Seven Big Ten basketball players realized their dream of playing professionally after hearing their names called during the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Michigan forward Franz Wagner was the only player selected during the first round, being taken eighth overall by the Orlando Magic. With the remaining 30 picks in the second round, six conference athletes were taken, including Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu and Iowa teammates Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza.
For the remaining Big Ten prospects, they will begin to sign undrafted free agent deals in the coming days.
Here's a look at all the Big Ten basketball players taken in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Orlando Magic, Pick No. 8: Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan
As many projected, Wagner was the first Big Ten selection off the board Thursday night. He ends up as a top-10 pick and will be headed to Orlando to play alongside fifth overall draft selection Jalen Suggs from Gonzaga.
Wagner spent two seasons at Michigan before transitioning to the professional level. He appeared in 55 games and averaged 12.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
Analysis from Sports Illustrated
"After winding up with Jalen Suggs instead of Scottie Barnes at No. 5, the Magic still get a super-sized, versatile forward here in Wagner. He’s a highly versatile, smart player who’s still scratching the surface of his ability, with room to grow as a jump shooter.
Wagner is also a stellar team defender who understands positioning and covers ground effectively, and that flexibility should allow the Magic to play a variety of combinations when he’s on the floor. He profiles as a high-level supporting player if all goes right. Despite not landing Scottie Barnes, Orlando should feel good about how the lottery broke."
Chicago Bulls, Pick No. 38: Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois
Dosunmu, a Chicago native who played three seasons at Illinois, was picked by the Chicago Bulls with the 28th overall pick. He was a consensus All-American after the 2020-21 basketball season. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game in his final college season.
San Antonio Spurs, Pick No. 41: Joe Wieskamp, SG, Iowa
Wieskamp was the first of two Iowa Hawkeyes to be selected during the 2021 NBA Draft. In three seasons at Iowa, Wieskamp played in 97 games and averaged 13.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest during his career.
He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and was named to the All-Freshman team. Wieskamp was one of 15 players in program history with over 1,250 points and 550 rebounds.
Detroit Pistons, Pick No. 42: Isaiah Livers, PF, Michigan
Livers, the second Michigan Wolverine to be taken, declared for the NBA Draft after his senior season of college. His final year with the Wolverines was cut short due to a stress injury in his right foot, and he had surgery that kept him out of the NBA draft combine.
Over four seasons at Michigan, Livers played in 119 games and started all 44 games in his final two years. As a senior, he averaged 13.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 43.1% from the 3-point line.
Toronto Raptors, Pick No. 46: Dalano Banton, G, Nebraska
Banton, a 6-foot-9 guard whose stock rose during the G League Elite Camp, was taken by the Toronto Raptors with the 46th pick. He only played one season with the Cornhuskers after redshirting as a transfer from Western Kentucky.
During the 2020-21 season, Banton averaged 9.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.
Detroit Pistons, Pick No. 52: Luka Garza, C, Iowa
The Pistons selected the 2021 Naismith College Player of the Year in Luka Garza with the 52nd overall pick. The 6-foot-11 big man left the Hawkeyes as their all-time leading scorer. He joins No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State and former Big Ten opponent Isaiah Livers in Detroit.
After the 2020-21 season, he was a first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection. During Garza's senior season, he averaged 24.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. He also shot better than 55% from the floor on the year.
Oklahoma City Thunder, Pick No. 55: Aaron Wiggins, G, Maryland
The final Big Ten player drafted Thursday night was Wiggins, a 6-foot-6 guard from Maryland who was picked by the Thunder.
He appeared in 96 games during his career with the Terrapins. Wiggins finished second on the team in scoring during the 2020-21 season with 14.5 points while also recording 5.8 rebounds per game.