Mbakwe, Williams go undrafted

Former Gophers player Colton Iverson was taken 53rd in Thursday’s NBA draft.

Jace Frederick

Sixty picks came and went Thursday night in Brooklyn, and for the ninth consecutive year, no Gophers players were selected in the NBA draft.

Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams, who both graduated from the program this season, were potential selections, but none of the 30 NBA teams took a chance on either forward.

The last Gophers player selected was Kris Humphries, who went 14th overall to the Utah Jazz in 2004.

Mbakwe played for three seasons at Minnesota, but he played just seven games in the 2011-12 season before tearing his tore his right anterior cruciate ligament. Mbakwe was granted a sixth year by the NCAA and played 34 games for the Gophers this year, starting the final team’s final 22.

The 6-foot-8-inch forward averaged 10 points and led the Big Ten with 8.7 rebounds per game during his senior season. He was named second-team All-Big Ten by the media.

Though he didn’t miss a game or practice in his final season, Mbakwe said his knee was the first topic he was asked about by NBA teams during the pre-draft process.

Mbakwe had been projected to be drafted in the second round by many mock draft websites.

Williams averaged 10.1 points and five rebounds during his senior season. While he possesses plenty of athleticism, Williams faced concerns with his consistency and shooting during his time with the Gophers. He shot just 25 percent from the three-point line during his Gophers career.

Mbakwe and Williams helped lead the Gophers to their first NCAA tournament win since 1997 when they beat UCLA in the second round 83-63.

Both Williams and Mbakwe are free to sign with any team they want as they try to make NBA rosters through summer league play.

Colorado State center and Gophers transfer Colton Iverson was taken 53rd overall by the Indiana Pacers, who reportedly drafted him for the Boston Celtics as part of a trade.

Iverson transferred from the Gophers following his junior season in 201. He averaged 14.2 points and 9.8 rebounds in his senior season with the Rams, a vast improvement in production from his years with the Gophers.

Like Williams and Mbakwe, Iverson does not receive a guaranteed contract — that privilege is reserved for first-round selections.