The 1996 NBA draft class is often recognized as one of the best in league history as that was the year that future MVPs and all-time greats such as Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, and, of course, Kobe Bryant, began their professional careers. The then-New Jersey Nets chose Kerry Kittles with the eighth overall pick in that famed ’96 draft and while the four-year starter from Villanova may not have had the success of the players mentioned above, the two-time All American had a solid NBA career that was unfortunately hindered — and ultimately shortened — by injuries.
So where is Kerry Kittles today?
Kerry Kittles was a two-time All-American at Villanova
Considered one of the top prospects to ever come out of New Orleans, Kerry Kittles, who was named Louisiana Mr. Basketball in 1992, accepted a scholarship to Villanova and made an immediate impact on both ends of the floor for the Wildcats.
As a freshman in 1992-1993, Kittles started 17 of 27 games and averaged 10.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.7 steals, although Villanova went just 8-19. As a full-time starter as a sophomore, Kittles helped turn the team around, leading the Wildcats to a 20-12 record and an NIT title while averaging 19.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.7 steals, which earned him the first of three consecutive First-Team All-Big East selections.
In 1994-1995, he was named a consensus Second-Team All-American after averaging 21.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.2 steals while leading the team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in four years. As a senior, Kittles again led the Wildcats to the NCAA tourney and was named a First-Team All-American after averaging 20.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.4 steals.
To this day, Kerry Kittles remains Villanova’s all-time leader in points (2,243) and steals (277).
He had a solid NBA career, mostly with the Nets, but it was cut short due to injuries
Taken with the eighth pick of the famed 1996 NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets, Kerry Kittles started 57 of 82 games as a rookie and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team after averaging 16.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game. He also made 158 3-pointers that season, which wasn’t just a Nets rookie record but an NBA rookie record — the record has since been broken but Kittles still ranks eighth on that list.
He upped his scoring to 17.2 points per game in 1997-1998 but it was right around this time that knee injuries began to hinder his career. He underwent four surgeries in five years and missed the entire 2000-2001 season.
But Kittles came back strong and started every game for the Nets in 2001-2002 as the team made its first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals, where they were swept by Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers. Kittles again helped the Nets to the Finals the following season but New Jersey lost to the Spurs in six games.
He played one more season for the Nets but was then dealt to the Clippers in a salary purge ahead of the 2004-2005 season. While he seemed to be a great fit in LA, Kittles played just 11 games that season and then missed the entire 2005-2006 campaign, which led to his retirement.
In total, Kerry Kittles played 507 regular-season NBA games, averaging 14.1 points and 1.6 steals, and another 54 in the postseason, which is tied for the fourth-most in Nets history, where he averaged 12.3 points and 1.6 steals. He still ranks third on the franchise’s all-time list for 3-pointers made with 687 and is also third in steals with 803.
Where is Kerry Kittles today?
Not long after retiring from the NBA, Kerry Kittles, who is a father to four daughters and one son, returned to Villanova and earned his MBA, which later served him well as he embarked on a career in finance.
He also served in the NBA league office in the Corporate Crossover Program, which helps educate players (both current and former) on the necessary steps to pursue a career after basketball, and is also a member of Villanova’s Board of Trustees.
Kittles caught the coaching bug in 2016 and joined the coaching staff at Princeton, a role in which he served two seasons, and now stays connected to the game by co-hosting a Brooklyn Nets podcast called Fullcourt on Flatbush.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference