10 Best College Basketball Players Of All Time
When listing the 10 best college basketball players of all time, it's important to establish a set of guidelines. The following rankings are based both individual performance as well as team success.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. No one embodies collegiate success like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. During his three years at UCLA, he was known by his given name, Lew Alcindor. Regardless of what name he went by, he absolutely dominated college basketball, leading the Bruins to three straight championships (1967, 1968, 1969).
- Bill Walton. Another UCLA big man, Walton was a member of two of National Championship teams (1972. 1973). His performance in the 1972 title game is, to this day, one of the most spectacular offensive displays in tournament history, missing only one shot and scoring 44 points. That year UCLA finished a perfect 33-0.
- Pete Maravich. "Pistol" Pete turned the college basketball world on its ear when he arrived at LSU as a mop-haired, floppy sock-wearing freshman. He made his statement immediately, scoring 50 points in his first game with the Tigers. He remains the all-time leading scorer in NCAA history with 3,667 career points.
- Oscar Robertson. The "Big O." Basketball has not seen a talent like Robertson since. His nearly 34 points per game average ranks 3rd all time. Although, he never led his Cincinnati Bearcats to a national title, Robertson left an indelible mark on the sport as one of the most exciting and mind-blowing players to ever lace up sneakers.
- Bill Russell. It's seems almost criminal that Russell is ranked this low, but so does the fact that Russell was only recruited by his hometown college, the University of San Francisco. He led the Dons to two national titles, setting a whole new standard for individual defensive dominance along the way.
- Ralph Samson. One of the most dominating players in college basketball history, Samson seems best remembered for all things he didn't do. What seemed destined to be a long and glorious pro career was prematurely cut short due to laundry list of injuries. However, when he was still patrolling the paint at Virginia, no one could deny his place among the best college players of all time.
- Christian Laettner. Laettner's resume is nearly impeccable. He started in four Final Fours, winning two. He won Naismith Player of the Year honors in 1992, and holds a variety of other NCAA Tournament records as well. His game-winning shot against Kentucky is one of the most iconic moments in college basketball history.
- David Thompson. Nicknamed "Skywalker," Thompson dazzled crowds with his high-flying, above-the-rim game. With a 48-inch vertical leap, he could, and did, dunk over just about everyone who stood in his path. In 1973, he led NC State Wolfpack to an undefeated season, but were ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. The following year, however, they got into the tournament, and Thompson delivered a title for his team, making him one of the best college players of all time.
- Magic Johnson. In only two years of college, Johnson elevated Michigan State to national prominence, capturing a title in 1979. Johnson took home Most Outstanding Player honors thanks to an amazing performance against the Larry Bird-led Indiana State Sycamores. Before becoming an NBA legend, Magic Johnson secured his place among the college players in history.
- Patrick Ewing. As the center for the Georgetown, Ewing anchored the middle for the Hoyas en route to the 1984 championship. As great as he was, and despite leading his team to three championship games, Ewing is often more criticized for his failures than celebrated for his achievements. Tough losses to Michael Jordan and the UNC Tar Heels, as well as a devastating upset at the hands of an under-sized Villanova team, mar what was an otherwise outstanding college career.
Posted on: Jun. 11, 2010