According to Pro Basketball Reference, 42 native Minnesotans have gone on to play in the NBA.
The most recent to accomplish the feat is St. Cloud native Nate Wolters.
The former St. Cloud Tech High School and South Dakota State University star suddenly finds himself in his rookie season as the starting point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks.
He's been placed on the fast track thanks to injuries to fellow Milwaukee guards Brandon Knight and Luke Ridnour, and Wolters has filled in quite well. He's leading the Bucks at 32 minutes/game. He finished with 9 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists Wednesday night in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
What makes Wolters effective?
"He's herky-jerky," Bucks coach Larry Drew said, according to the Pioneer Press. "It's deceptive. He's faster than what he looks; he's stronger than what he looks. And he's not afraid to take that ball to the basket knowing that he's going to get hit. For a rookie, that's a big mountain to climb when you come to this level, knowing that you're possibly going to get hammered. There are a lot of guards who drive that ball to the basket and shy away from contact, and this guy doesn't do that. He's a really good finisher."
In an interview with KFAN-FM 100.3 on Thursday, Wolters said Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving is the best player he's ever played against.
Although it's early, Wolters' 6.5 assists per game rank 13th in the NBA among guards. The rookie, who was only heavily recruited by Colorado State, South Dakota State and a bevy of Division II universities, finds his name on the list tucked between NBA veterans Jameer Nelson and Jrue Holiday -- and he's only 1/2 an assist a game behind Irving.
Wolters said he went from playing in front of fewer than 1,000 fans during college to starting in the NBA at iconic basketball arenas like Madison Square Garden and the "Garden" in Boston. His next game comes Saturday in Milwaukee against the Dallas Mavericks.