onto the Orange.

In the first-ever Carrier Classic, held in his senior season (1977-78), Byrnes was opposite Earvin "Magic" Johnson of Michigan State. Byrnes would score 18 to lead the Orange in a victory over Johnson and his squad, a team that would later go on to win the NCAA national championship.

While a collegiate player, Byrnes saw both the end of Roy Danforth and the beginning of Jim Boeheim as the Syracuse head coach during his time on the team.

In the NBA, Byrnes would begin his career with the Suns who drafted him before moving onto the New Orleans Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and Indiana Pacers. He would attain a championship with the Lakers in 1980, the lone season in which he played with them.

Byrnes' teammate Shackleford would average no less than 11 points in his first two seasons which he rose to at least 14 points per game in his final two seasons with Syracuse.

Shackleford was a starter for most games spanning his entire four-year collegiate career, including being the first Orange freshman to start on a squad headed by coach Danforth.

While at Syracuse, Shackleford played guard, forward, and center.

Despite being drafted to the NBA, he would not play a game there. Instead, he traveled outside of the country to compete in Chile, Italy, and England. Shackleford would spend most of his professional basketball days playing in the British Basketball League, where he was a player for 10 seasons and a player/coach for his final three seasons.

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