(WHTM) — With the NBA Playoffs in full swing, abc27 compiled a list of basketball players from the Midstate who made it to the NBA.
Billy Owens was born on May 1, 1969 in Carlisle and played nearly every position in the NBA. After playing for Syracuse, Owens was drafted third overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 1991 NBA Draft, one pick ahead of Dikembe Mutombo.
Just over four months after being taken by the Kings, Owens was traded to the Golden State Warriors for Les Jepsen, Mitch Richmond, and a 1995 2nd round draft pick. In His first three years with Golden State Owens averaged more than 15 points per game and earned All-Rookie honors.
Owens’s career continued in Miami and later returned to Sacramento where he played three seasons. In the 1999-2000 season he played 46 games for the Philadelphia 76ers and 16 games back with Golden State.
Owens finished his career with the Detroit Pistons and finished with a career average of 11.7 points per game in 600 games.
Davies was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in January 1920 and played college basketball at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Nicknamed the “Harrisburg Houdini,” Davies’ passing and play-making abilities were always the highlight of his game, as he only averaged 11.8 points per game in college. Davies went on to win 43 consecutive games from 1939 to 1940 and beat Rhode Island in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
Davies joined the United States Navy and served during World War II, leading the Great Lakes Naval Training Station team to a 34-3 record before being shipped overseas.
Davies’ 10-year professional career started when he came back from the war, joining the Rochester Royals. He scored 7,770 points, averaging 13.7 a game, and had 2,250 assists in his professional career. Davies was one of ten players to make the NBA 25th Anniversary Team, and his number, 11, is still retired from the Rochester Royals to this day.
Davies passed away on April 22, 1990, at the age of 70.
Born in Harrisburg on March 5, 1950, Dudley played basketball as a guard at John Harris High School in Harrisburg and the University of Washington. He went on to play six seasons in the NBA on the Seattle SuperSonics, Golden State Warriors, and Chicago Bulls.
Dudley averaged 5.3 points per game and was crowned an NBA Champion with Golden State in 1975. In his pro career, Dudley recorded 1,908 points, 1,089 rebounds, and 1,230 assists.
Beshore was born in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and played basketball for Red Land High School in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, eventually attending the California University of Pennsylvania.
Beshore played point guard and played on two NBA teams, the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls, as well as Continental Basketball Association and overseas leagues. His NBA debut was on Oct. 24, 1978.
Now, Beshore is an assistant coach for Fresno Pacific University.
Born in Hershey on Sept. 20, 1950, but raised in Middletown, Pennsylvania, Twardzik, started his basketball career at the Middletown Area High School as a point guard. He played collegiately at Old Dominion University, where he was an All-American two times and played in the NCAA Division II title game in 1971.
Twardzik was drafted into the NBA by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 26th overall pick in the 2nd round in 1972, but he chose to play for the Virginia Squires in the American Basketball Association (ABA). He went on to play four seasons for the Squires before the ABA-NBA merger in June 1976. The Trail Blazers, who still owned Twardzik’s NBA rights, signed Twardzik.
Twardzik ended up as the starting two-guard for the Blazers during their 1977 run for an NBA Championship, and he retired at the end of the 1979-80 season due to injuries. Twardzik’s jersey number, 13, was retired by the Trail Blazers.
In his NBA/ABA career, Twardzik recorded 4,977 points, 1,286 rebounds, and 1,823 assists. In 1995, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
After his playing career, Twardzik worked in the Trail Blazer’s front office as well as several other NBA teams including the Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic, and the Denver Nuggets.
Bowie, born on March 17, 1961, and raised in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was a basketball center who was considered to be a sensation by many from high school throughout his professional career.
He played high school basketball at Lebanon High School (where he averaged 28+ points per game and 18 rebounds per game) and would then play for the Kentucky Wildcats, a blue-blood college basketball school, in 1979. Bowie played 96 career games for the Wildcats and averaged 13.4 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game, 2.3 blocks per game, and 1.4 assists per game on 69.9% shooting.
Bowie was selected to the U.S. 1980 Olympic team, known as the youngest American national team ever built. Unfortunately, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led the United States and 66 other countries to boycott the 1980 Olympics, which were being held in Moscow.
Entering the 1984 NBA Draft, Bowie was drafted second overall by the Portland Trail Blazers, one pick behind the Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon, but one pick ahead of the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan. Bowie would play 511 games for three teams, averaging 10.9 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, and 2.1 assists per game.
Bowie’s impressive NBA career was cut short due to injuries during his time in college and his passion for harness racing in Kentucky.
Not to be confused with the American sportscaster and news anchor of the same name, Jim Lampley is another former NBA player born in Harrisburg. He played college basketball at Vanderbilt University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Lampley was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 102nd overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, but would only go on to appear in one NBA game in his career. He signed with the Mavericks, Washington Bullets, and the Milwaukee Bucks, but would only appear in one game during his one season with the Philadelphia 76ers.
His NBA career statistics (which consists solely of his 16 minutes recorded in the 76ers matchup against the New Jersey Nets on Dec. 12, 1986) are three points and five rebounds on 33.3% shooting. Lampley also shot 50% from the free-throw line.
Despite his short NBA career, Lampley was successful in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) with 314 games played over eight seasons for seven different teams. In the CBA Lampley averaged 13.8 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game, appearing in two All-Star games.
Panko was born in Harrisburg on Nov. 29, 1977, and played high school basketball at Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg. He played at Lebanon Valley College from 1995 through 1999 and had one of the most dominant NCAA Division III careers in history.
While at Lebanon Valley College, Panko claimed the school’s all-time leading scorer title after scoring 2,515 points and 40+ points in four different games. His 58 points against Juniata is also still a record at Lebanon Valley College. Panko was inducted into the Lebanon Valley College Hall of Fame in 2019.
After graduating from LVC, Panko started his pro career with the New Mexico Slam, a member of the International Basketball League, in 1999. He made his NBA debut with the Atlanta Hawks in 2001, where he played one minute in one game.
Panko’s career NBA stats in his one minute of playing time are zeros across the board.
Panko then signed with the North Dakota Wizards of the CBA, where he was named MVP of the league in 2003. He then took his talents to Spain where he played in the ACB League, claiming another league MVP in 2012 playing with Gipuzkoa Basket.
He would go on to play for several more international teams in various countries including Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
Patterson was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in August 1991. He played high school basketball at McCaskey High School (and another high school in New Jersey) and joined the Pittsburgh Panthers for his college career.
As a redshirt sophomore in college, Patterson was named tournament MVP in the 2012 College Basketball Invitational when he averaged 13.8 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, and 4.5 assists per game. He had a successful college run, helping the Panthers get back to the NCAA Tournament and increasing his scoring average to 17.1 points per game in his senior year.
In June 2014, Patterson was drafted 48th overall in the NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks but was later traded to the Atlanta Hawks on draft night. He played for the Hawks in the 2014 Summer League but ultimately signed with Tofas, a Turkish basketball team.
Patterson ended up making his NBA debut on the Hawks in October 2015 but was waived by the team in July 2016. He briefly signed with the Sacramento Kings in October 2016 but was also waived.
Since then, Patterson played for more than 10 teams in various countries including Puerto Rico, Italy, China, Australia and New Zealand. He currently plays for the South West Metro Pirates in the Australian NBL1 North League.
His NBA career statistics over 40 games played are 2.3 points per game, 1.4 rebounds per game, and 1.1 assists per game.
Whitey Von Nieda
Von Nieda was born in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, on June 19, 1922, and is the oldest living person on this list at 100 years old! Von Nieda played for Ephrata High School and then played at Penn State before enlisting in the United States Army during World War II.
After being discharged from the army he played for the Lancaster Red Roses, a professional basketball team in the Eastern Basketball League that was based in Lancaster from 1946 to 1949, where he led the league in scoring with 24 points per game.
Von Nieda also played for the Tri-Cities BlackHawks in the National Basketball League before joining the Baltimore Bullets in 1949, the year the NBA was introduced. He started every game for the Bullets in the 1949 and 1950 seasons.
Von Nieda’s NBA career included 59 games played averaging 5.3 points per game and 2.4 assists per game.
Von Nieda coached at Elizabethtown College for two years after his NBA career came to an end. He also coached for the Lancaster Red Roses and Hazelton Hawks.
Von Nieda lives in Elizabethtown to this day and was the first NBA player to ever reach 100 years old. He is also the oldest living former NBA player in the world.