May 19, 1999
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State senior center Leif Nelson was the 59th overall selection in the United States Basketball Association's annual draft, held Wednesday. He was the fifth round selection of the Gulf Coast SunDogs, which are based in Sarasota, Fla. Nelson will report to the SunDogs' training camp Thursday, April 15.
The 6-11 Nelson averaged 2.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per game this season. He played in 22 games for the 10-19 Cougars, starting in five. Nelson scored a season-high 10 points in his final home game February 20 versus No. 7 Stanford. He was recently named to the Pac-10 All-Academic second team with a 3.11 GPA and will graduate in May with a degree in psychology.
Nelson will become just the third Washington State alumni to play in the USBL. The other two were Don Collins (1977-80), who played with the Tampa Bay Flash/Stars in 1986-87 and Neil Derrick (1991-92), who was with the Palm Beach Stingrays in 1993. Nelson was the highest of the three Pac-10 players selected in this year's USBL draft. Washington's Donald Watts went to the Pennsylvania ValleyDawgs in the sixth round (74th overall pick), while Michael Gill of California was selected in the sixth round by the Washington D.C. Congressionals (69th overall pick).
A native of Riverside, Calif., Nelson transferred to WSU from Utah Valley State College where he was a Dick Vitale JC All-America selection. He averaged 13 points and seven rebounds per game for Utah Valley. Nelson began his college career at Nebraska, where he averaged two points and two rebounds per game for the Cornhuskers' 1996 NIT championship squad.
The USBL is a professional developmental league with 13 teams set to play in 1999. The two-month USBL season begins April 30 with the SunDogs hosting the Kansas Cagerz and concludes on June 23. The SunDogs' president is former Chicago Bull Artis Gilmore.
For more information on the USBL or the Gulf Coast SunDogs, check out their web sites at www.usbl.com or www.sundoghoops.com.
#54 - LEIF ERIK NELSON
RS-SENIOR - CENTER - 6-11 - 272 - BORN 7/27/76 - RIVERSIDE, CALIF. (ARLINGTON HIGH '94/NEBRASKA/UTAH VALLEY STATE '97)
Washington State Career Statistics
3-POINT REBOUNDS YEAR GP-GS FGM-FGA FG% FGM-FGA FG% FTM-FTA FT% OFF DEF TOT/AVE PF-DQ PTS AVE AST TO BLK STL MIN AVE 1998 29-24 68-137 .496 0-0 .000 23-39 .590 47 81 128/4.4 80-2 159 5.5 10 41 15 10 481 16.6 1999 22-5 24-54 .444 0-0 .000 10-15 .667 13 28 41/1.9 41-1 58 2.6 1 21 2 6 184 8.4 Career 51-29 92-191 .482 0-0 .000 33-54 .611 60 109 169/3.3 121-3 217 4.2 11 62 17 16 665 13.0