Today, as we debate Troy Daniels’ NBA prospects, we flash back to 1974, when the fledgling VCU Basketball program was just getting established. That year, two Rams, Jesse Dark and Bernard Harris, were drafted by not one, but two pro leagues. Below, the Commonwealth Times, VCU’s student newspaper, discusses the recent selections of Dark and Harris by the Virginia Squires of the ABA. Although not a Pulitzer, the article is a good read for its reference to a “secret” ABA draft that saw Dark selected third overall. Officially, Dark was picked in the second round of the ’74 draft, while Harris went in the fifth round. I could not find any reference to an additional “secret” draft, but would love to hear more about it. (Click to enlarge article).
But neither man would play for the Squires. Weeks later, Dark was picked in the second round (32nd overall) of the 1974 Draft by the New York Knicks, while the Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers) grabbed Harris in the fourth round (63rd overall).
Dark would become the first Ram to play in the NBA when he made his Knicks’ debut on Oct. 17, 1974 against the New Orleans Jazz. Harris made his debut one week later. Although both Dark and Harris played just one season each in the NBA, there were trailblazers for the VCU Basketball program. Four players, Gerald Henderson, Ed Sherod, Eric Maynor and Larry Sanders have followed in Dark’s and Harris’ NBA footsteps.