Two members of the 2012-13 University of Louisville's NCAA Championship basketball team -- Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Siva -- were selected in the 2013 NBA Draft. Dieng was a first-round selection and the 21st overall pick by the Utah Jazz, while Siva was a second round choice of the Detroit Pistons with the 56th pick overall. Dieng's rights were subsequently traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where Dieng will start his NBA career this fall.
"We're super excited to see both Gorgui and Peyton drafted," said UofL Men's Basketball Coach Rick Pitino. "Gorgui has a great opportunity to play for a veteran coach in Rick Adelman at Minnesota. He and Flip Saunders (President of Basketball Operations) will do terrific things there. We thought Gorgui might be headed to Brooklyn with the following pick, but he has a great situation in Minnesota. I'm thrilled that Peyton has a chance to learn from one of the greatest point guards in NBA history in Maurice Cheeks (Detroit Pistons coach). It's a wonderful opportunity for both young men."
Dieng and Siva helped the Cardinals (35-5) win the 2013 NCAA Championship as well as the BIG EAST tournament title and regular season co-championship. It was Louisville's third NCAA title (also 1980, 1986), its first in 27 years, and was the Cardinals' 10th and second straight Final Four appearance. Louisville closed the season with 16 straight victories as the Cardinals won a school-record 35 games.
The 2013 BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-BIG EAST selection, Dieng ranked 24th nationally in blocked shots (2.5 per game) and 29th in rebounding (9.4) while averaging 9.8 points. An All-Midwest Region selection, Dieng produced 21 career double-doubles and his 267 career blocked shots are the second-most at Louisville. The Senegal native scored a career-best 23 points against Seton Hall, grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds against St. John's and swatted a career-best seven shots on five occasions.
Louisville's career leader in steals (254) and second in assists (677), Siva averaged 10.0 points and 5.7 assists as a senior. He was the Most Outstanding Player of the BIG EAST Championship for the second straight year, joining Georgetown's Patrick Ewing as the only players to attain that honor twice, and was a Final Four All-Tournament and an All-Midwest Region selection. A second-team Academic All-America selction, Siva was honored as the BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year, received the 2013 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award and was named to the Allstate NABC Good Works Team. In the national championship game against Michigan, he totaled 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals with just two turnovers.
A total of 61 former Louisville players have been selected in the NBA Draft, the last prior to this year being 2009 when Terrence Williams and Earl Clark were both selected in the first round. Williams was selected with 11th overall pick by the New Jersey Nets and Clark went to the Phoenix Suns with the 14th selection. Louisville has produced 19 first-round NBA Draft choices, including four among the top three picks (Ellison; Darrell Griffith second in 1980; Wes Unseld second in 1983; Rodney McCray third in 1983).