Here are the 20 greatest Men's College Basketball Players of all-time.
20. As a freshman, he seemed overhyped. As it turns out, he was "accurately hyped." The Jayhawks won the national title when Manning was a senior, despite a mediocre 21-11 record during the regular season; had he turned pro as a junior, they might have missed the NIT.
19. Anthony Davis (Kentucky 2011-2012): This young star is a shoe in for the first pick of the NBA draft and is widely the best college recruit in years. Davis was absolutely dominate in his first and only year at Kentucky; a year in which he accumulated every single player of the year award on way to his most valuable player award and National Title win over rival Kansas. He has set numerous records for Division I shot blocking, out blocking numerous teams all on his own. Davis is not only a double double guy, his complete control and dominance of both sides of the floor command more respect from other teams than any player in recent memory. He averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks, and almost 2 steals a game. We can only imagine if this young star stayed all 4 years.
17. Thousands of Americans despise Redick including myself. Why? Simply because he played for Duke and hurt my Tarheels more times than I can count. Redick is arguably the greatest college shooter of all time. Proof: every modern day college shooter is compared to the former Blue Devil. He never won a title but won scoring titles, and ended his career as the all-time three point and ACC scorer ever (subsequently surpassed).
16. The second man to lead the nation in both scoring and boards, Gathers was a 6-foot-7 center who outran everybody and adored offensive rebounding. You may not think he deserves such high ranking but if you look at his career stats, some say he could have cracked the top 10 had he not collapsed and died from a heart condition in the middle of a game. One of the worst in-game tragedies this country has ever seen.
15. Berry had a fantastic college career highlighted by a fantastic year at St. John’s. At St. John's University, Berry won the John Wooden Award and the Big East Men's Basketball Player of the Year award plus USBWA College Player of the Year in 1986, averaging 23 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. That is a a legendary year. Berry, nicknamed "The Truth", was also the second leading scorer on St. John's 1985 Final Four team.
14. Jerry West (West Virginia 1957-1960): West a monster late in his college career. As a junior, West scored 26.6 points and 12.3 rebounds a game. He dominated the NCAA tournament scoring a record 160 points, 32 points per game, and led all scorers and rebounders in every game he played. He was the MOP of the final four, an All American and was named the Athlete of the year. In his final collegiate season (1959–60) West averaged several career highs, such as scoring 29.3 points per game, a 134 season-assists, 16.5 rebounds per game, and a shooting average of 50.4% from the field, 76.6% from the free throw line. In his collegiate career, West totaled 2,309 points and 1,240 rebounds. He averaged 24.8 points per game and 13.3 rebounds.
13. The 6”8 Guard was one of the most dynamic college players ever. An All American and All ACC monster, Bias had as much hype as we have ever seen. Many feel he was as talented as Jordan coming out of college. Though he passed away from a dramatic and infamous overdose 2 days after being the second overall pick in the draft, Bias made his mark on the college game. “Everyone who played against him seems to insist he was the best college athlete they ever faced, which is one of the complimentary upsides to dying young.”
12. Hansbrough arguably has one of the best complete college careers of all time. Though he is out performing his NBA scouting report, Tyler is often compared to Tim Tebow for dominating the College game with little Pro level potentional. With every ACC award under his belt, Hansbrough also won every player of the year award in his senior and National Title winning senior year in which he became ACC’s all time leading scorer (passing Duke’s Reddick). He holds the NCAA record for most hit free throws and has numerous records including most ACC double doubles, 21.1 points per game for his career, and pretty much every single ACC record you can think of. He left UNC a legend and brought in a title on his way out, truly one of the best warriors and hardest working college athletes ever.
Bradley scored 2,503 points at Princeton, averaging 30.2 points per game. He was awarded the 1965 James E. Sullivan Award, presented annually to the United States' top amateur athlete, the first basketball player to win the honor. Bradley holds numerous Ivy League career records, including total points (1,253) and free throws made and attempted. Bradley was educated on and off the court, there is no doubt he has earned a spot as one of the best.
10. I have always strongly felt that Laettner was slightly overrated as a college player and slightly underrated and underutilized as a pro but there is no doubt he is one of the best college players ever. He played an insane 23 NCAA tournament games over his 4 year career. That is only 1 less than possible with a 6 game maximum each year. He averaged 17 and 8 while at Duke but holds numerous NCAA tournament records: Most points scored: 407; Most free throws made: 142; Most free throw attempts: 167; Most games played: 23. He made and started in 4 consecutive final fours. If these were not enough, he won player of the year awards and is perhaps best known for hitting the most memorable basketball shot of all time in a stunning 104-103 win over rival Kentucky.
9. Bill Russell (San Fransisco, 1953-1956): The greatest NBA Champion of all time was also a very successful collegiate player. Russell led San Fran to two NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956 while winning many player of the year awards. He once blocked 13 shots in a game and for his career averaged 20.7 points and 20.3 rebounds. That is the definition of the double double. John Wooden once called him “the greatest defensive man I’ve even seen.”
8. Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas, 1956-1958): Chamberlain was absolutely dominant in his college career. The 7 footer is known for his pure dominance in the paint as he simply overpowered everyone in front of him. In his first varsity game ever, Wilt poured in 52 points and 31 rebounds. He was an all-american and brought the Jayhawks to the finals where they lost in 4 overtimes to UNC. Over his career, Chamberlain averaged 30 points and 18 rebounds. Along with Lew Alcinder, these two players changed the way basketball would be played.
7. Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati 1957-1960): Oscar is more well known for dominance on the pro level but he also had one of the most amazing collegiate careers. Robertson averaged an amazing 33.8 points per game for his career; the third highest in NCAA history. In each of his three years, he won the national scoring title, was named an All-American, and was chosen College Player of the Year, while setting 14 NCAA and 19 school records. Robertson led the Cincinnati Bearcats to a 79–9 overall record during his three varsity seasons, including two Final Four appearances. However, he was not able to ever win a NCAA title.When Robertson left college he was the all-time leading NCAA scorer until Pete Maravich topped him in 1970.
6. The list of players who've scored 2,000 points and snagged 1,000 rebounds is surprisingly long. The list of players who scored points while snagging 1,000 rebounds is not. The L-Train finished with 3,217 and 1,429. His stats alone are quite legendary. Simmons is widely considered one of the top 5-6 college players ever to grace the courts.
Absolutely the most skilled 7-foot-4 player in college history, Sampson was one of the most recruited athletes ever, gracing the SI cover 6 times in a short period. A three-time Naismith player of the year, Sampson led Virginia to an NIT title and a final four appearance though he was never able to get the title. He is only the second player ever to take home 3 Naismith Awards in his career.
First, NCAA rules at the time of Maravich's collegiate career prohibited freshmen from taking part in varsity competition, preventing Maravich from adding to his career record for a full quarter of his time at LSU. During this first year, Maravich scored 741 points in freshman competition.
Second, Maravich played before the advent of the three-point line. His long-distance shooting skill thus produced far fewer points than would have been the case in a later era. Years later, former LSU head basketball coach Dale Brown charted every college game Maravich played, taking into consideration all shots he took. Brown calculated that at the NCAA rule of a three-point line at 19-foot (5.8 m), 9-inches from the rim, Maravich would have averaged thirteen 3-point scores per game, lifting the player's career average to 57 points per game. Simply insane.
3 seasons; 3 titles, 2 player of the year awards. Soon to be known as Kareem Abdul Jabar, Lew Alcindor had an impressive career enough on his own. The star of the 88-2 UCLA team of the late sixties is the most imposing college athlete of all-time. In his freshman year, Alcindor had 31 points, 21 boards, and eight blocks in his first game ever. He averaged 26.4 points a game for his career, had 943 field goals, and once scored 870 points in a season. To show his true dominance, keep the following fact in mind. The slam dunk was banned from college basketball after the 1967 season. Yes, all of college basketball changed and you could no longer slam dunk, simply due to the dominance of Alcindor. If there is not dominance I don’t know what is.