April 22, 2014

Creighton alums open season together in NBA with Atlanta Hawks

Creighton men’s basketball alums Kyle Korver and Anthony Tolliver will open the 2012-13 season as teammates with the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks on Friday.  Korver played at Creighton from 1999-2003 and was succeeded by Tolliver, who played for the Jays from 2003-07. If both men play as expected on Friday in the Hawks game vs. Houston, it’ll mark the first time two Creighton alums were teammates in an NBA game since March 22, 1970, when Neil Johnson and Paul Silas played for the Phoenix Suns.

Creighton hasn’t had two alums start an NBA game on the same day since Jan. 29, 2005 (Korver with Philadelphia and Rodney Buford with New Jersey). Since the NBA began officially tracking starting line-ups in 1981-82, Creighton has never had two teammates start the same game.

Korver begins his 10th year in the NBA and first with the Hawks after a July trade from Chicago. Known as one of the elite shooters in the NBA, Korver ranks 46th in NBA history with 1,134 career three-pointers and is 14th in league history with his 41.34 percent marksmanship from three-point range.  The only other players in league history with at least 1,00 treys and 41.3 percent accuracy are Steve Nash (the only other active player) and Wesley Person.  Korver’s 53.6 percent marksmanship from three-point range in 2009-10 remains an NBA record for a season, smashing a mark held by noted sniper Steve Kerr.  For his NBA career, Korver has scored 6,307 points (third-most among Creighton basketball alumni) in 664 games (9.5 ppg.). He has also made 87.7 percent of his career free throws.

Tolliver has played the past two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, while also spending time with the Cleveland, San Antonio, Portland, New Orleans and Golden State organizations in his career.  Creighton fans who remember Tolliver as an inside force may be surprised to learn of his perimeter game. More than 40 percent of his shots have come from behind the NBA three-point arc, and he has made 32.0 percent of his shots from downtown. Tolliver has also sunk 77.0 percent of his shots at the line and owns 208 career assists (against just 137 turnovers), 81 blocks and 83 steals.  Tolliver went undrafted and spent time in the NBA D-League and Germany before becoming an NBA regular. He will switch to wearing No. 4 with the Hawks after wearing his college number, 44, for all but 19 of his previous 182 career NBA games.

Tolliver and Korver are the only two active players in the NBA who closed their college careers at an MVC school. Indiana Pacers star Danny Granger began his college career at Bradley before finishing up at New Mexico.  Including 2012-13, Creighton has now had an NBA player in 29 of the last 30 years, and 46-of-49 seasons since 1964-65.