Notable Spartans that Dribbled in the NBA
Norfolk State University has produced elite talent that has made it into the National Basketball Association. In fact, Norfolk State recently had a player be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame! Spartan nation has produced 14 drafted NBA level players in its program's history, which is the most out of any program in history of the MEAC. In this article, we will dive into the most noteworthy Spartans that have stepped on an NBA court.
Former Norfolk State forward Kyle O’Quinn is the most recent Spartan to be drafted to the NBA. O’Quinn is hugely responsible for leading his team to upset the #5 seed Missouri Tigers as a #16 seed in the 2012 NCAA tournament. The victory is widely considered to be one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history. O’Quinn averaged 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds during his tenure with the Spartans. The former spartan was drafted 49th overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2012 draft. O’Quinn played eight seasons (12’-'20) in the NBA with the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, and the Indiana Pacers. O’Quinn’s number 10 jersey is currently retired at Norfolk State.
Ray Epps is another notable spartan that has stepped foot on an NBA court. Epps played for Norfolk State (‘74-'77) as a forward and was drafted 104th overall in the 1977 draft by the Golden State Warriors. Epps only played 13 games for the Warriors during the 1978 season due to injury and eventually was cut from the team.
David Pope, former small forward for Norfolk State (‘80-'84), was drafted 62nd overall in the 1984 draft along with NBA legends Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, and Hakeem Olajuwon. Pope led the Spartans to a CIAA championship in 1984 and won CIAA player of the year in ‘83 and ‘84, respectively. Pope was drafted by the Utah Jazz and played for the Kansas City Kings (now known as the Sacramento Kings), and the Seattle Supersonics. Pope’s career only lasted two years, but his number 34 jersey is retired by his alma mater.
Bob Dandridge, a former shooting guard at Norfolk State (‘65-'69), is widely known as one of the greatest players to ever come from an HBCU. Dandridge led the Spartans to a CIAA title in 1968 and a 25-2 record. The former spartan shooting guard averaged 22.6 points and 13 rebounds during his tenure at Norfolk State. Dandridge was then drafted 45th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1969 draft. He then won an NBA title along with NBA greats Kareem-Abdul Jabar and Oscar Robertson in 1971. Dandridge was a key piece for another title victory a few years later with the Washington Bullets in 1978. Dandridge played with the Bucks from ‘69-‘77) and then the Washington Bullets from (‘77-’81).
Throughout his career, the two-time NBA champion was a four-time all-star (‘73,’75,’76, ’79), an all-NBA second team selection (‘79), an all-NBA defensive first team selection (‘79), and an all-rookie first team selection (‘70). Dandridge averaged 18.5 points and 6.8 rebounds for his entire professional career. Due to his accomplishments, the former spartan was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021. Dandridge is one of ten HBCU talents to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.