Aaron Gray and Brant Weidner were inside forces.
Parkland's Weidner teamed with former Whitehall standout and current DeSales University coach Scott Coval at William & Mary before getting a cup of coffee in the NBA.
Catasauqua's Larry Miller was a terrific shooter and once held the ABA single-game scoring record.
Palmerton's Bill Mlkvy owned the coolest nickname of any previous Lehigh Valley product who was an NBA Draft pick — The Owl without a Vowel.
Colgate's glory years in the Patriot League can be traced back to the dominant combination of power and athleticism that was Adonal Foyle. He earned an NBA paycheck for a dozen years.
What happens after Thursday's 2013 NBA Draft should change the local basketball landscape as Lehigh graduate C.J. McCollum is not only a projected lottery pick (1st 14 picks), but could be an immediate impact player with a lengthy pro career.
McCollum's athleticism and skill set are topped only by his work ethic … and personality.
I have covered the Patriot League the last 14 years. I have witnessed courtside all three of the league's NCAA Tournament victories (Bucknell in 2005-06, Lehigh in 2012).
I saw every one of Bucknell's wins during its unprecedented 14-0 regular season in 2006. That Bison team remains, in my opinion, the best club in league history.
For the last four years, I have had the pleasure of covering who I feel is league's best player of all-time in McCollum.
No offense to Bucknell product Mike Muscala, who also should hear his name called during Thursday's NBA Draft from Brooklyn's Barclays Center. The 7-footer, in my opinion, is the best big man in league history.
McCollum was a two-time player of the year, three-time all-tournament team selection and the league's all-time leading scorer.
But he is so much more than that. Former American coach Jeff Jones said McCollum could have been the league's best passer or defensive player if that was what was asked of him.
Instead, he is the league's all-time best because he can do it all: Tremendous court vision. Aggressive and instinctive on-ball defender. Solid rebounder. Fearless scorer for all angles and distances inside 25 feet.
McCollum willed the Mountain Hawks to victory on several nights and was a tremendous leader. He was the one who dragged teammates to late-night shootarounds and led his team through a sluggish practice. He was encouraging and inspirational with his words, but a leader by example.
And, believe it or not, he is humble. Confident? Absolutely. A little flamboyant (i.e.: waving his arms at Pitt's raucous Zoo Crew) at times? Sure. Cocky? Nope.
When I asked him about becoming the league's all-time leading scorer a few moments after he did so in torching host Sacred Heart last November, his response was: "Oh, I didn't know I broke it."
McCollum was never about individual statistics or achievement. Team wins were all that mattered.
That is why it will be a night to remember when Lehigh gets around to retiring his No. 3 jersey to the rafters at Stabler Arena.
The 6-foot-3, 197-pounder is taking that unselfish attitude to the NBA. He doesn't care which team drafts him. He doesn't care when he gets drafted. He doesn't care which position he plays — point guard or shooting guard.
He just wants to play.
The fact that McCollum can play multiple positions speaks to his skill set. He came to Lehigh a skinny, bony guard. He left a buff, versatile athlete with improved lateral quickness, better range and strength.
I had the good fortune of covering the best player to come out of the Wyoming Valley in GAR High School and Florida State product Bob Sura. He spent more than a decade in the NBA. The 6-5 guard was similar in some ways to McCollum.
Sura was athletic and versatile. Fearless and gutsy.
McCollum's skill set is more polished. Sura was a creative scorer. McCollum is that way, but is more efficient in getting his points. He's a solid outside scorer and will make teams pay at the foul line.
For me, the question isn't: Will C.J. McCollum succeed?
It's a matter of how much he will succeed. Starter? All-Star? Who knows.
But it's going to fun finding out.
Twitter: For live updates from Thursday's NBA Draft, follow @TomHousenick
LEHIGH VALLEY AND THE NBA
Below is a list of players from the area who were NBA Draft picks.
High school: Catasauqua
College: North Carolina
Drafted: 5th round in 1968 by the 76ers
Career: Played parts of seven seasons in the ABA for the L.A. Stars, Carolina Cougars, San Diego Conquistadors, Virginia Squires and Utah Stars. … Averaged 13.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game during his career.
High school: Emmaus
Drafted: 2nd round in 2007 by the Bulls
Career: Has split time the last six seasons with the Bulls, Hornets and Raptors. … Has averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. … Has 1,001 career points in 281 games.
High school: Parkland
College: William & Mary
Drafted: 4th round in 1983 by the Spurs
Career: Appeared in eight games during the 1983-84 season with the Spurs. … He had eight points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots in a combined 38 minutes of action.
High school: Stephen F. Palmer, Palmerton
Drafted: Territorial pick in 1952 by the Philadelphia Warriors
Career: Played in 31 games in 1952-53 season for the Warriors. … He averaged 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in a total of 608 minutes.
PATRIOT LEAGUE AND THE NBA
The Patriot League's list of NBA Draft picks is a short one. Thursday's draft will include twice as many as in the league's previous 22 seasons, courtesy of Lehigh's C.J. McCollum and Bucknell's Mike Muscala.
Drafted: 8th pick in the first round in 1997 by the Golden State Warriors
Career: Played 10 of his 12 seasons with the Warriors. … Averaged 4.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game. … Started 269 of 733 career games.