Top 30 NCAA Basketball Players of the last 30 Years

by

untitled

 

 

With another entertaining March Madness in the books, let’s take a look back at the best college hoops players of the last 30 seasons.

To be eligible, you must have spent at least two seasons in Div I, beginning with the 1986-87 season. NCAA tournament success is factored, but is not a necessity.

 

1. Danny Manning, Kansas 1984 – 1988

mannida01

If you were creating a forward in a lab, this is your guy. He had it all: perimeter game, mid-range, post-up, handles, quick hands, unselfishness,  and toughness. He dragged a bunch of role players to a National Championship, punctuating his storied career with 31 – 18 – 5 steals in the title game v Oklahoma.

Accolades: NCAA Champion, Final Four Most Outstanding Player, National Player of the Year, 2x 1st Team All-American, 3x Big 8 Player of the Year

Career stats: 20 PPG – 59% FG – 8 REB – 2 STL – 1 BLK

 

 

2. Christian Laettner, Duke 1988 – 1992

laettch01

Nearly Manning’s equal as a big man, Laettner was the original college stretch-4. As comfortable on the block as he was from 20 feet, he raised his game with the competition and also played with a nasty streak. Won 21 of 23 tournament games.

Accolades: 2x NCAA Champ, National POTY, Final Four MOP, 1st Team All-American, ACC POTY, NCAA Tournament Career Scoring Leader

Career stats: 17 PPG – 57% FG – 49% 3 FG – 8 REB – 2 STL – 1 BLK

 

 

3. Tim Duncan, Wake Forest 1993 – 1997

duncati01

Much like his NBA tenure, Duncan was an unassuming superstar at Wake Forest. As complete a center as the college game has ever seen, the only thing that escaped him was NCAA tournament success (although he won ACC regular season and tournament championships).

Accolades: National POTY, 2x 1st Team All-American, 2x ACC POTY, Defensive POTY, NCAA Rebounding Leader

Career stats: 17 PPG – 58% FG – 12 REB – 4 BLK

 

 

4. Larry Johnson, UNLV 1989 – 1991

johnsla02

LJ arrived at UNLV after two POTY seasons at Odessa JC, and continued dominating. The prototype power forward, Johnson perfectly blended power and grace, and his menacing demeanor scared the daylights out of opposing players and fans.

Accolades: NCAA Champ, National POTY, 2x 1st Team All-American, 2x Big West POTY

Career stats: 22 PPG – 64% FG – 11 REB – 2 STL – 1 BLK

 

 

5. Chris Jackson, Louisiana St 1988 – 1990

d1f85ab9aa3c2023173ce4c6d79eed3b

College players come and go, but if you had a chance to watch Jackson, you witnessed irrepressible greatness. He combined an explosive first step with unlimited range, and was amazing in two dynamic years in Baton Rouge. He scored 48 in his third college game, and 53 at Florida two games later. Maybe the most talented guard to ever play college hoops; he also had Tourette’s Syndrome.

Accolades: 2x 1st Team All-American, 2x SEC POTY

Career stats: 29 PPG – 47% FG – 3 REB – 4 ASS – 2 STL

 

 

6. Glenn Robinson, Purdue 1992 – 1994

972ed10afb5304403199385630cf3cdc

A man among boys at the collegiate level, Big Dog got whatever he wanted at the offensive end his two years at Purdue. As versatile a scorer as the NCAA has ever seen, Robinson punctuated his career with this memorable dunk v Kansas in the Sweet 16:

Accolades: National POTY, 1st Team All-American, Big 10 POTY, National Scoring Leader

Career stats: 28 PPG – 48% FG – 10 REB – 2 STL – 1 BLK

 

 

7. Grant Hill, Duke 1990 – 1994

hillgr01.png

It seems lazy to simplify it, but Hill was a very well-rounded basketball player with no apparent weaknesses. He excelled at every facet, and by all accounts was also a very nice guy.

Accolades: 2x NCAA Champ, 1st Team All-American, ACC POTY, Defensive POTY

Career stats: 15 PPG – 55% FG – 6 REB – 4 ASS – 2 STL – 1 BLK

 

 

8. Jason Kidd, California 1992 – 1994

kiddja01

Nobody understood the point guard position better at the college level. Their chief responsibility is to control the game and facilitate scoring for teammates. Kidd’s elite passing combined with his ability to get into the paint at will, and defend on the other end, exemplified what a lead guard is all about.

Accolades: 1st Team All-American, Pac 10 POTY, 2x National Assists Leader, 2x National Steals Leader

Career stats: 15 PPG – 47% FG – 6 REB – 8 ASS – 4 STL

 

 

9. Allen Iverson, Georgetown 1994 – 1996

imrs

The fastest and toughest player on the floor every night, The Answer made the Hoyas a must-watch. He wasn’t a traditional point guard, but nobody electrified a crowd like Iverson.

Accolades: 1st Team All-American, National Steals Leader

Career stats: 23 PPG – 44% FG – 4 REB – 5 ASS – 3 STL

 

 

10. Shaquille O’Neal, Louisiana St 1989 – 1992

onealsh01

Sheer brute force, Shaq was an instant sensation and bullied his way through the SEC and everyone in his path. The only thing keeping him from being even higher on this list was his penchant for foul trouble and limited tourney success.

Accolades: 2x 1st Team All-American, 2x SEC POTY, NCAA Blocks Leader, NCAA Rebounds Leader

Career stats: 22 PPG – 61% FG – 14 REB – 5 BLK

 

 

11. Kenny Anderson, Georgia Tech 1989 – 1991

anderke01

Arguably the most sought after blue-chip in high school history, Anderson arrived at Tech amid much fanfare and hype; he didn’t disappoint. The prototypical showy NY point guard, he excelled at both passing (18 assists v Pitt, 17 v UNC) and scoring (90 points in consecutive games v Georgia and Loyola Marymount).

Accolades: 1st Team All-American

Career stats: 23 PPG – 47% FG – 6 REB – 7 ASS – 3 STL

 

 

12. Alonzo Mourning, Georgetown 1988 – 1992

mournal01

A defensive menace from day one, Mourning eventually developed his post-up game to match the other end. He defined “enforcer” and singlehandedly intimidated entire frontcourts for four years.

Accolades: 1st Team All-American, Big East POTY, Defensive POTY, NCAA Blocks Leader

Career stats: 17 PPG – 57% FG – 9 REB – 4 BLK

 

 

13. Sean Elliott, Arizona 1985 – 1989

elliose01

Similar in many ways to Hill, versatility was Elliott’s mantra. Quiet and reserved, he was the rare great college player that stayed four years and graduated.

Accolades: National POTY, 2x 1st Team All-American, 2x Pac 12 POTY, National Scoring Leader

Career stats: 19 PPG – 51% FG – 46% 3 FG – 6 REB – 3 ASS – 1 STL

 

 

14. Antawn Jamison, North Carolina 1995 – 1998

jamisan01

Remarkably consistent every time out, Jamison had few peers as a scorer/rebounder. He had his deficiencies as a passer and defender, but few dominated the ACC at the forward position like Jamison.

Accolades: National POTY, 1st Team All-American

Career stats: 19 PPG – 58% FG – 10 REB – 1 STL – 1 BLK

 

 

15. Ray Allen, Connecticut 1993 – 1996

allenra02

In an era before analytics, Allen’s numbers were extremely rare for a guard that did most of his damage from 15 feet out. A career 45% average from three, on five attempts a game. SHOOTER!!!

Accolades: 1st Team All-American, Big East POTY

 

 

16. Bobby Hurley, Duke 1989 – 1993

7bfe5a86b611c747bcedd663fa486fe5

Usually the smartest player on the floor, Hurley exemplified toughness and work rate. Slower and less athletic than his contemporaries, nobody controlled a game as consistently well over four seasons than Hurley.

Accolades: 2x NCAA Champ, Final Four MOP, 1st Team All-American, NCAA Career Assists Leader

Career stats: 14 PPG – 41% FG – 41% 3 FG – 8 ASS – 2 STL

 

 

17. Marcus Camby, Massachusetts 1993 – 1996

cambyma01

Ahead of his time, Camby was a big man who ran the floor like a wing. He led UMass , ranked #1 for most of the year, to the Final Four in ’96. They lost to a loaded Kentucky team in the semis, but he was easily the best player on the floor.

Accolades: National POTY, 1st Team All-American, A-10 POTY

Career stats: 15 PPG – 50% FG – 7 REB – 1 STL – 4 BLK

 

 

18. Stephen Curry, Davidson 2006 – 2009

curryst01

For the most part, what you see Curry doing today in Golden St, he did at Davidson. For ten days in March of ’08, Curry tuned up Gonzaga, Georgetown, Wisconsin, and Kansas in what must go down as one of the most incredible performances in NCAA tournament history.

Accolades: 1st Team All-American, 2x SoCon POTY, National Scoring Leader

Career stats: 25 PPG – 47% FG – 41% 3 FG – 88% FT – 5 REB – 4 ASS – 2 STL

 

 

19. Kemba Walker, Connecticut 2008 – 2011

walkeke02

Unique on this list in that he only had one exceptional season – but what a season. Reeling from losing 7 of 11, UConn beat DePaul, Georgetown, Syracuse, Pitt, and Louisville in consecutive days to win the Big East tourney and an auto bid. Walker scored 130 points, including the step-back of all step-backs v Pitt:

He followed that up by carrying UConn to six more wins and an improbable NCAA title.

Accolades: NCAA Champ, Final Four MOP, 1st Team All-American

Career stats: 16 PPG – 43% FG – 4 REB – 4 ASS – 2 STL

 

 

20. Shane Battier, Duke 1997 – 2001

battish01

The definition of selfless, Battier was the rare great college player that cared more about the defensive end of the floor. His last two seasons he evolved into a three-point threat, and consequently turned himself into one of the most well-rounded forwards on this list.

Accolades: NCAA Champ, NCAA MOP, National POTY, 1st Team All-American, 3x Defensive POTY, ACC POTY

Career stats: 14 PPG – 50% FG – 42% 3 FG – 6 REB -2 STL – 2 BLK

 

 

21. Elton Brand, Duke 1997 – 1999

brandel01

An unstoppable offensive force by his second season, Brand embodied work ethic and hard-nosed basketball. The consummate college power forward.

Accolades: National POTY, 1st Team All-American, ACC POTY

Career stats: 16 PPG – 61% FG – 9 REB – 2 BLK

 

 

22. Hank Gathers, USC/Lloyola Marymount 1985 – 1990

hank-gathers-loyola-marymount-died

His numbers were inflated due to Paul Westhead’s up-tempo system, but Gathers was in the Jamison mold; unstoppable inside of ten feet and a monster on the boards. He died tragically on the court in a scene that if you saw it, is burned into your memory.

Accolades: WCC POTY, National Scoring Leader, National Rebounding Leader

Career stats: 23 PPG – 59% FG – 10 REB – 1 BLK

 

 

23. Corliss Williamson, Arkansas 1992 – 1995

willico02

As consistently solid as any player on this list, Williamson did the most with the least of any college PF in memory. Every night you were getting 20, 7, and a forearm in the back.

Accolades: NCAA Champ, NCAA MOP, 2x SEC POTY

Career stats: 19 PPG – 58% FG – 7 REB – 1 BLK

 

 

24. Hersey Hawkins, Bradley 1984 – 1988

hawkihe01

The epitome of a scoring guard, Hawkins had one of the most absurd stat lines in college history his Senior season at Bradley: 36 PPG on 52% shooting. Rest assured we won’t see those numbers from a perimeter player any time soon.

Accolades: National POTY, 1st Team All-American, MVC POTY

Career stats: 24 PPG – 54% FG – 8 REB – 4 ASS – 3 STL

 

 

25. Keith Van Horn, Utah 1993 – 1997

vanhoke01

Not too many forwards play four seasons and average 21 and 9. Mix in his penchant for late game heroics, and KVH has to be on the list.

Accolades: 1st Team All-American, 3x WAC POTY

Career stats: 21 PPG – 52% FG – 9 REB – 1 BLK

 

 

26. Doug McDermott, Creighton 2010 – 2014

mcderdo01

This is all that needs to be said: only four players in NCAA history scored more points than Dougie McBuckets.

Accolades: National POTY, 3x All-American, Big East POTY, NCAA Scoring Leader

 

 

27. Jim Jackson, Ohio St 1989 – 1992

jacksji01

A really good wing for three years in a really good conference.

Accolades: 2x 1st Team All-American, 2x Big 10 POTY

Career stats: 19 PPG – 50% FG – 6 REB – 4 ASS – 2 STL

 

 

28. Dwyane Wade, Marquette 2001 – 2003

wadedw01

His 2003 NCAA tourney performance alone lands him in the top 50.

Accolades: 1st Team All-American, Conf USA POTY

Career stats: 20 PPG – 49% FG – 7 REB – 4 ASS – 2 STL – 1 BLK

 

 

29. Lionel Simmons, LaSalle 1986 – 1990

56f4308f56600.image

Only Pete Maravich and Freeman Williams scored more points in college than L-Train; scored in double figures 128 of 131 career games.

Accolades: National POTY, 1st Team All-American, 3x MAAC POTY

Career stats: 25 PPG – 50% FG – 11 REB – 2 STL

 

 

30. Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina 2005 – 2009

hansbty01

Somehow,  someway, Hansbrough willed his way onto this list, much like his college career. Hard to find a more decorated ACC player, despite his limitations.

Accolades: National POTY, 3x 1st Team All-American, ACC POTY

Career stats: 20 PPG – 54% FG – 9 REB

 

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Danny Ferry, Duke

Chris Webber, Michigan

Blake Griffin, Oklahoma

Glen Rice, Michigan

Draynmond Green, Michigan St

Jared Sullinger, Ohio St

Jimmer Fredette, BYU

Adam Morrison, Gonzaga

Wally Szczerbiak, Miami of Ohio

JJ Redick, Duke

Sherman Douglas, Syracuse

Andrew Bogut, Utah

Emeka Okafor, Connecticut

Juan Dixon, Maryland

Jay Williams, Duke

Joe Forte, North Carolina

Troy Murphy, Notre Dame

Kenyon Martin, Cincinnati

Troy Bell, Boston College

Mateen Cleaves, Michigan St

Richard Hamilton, Connecticut

Andre Miller, Utah

Jason Terry, Arizona

Paul Pierce, Kansas

Kerry Kittles, Villanova

Jerry Stackhouse, North Carolina

Steve Francis, Maryland

Joe Smith, Maryland

Donyell Marshall, Connecticut

Jamal Mashburn, Kentucky

Mookie Blaylock, Oklahoma

Ed O’Bannon, UCLA

Jameer Nelson, St Joseph’s

Calbert Cheaney, Indiana

Dee Brown, Illinois

Derrick Coleman, Syracuse

Scoonie Penn, Boston College/Ohio St

Mark Macon, Temple

Anfernee Hardaway, Memphis

 

 

Stats courtesy of http://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/

Photos courtesy of http://www.basketball-reference.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: