Former All-American and Big Sky Conference Player of the Year is now in his seventh season with the Detroit Pistons in the NBA
After 1,438 points as an Eagle and more than 6,000 points as a pro, Rodney Stuckey has scored again.
The former Eastern Washington University men’s basketball standout has been recognized as No. 13 among the best 50 male athletes all-time in the Big Sky Conference. He is the lone basketball representative from EWU on the list thus far announced by the league in celebration of its 50th anniversary.
A 2004 graduate of Kentwood High School in Kent, Wash., Stuckey was an All-American at Eastern – both athletically and academically – after averaging 24 points per game in each of his two seasons. He helped EWU win 30 games in two seasons and had a 3.34 grade point average. He had his No. 3 jersey retired on Jan. 11, 2008, in ceremonies at Eastern.
Now in his seventh season playing for the Detroit Pistons in the National Basketball Association, Stuckey has scored 5,879 points in 440 regular season games (260 as a starter), with averages of 13.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and nearly one steal per game. He was a second team All-Rookie Team selection in 2007-08 and twice has earned NBA Player of the Week accolades.
He also scored 199 points in 21 playoff games in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons for Detroit. This season, in 30 games off the bench for the 16-22 Pistons, Stuckey has averaged 13.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Making Eastern history every step of the way, Stuckey had his dream of playing professional basketball realized on June 28, 2007. That day, the Pistons selected Stuckey as the 15th pick overall in the NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Stuckey is EWU’s highest draft pick ever and just the second in school history, and is also the third-highest selection in the now 50-year history of the Big Sky Conference. He was even picked higher than Spokane’s favorite son and NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer, John Stockton. Stuckey is believed to be the second-highest local player ever selected, surpassed only by former Gonzaga star Adam Morrison who was the third pick in 2006 by the Charlotte Bobcats. Stockton, also a Gonzaga standout, was selected 16th by the Utah Jazz when he was drafted in 1984.
Eastern’s only previous NBA draftee is Ron Cox, a sixth-round draft choice by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1977. Although he never played a game in the NBA, Cox is EWU’s all-time leading scorer with 1,741 points as Stuckey finished fourth in school history with 1,438 points.
Until Stuckey was chosen, the only other first-round draft choice in Big Sky history was Michael Ray Richardson from Montana. He was the fourth pick overall by the New York Knickerbockers in 1978. Weber State’s Damian Lillard was the sixth pick overall in the 2012 NBA Draft.
After 50 years of competition, the Big Sky Conference is continuing a year-long journey celebrating the league’s success both on and off the playing field by honoring 50 years of men’s athletics and 25 years of women’s athletics. The 50th anniversary will celebrate the all-time individuals, teams and moments in the Big Sky’s history, including the selection of the league’s Top 50 male student-athletes and the top 25 female student-athletes. Along with the lists, the league will unveil the most memorable moments for both men’s and women’s competition.
For links to stories of the Top 50 Male Athletes and Top 50 Men’s Moments revealed thus far, go to: http://www.bigskyconf.com.
RODNEY STUCKEY’S EWU HIGHLIGHTS
• Former Eastern Washington University men’s basketball All-American and current Detroit Piston Rodney Stuckey had his EWU jersey retired in ceremonies that took place on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2008, at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. The 2008-09 season would have been Stuckey’s senior season at EWU had he played all four seasons.
• EWU’s highest draft pick ever and the second-highest in the history of the Big Sky Conference.
• All-American at Eastern – both athletically and academically – after averaging 24 points per game in his career. He helped EWU win 30 games.
• As a sophomore, he ranked seventh in NCAA Division I in scoring with an average of 24.6 points per game. He was eighth as a freshman with a 24.2 average.
• As both a freshman and sophomore, he was given honorable mention All-America honors by the Associated Press.
• With a 3.34 cumulative grade point average, he was a third team selection on the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team and twice received All-District VIII honors.
• In just two seasons, he broke 10 school records and scored a total of 1,438 points. He had nine games with at least 30 points (out of 59 career games).
• He was a preseason candidate for the John R. Wooden Award in the 2006-07 season.
• In his freshman season, Collegeinsider.com voted Stuckey its National Freshman of the Year.
• Big Sky Conference MVP and Freshman of the Year in 2005-06.
RODNEY STUCKEY’S YEAR-BY-YEAR NBA CAREER
Stuckey made his NBA debut in the 2007 Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev., helping the Pistons to a 4-1 record with averages of 30.6 minutes, 19.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. But he injured his hand during the preseason and missed the first 25 games of the regular season. He finally made his NBA debut on Dec. 21, 2007, and his first start in the NBA was on March 1, 2008, in a 103-73 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
He was impressive as a rookie, earning second team NBA All-Rookie Team honors as selected by the league’s head coaches. He finished his first season with averages of 19.8 minutes, 7.8 points and 2.9 assists per game as the Pistons advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals where it lost to eventual NBA champion Boston. His minutes increased in the playoffs as he averaged 8.2 points and 3.4 assists, while making 87.9 percent of his free throws, in 17 playoff games.
In his second season in 2008-09, Stuckey started 65 of 79 games, averaging 31.9 minutes, 13.4 points, 4.9 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.5 rebounds. In his third season, he was a starter in all but six of the 73 games he played and averaged 34.2 minutes, 16.6 points, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 3.8 rebounds. In the 2010-11 season – his fourth – he started 54 of 70 games and averaged 15.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals and a career-high 5.2 assists. In 2011-12 – his fifth season as a pro – Stuckey started 48 of 55 games and averaged 14.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals and a 3.8 assists. His sixth NBA season in 2012-13 ended with him starting 24 of 76 games and averaging 11.5 points, 3.6 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 0.7 steals.