Six Mountain West Institutions Represented on NBA Opening-Day Rosters

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Sixteen former players from six current Mountain West men’s basketball programs find themselves on opening day rosters as the NBA tips off its season tonight. Included among those who most recently competed at MW institutions are the reigning NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, and 2013 NBA Draft No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Two NBA rookies, Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk, will trade their former New Mexico uniforms for jerseys bearing the monikers of the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively. Bairstow was a second-round pick by the Bulls in the 2014 NBA Draft, while Kirk signed a free agent agreement with the Cavaliers.

In addition, former Colorado State women’s basketball standout Becky Hammon will make NBA history when she takes the bench tonight as an assistant coach on Gregg Popovich’s staff with the Spurs. Hammon, who retired in August following a 16-year WNBA career, is the first female to serve as a full-time assistant coach in the NBA.

Below is a complete list of which Mountain West programs are represented on 2014-15 NBA opening day rosters:


Jason Smith, New York Knicks
Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Greg Smith, Dallas Mavericks
Luke Babbitt, New Orleans Pelicans
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets
Ramon Sessions, Sacramento Kings
Cameron Bairstow, Chicago Bulls
Danny Granger, Miami Heat
Alex Kirk, Cleveland Cavaliers
Tony Snell, Chicago Bulls
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
Malcolm Thomas, Philadelphia 76ers
Lou Amundson, Cleveland Cavaliers
Joel Anthony, Detroit Pistons
Anthony Bennett, Minnesota Timberwolves
Shawn Marion, Cleveland Cavaliers
Gregg Popovich (Air Force), Head Coach, San Antonio Spurs
Becky Hammon (Colorado State), Assistant Coach, San Antonio Spurs
John Welch (Nevada/UNLV), Assistant Coach, Brooklyn Nets