CORVALLIS, Ore. - Jared Cunningham became the 42nd Oregon State player selected in NBA Draft history, and the 13th to be chosen in the first round, when he was drafted by Cleveland as the 24th overall pick on Thursday. The Cavaliers traded the rights to Cunningham to the Dallas Mavericks.
"I'm so honored and happy and blessed to be drafted in the first round today," Cunningham said. "I've waited my entire life for this moment and this is all a dream come true. It's such a special day for my parents and sister who watched the draft with me.
"The Dallas Mavericks have excellent ownership and are known as the best team in the NBA in the way they take care of their players and fans. They have outstanding players like Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki and it will be an honor to learn from all of them. I'm ready to get to Dallas and meet everyone and get to work. Thank you to everyone who supported me during this process. Go Beavs!"
Dallas held the 17th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and selected center Tyler Zeller from North Carolina before sending the pick to Cleveland for the 24th, 33rd and 34th overall selections. Selecting for the Mavericks, the Cavs picked Cunningham with the 24th pick, then used the 33rd pick to draft Florida State power forward Bernard James and the 34th pick for Marquette small forward Jae Crowder.
The last Oregon State player to be drafted before Cunningham was Corey Benjamin in 1998 when he was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 28th overall pick in the first round. The last six Beaver players to get drafted in the NBA were all taken in the first round. Loy Petersen (1967 and 1968) and Vince Fritz (1969 and 1970) were each drafted twice.
Former Beaver great Brent Barry was also traded on draft night when he was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 15th overall pick in 1995 before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Barry went on to play in the NBA for 15 seasons and won titles with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005 and 2007.
Oregon State players have been on 11 NBA championship teams, appeared in the NBA Finals 19 times and played in the NBA All-Star Game 13 times. Players who won NBA titles include: Red Rocha (1951), Mel Counts (1965, 1966), Dave Gambee (1967), Lonnie Shelton (1979), A.C. Green (1987, 1988, 2000), Brent Barry (2005, 2007) and Gary Payton (2006).
"We couldn't be happier for Jared," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "Dallas is a great place for him. They have a quality staff and great ownership. Jared adds his name to a long list of Beavers in the NBA."
Cunningham declared for the NBA Draft after his junior season and concluded his three-year Oregon State career 13th all-time in scoring (1,271), second in steals (219), third in free throws made (427) and fifth in free throws attempted (566). He was an All-Pac-12 First Team (junior season) and All-Pac-12 Second Team (sophomore season) selection and made the Pac-12 All-Defensive and All-Tournament Teams two times each.
The Oakland, Calif., native holds 11 school records, including most steals as a junior (91, tied with Gary Payton), most steals as a sophomore (85), most steals in a game (8, tied with Brent Barry and Seth Tarver) and most minutes played in a season (1,245).
The Dallas Mavericks finished the 2011-12 season with a 36-30 record and in third place in the Southwest Division. They lost in the first round of the NBA playoffs to the Oklahoma City Thunder a year after winning the 2011 NBA Championship.
The Mavericks had eight players on their 2011-12 roster with at least 10 years of NBA experience, including another Oakland native in 17-year veteran Jason Kidd who is a close friend of former Beaver legend Gary Payton.