A native of the Bronx, Rod Strickland became a college star at DePaul University where he appeared in 87 games. As a junior, he was a First Team All-American after averaging 20.0 points and 7.8 assists. A 1987 and 1988 All-America pick, Strickland helped lead the Blue Demons to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1985-86 to 1987–88, including Sweet Sixteen showings in 1986 and 1987. He was drafted in the first round by his hometown New York Knicks, and also starred with the Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Bullets (later the Wizards) from 1992 to 1998, averaging 17.2 points and nine assists. Rod was named 2nd team All-NBA in '97 and also led the league in assists in '98 at 10.5 a game. Strickland also became only the 25th player in NBA history to record 10,000 points and 5,000 assists.