Last month, NC State’s basketball program learned that Trevor Lacey would forgo his remaining year of eligibility to enter this year’s NBA draft.
But it turns out players didn’t always have to leave school to be drafted.
Take Wolfpack legend and N.C. Sports Hall of Fame member Eddie Biedenbach. He had just finished up his junior year of college in 1967, but on this day 48 years ago, he was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks of the National Basketball League.
Biedenbach was coming off of a season in which he had been one of the leading scorers in the ACC, averaging 16.2 points per game, according to The Technician. The talented guard, who came to NC State from Pittsburgh, was the only player to play for Everett Case, Press Maravich and Norm Sloan, according to Tim Peeler’s NC State Basketball: 100 Years of Innovation.
Despite being drafted, Biedenbach returned for his senior season. “Biedenbach, the ‘Pittsburgh Pirate,’ made all-conference again…and carried the team spiritually and physically much of the time,” the 1968 Agromeck read.
The Hawks move to take Biedenbach would set a precedent as he would go on to be drafted the next year by the Los Angeles Lakers the following year.
He played in the NBA before becoming an assistant on the NC State coaching staff in the 1970s. He went on to coach at UNC-Asheville for 17 years before leaving that post in 2013.