This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Five players who were drafted, stayed overseas for at least another season and became top-caliber NBA players:
He was 18 years old in 1999, when the Jazz took him with the 24th pick in the first round of the draft. . . . Spent the next two seasons with CSKA in Russia . . . Played on the Russian Olympic team in 2000 . . . Came to Utah in '01-02 . . . Averaged 10.7 points and 4.9 rebounds as a rookie. . . . Played in the 2004 All-Star
San Antonio Spurs
Taken 57th in the 1999 draft, when he was 21 years old. . . . Played two more seasons for Reggio Calabria and Kinder Bolgna . . . Joined the Spurs in 2002-03 . . .. Averaged 7.6 points and 2.3 rebounds as a rookie . . . Played in NBA championship teams in '03 and '05 . . . Made the 2005 All-Star team. . . . Played on Argentina's gold medal-winning Olympic team in 2004.
At the age of 19, he was taken in 14th in the first round of the 1996 draft by Sacramento. . . . Played two more seasons for PAOK in Greece . . . By the time he left Greece, his scoring average jumped from 16 to 24 points. . . . Averaged 8.4 points and 3.0 rebounds as a rookie. . . . Became a three-time All-Star and a 10,000-point scorer in the NBA.
New Jersey Nets
Taken with the 24th pick in the 2002 draft as an 18-year-old. . . . Spent two more seasons with Partizan in Yugoslavia. . . Played on Serbia-Montenegro's Olympic team in 2004. . . Averaged 10 points and 5.3 rebounds as a rookie with the Nets. . . . After only two seasons, he's considered one of the top young centers in the NBA.
At the age of 22, Detroit took him with the the 38th pick in 2001 draft. . . . He played one more season for Efes Pilsen in Turkey. . . . Averaged 6.9 points and 4.7 rebounds as a rookie with the Pistons. . . . Played on Detroit's NBA championship team in 2004. . . . Signed a $50 million contract with Utah in 2004.