NBA Draft: Finest faculty basketball participant chosen at each slot

By Andy Katz
FOX Sports activities School Basketball Analyst

As the following class of rookies take heart stage Thursday night time within the much-anticipated 2022 NBA Draft, we’re taking a step again and digging deep into the historical past books.

Who’re the best faculty basketball gamers of all time, and the place have been they chose within the draft?

Whereas NBA legends similar to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (previously Lew Alcindor) and Invoice Russell have been chosen on the prime of the primary spherical, different NBA stars like Draymond Inexperienced and Jalen Brunson needed to wait it out earlier than finally listening to their names known as on draft night time.

Sit again and buckle up as we checklist the perfect faculty basketball superstars chosen at each slot, 1-60, in NBA historical past.

Remember that this isn’t a precise science. It’s merely our takes and opinions.

Let the enjoyable start.

The superlatives are infinite. Alcindor, as he was identified at UCLA previous to altering his title to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971, performed solely three seasons as a result of freshmen weren’t eligible to play faculty basketball. His NCAA Event report was 12-0. He went 88-2 in these three seasons with UCLA, averaging 26.4 factors and 15.5 rebounds whereas capturing over 63% from the sector. He received his first 44 video games earlier than dropping by two to Houston. Alcindor received a nationwide title in every of his three seasons. Three seasons, three titles! He was essentially the most dominant heart of his period. Case closed.

Russell dominated the game and his place within the early Nineteen Fifties. He had a 9-0 NCAA Event report, averaged 20.7 factors and 20.3 rebounds a sport whereas capturing 51.6%. Take into consideration that. … He averaged 20 and 20! San Francisco went 71-8 in his three seasons with the Dons and received two nationwide championships. Russell’s protection was unmatched, and his intimidation and presence within the put up made him a transcendent participant.

Jordan performed three seasons for Dean Smith and the Tar Heels earlier than leaving for the NBA. He was 8-2 within the NCAA Event, successful the nationwide championship in 1982 as a freshman when he hit the game-winning shot to beat Georgetown. He ended his profession averaging 17.7 factors, 5 boards and capturing 54%. His finest statistical 12 months was his sophomore season when he averaged 20 factors per sport. He wasn’t as dominant a participant in faculty as he was with the Bulls within the NBA. However he was changing into one thing particular with every passing sport.

Jackson was a two-time Massive Ten Participant of the Yr and a UPI Participant of the Yr. He had dominant seasons in 1991 and ’92 enjoying for the Buckeyes. Jackson averaged 19.2 factors and shot over 50% in his three seasons with the Buckeyes. He was a two-time consensus All-American. The Buckeyes performed within the NCAA Event in every of his three seasons. He was a powerful presence, enjoying the large guard properly and changing into a tough matchup in each sport.

Barkley didn’t have the postseason success in faculty that he had within the NBA, however he was simply as a lot of a mismatch for opposing groups. Barkley was extremely tough to take care of in his three seasons with the Tigers (1981-84), averaging 14.1 factors and 9.6 rebounds whereas capturing over 62%. Barkley grew to become a rebounding drive in faculty and solely enhanced it as he grew to become an all-time nice within the NBA.

Thought-about one of many biggest basketball gamers of all time, Chook starred at Indiana State from 1976-79. The Sycamores had by no means made an NCAA Event look earlier than he arrived in ’76. Throughout his three-year run, the crew went 81-13 and appeared within the faculty’s first NCAA nationwide championship sport. He completed his collegiate profession averaging 30.3 factors and 13.3 rebounds per sport. He was a two-time MVC Participant of the Yr, a two-time consensus All-American and the Nationwide Participant of the Yr in 1979.

When speaking in regards to the biggest scorers in faculty basketball historical past, Simmons should be included within the dialogue. A 3-time MAAC Participant of the Yr, Simmons was an unstoppable drive in faculty. He completed his profession with 3,217 factors, which at present ranks fourth all-time behind Pete Maravich, Freeman Williams and Chris Clemons. In 1990, Simmons grew to become the primary participant in NCAA historical past to attain greater than 3,000 factors and seize greater than 1,100 rebounds. That 12 months, Simmons was named a consensus first-team All-American and was named the Naismith School Participant of the Yr.

The early-to-mid 2000s featured an abundance of elite level guards throughout faculty basketball. However you’d be hard-pressed to seek out any participant who put collectively pretty much as good a two-year stretch as Ford. When Ford arrived in Austin in 2001, not solely did he assist information the Longhorns to a 22-win season and a spot within the Candy 16, however he additionally grew to become the primary freshman in NCAA historical past to guide the nation in assists. The next season, Ford ranked third within the nation in assists whereas main Texas to its first Ultimate 4 look in 55 years. He was named a consensus first-team All-American and received each the Naismith School Participant of the Yr and Picket Award.

Walker loved a standout three-year profession at UConn (2008-11), however his junior 12 months is taken into account by many to be one of many biggest particular person seasons in faculty basketball historical past. That season, Walker averaged 23.5 factors, 5.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists per sport whereas main the Huskies on an unforgettable run to the NCAA title. He additionally led UConn to the Massive East Event title by successful 5 video games in 5 days, scoring a tournament-record 130 factors alongside the best way. He can be named first-team All-Massive East and first-team All-American, and was the recipient of the Bob Cousy Award, which works to the highest level guard within the nation.

One of many prime scorers in faculty basketball historical past, Fredette loved an unimaginable four-year profession at BYU (2007-11). After averaging 28.9 factors per sport throughout his senior marketing campaign, Fredette left BYU holding nearly each faculty and Mountain West Convention scoring report, together with most factors scored in a sport (52) and season (1,068). He was named the MWC Participant of the Yr and the consensus Nationwide Participant of the Yr in 2011.

Redick was an amazing faculty participant for Mike Krzyzewski. He was the Picket and Naismith Award winner, a two-time ACC participant of the Yr and two-time ACC Event MVP. Redick outlined Duke basketball throughout his four-year run (2002-2006). He was a profession 40% 3-point shooter and had an exhilarating senior season in 2006, averaging 26.8 factors per sport whereas battling Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison for the scoring title (Morrison averaged 28.1). Redick was beloved at Cameron Indoor Stadium and polarizing on the highway. However he lapped all of it up and embraced his function because the go-to scorer for the Blue Devils.

Dr. J performed simply three seasons at UMass and solely 15 video games in his first season. However he shined in his subsequent two, averaging 19 and 20 a sport, respectively. He left for the professionals in 1971, enjoying within the ABA earlier than shifting over to the NBA in 1976. He didn’t have the identical hype enjoying at UMass, however finally, he ought to be appeared again on as a steal at 12. He would go down as one of many biggest gamers of his era and a transformational expertise. He stays the best participant to play for the Minutemen.

Hansbrough goes down as one of the productive faculty gamers of all time. He was a consensus Nationwide Participant of the Yr, an ACC Participant of the Yr and a four-time All-ACC participant. He received a nationwide championship in 2009 amid a dominant run by the Tar Heels. He averaged 20 and 12 for Roy Williams and was a drive within the ACC, enjoying a bodily type. He continually sacrificed his physique to supply for the Tar Heels and relished enjoying within the Duke-Carolina rivalry video games.

Drexler was the 1983 Southwest Convention Participant of the Yr, and a member of Phi Slamma Jamma and the 1983 crew that finally misplaced to NC State within the NCAA title sport. He performed three seasons for the Cougars, averaging 14 factors and 9 rebounds. His athleticism, capability to get to the basket and general {smooth} gliding nature on the courtroom translated instantly to the NBA with the Portland Path Blazers.

Nash was a steal for Phoenix at No. 15. He was a two-time WCC Participant of the Yr and engineered one of many biggest NCAA Event upsets when his Broncos took down No. 2 Arizona throughout his freshman 12 months in 1993. The Broncos would play within the NCAA Event in every of his three seasons. Nash had Santa Clara as a legit NCAA crew within the years earlier than Gonzaga grew to become a family title. He stepped into the highlight in between the Loyola-Marymount and Gonzaga runs out of the WCC by taking management of his place. He averaged 14.9 factors and 4.5 assists a sport, capturing over 86.7% from the free-throw line. He was a 53% shooter general and 40% on 3s.

One of many smoothest capturing guards in SEC historical past, Delk was a focus of Kentucky’s memorable 1996 nationwide championship squad. Nearly as good as Delk’s stats have been all through his four-year profession in Lexington, it was his successful capability that stood out above the remaining. Kentucky was 119-18 throughout Delk’s 4 seasons. That included two SEC regular-season titles, three SEC Event titles, two Ultimate Fours and the nationwide title. Throughout the Wildcats’ magical run in ’96, Delk was a consensus first-team All-American, the SEC Participant of the Yr and essentially the most excellent participant of the Ultimate 4. He nonetheless holds the Kentucky program report for profession 3-point discipline targets (283) and 3-point discipline objective share (.397).

You’d be hard-pressed to discover a extra dominant capturing guard within the early 2000s than Dixon. The previous ACC Participant of the Yr loved a standout profession at Maryland, averaging 16.1 factors per sport over his 4 years, together with a 20.4 clip throughout his senior season. Whereas Dixon’s resume is full of particular person accolades, together with being named a three-time first-team All-ACC participant, a consensus All-American and the Ultimate 4 Most Excellent Participant, it was his capability to win that stood out above the remaining. Throughout his senior season, Dixon led the Terps to a 32-4 report and the college’s first-ever nationwide championship. Dixon left Maryland as the college’s all-time main scorer, in addition to Maryland’s all-time chief in 3-pointers made (239). He’s the one participant in NCAA historical past to build up 2000 factors, 300 steals and 200 3-pointers made.

If Murphy had stayed 4 years in faculty, there’s a good likelihood he would stand atop the checklist of faculty basketball’s all-time main scorers. … Sure, he was that good. Standing at solely 5-foot-9, 165 kilos, Murphy was an unstoppable drive for the Purple Eagles within the late 60s. He scored 2,548 factors in 77 video games, a mean of 33.1 factors per contest. Murphy was a three-time All-American and helped lead Niagara to the college’s first NCAA Event look in 1970.

When folks consider Syracuse basketball within the early-to-mid 2000s, the title that usually involves thoughts first is Carmelo Anthony. However it was Warrick who left the college as one of the achieved gamers in program historical past. Along with enjoying a significant function in Syracuse’s run to the 2003 nationwide championship, Warrick ranked within the prime 5 in program historical past in each scoring and rebounding. He was two-time first-team All-Massive East, a second-team All-American as a junior and a first-team All-American as a senior. Warrick was named the Massive East Participant of the Yr in 2005 and Massive East Event MVP en path to main the Orange to a convention title that season. 

There’s a professional argument to be made for Nelson being the highest participant in faculty basketball in the course of the 2000s. The previous St. Joe’s standout was dominant on each ends of the courtroom. He was a three-time first-team All-Atlantic 10 performer, a consensus All-American and the Atlantic 10 Participant of the Yr. As a senior, Nelson received the 2004 Picket Award, Naismith Award and the Bob Cousy Award whereas main the Hawks to a 27-0 regular-season report and a No. 1 seed within the NCAA Event. He completed his profession as Saint Joseph’s all-time chief in factors, assists and steals.

Finley was a two-time All-Massive Ten choice. However there’s a motive his quantity was retired by the Badgers this previous season. He was a workaholic whereas enjoying for Wisconsin from 1991-95. He helped usher in a brand new period for this system after many years of mediocrity. Finley was one of many first big-time abilities to return by means of Wisconsin after its tenure in obscurity. He averaged 18.7 factors and 5.6 boards throughout his four-year run in Madison. He ended up enjoying 16 years within the NBA — displaying unimaginable worth for a No. 21 choose.

Lewis will go down as the best participant ever to play for the Huskies. He performed for Jim Calhoun for 3 of his first 4 seasons. He ended his profession as a three-time ECAC Participant of the Yr and averaged 22.2 factors a sport whereas being extremely tough to cease. The Boston Celtics obtained an All-Star and an individual whom the neighborhood cherished. He tragically died in 1993 from sudden coronary heart failure, a 12 months after being named an NBA All-Star.

English was a proficient scorer at South Carolina from 1972-76. He averaged 17.8 a sport for his profession, together with 22.6 as a senior. He shot at a excessive clip of 53.8% from the sector. His silky-smooth contact was tough to defend in faculty. Little did anybody know that he would go on to the Denver Nuggets and turn out to be the NBA’s prime scorer within the Eighties. He was drafted by Milwaukee within the second spherical at No. 23 in 1976. His finest years have been with the Nuggets from 1979-89. He’s so beloved at South Carolina that he was chosen to the board of trustees.

Lowry performed solely two seasons for Jay Wright and the Wildcats, however he was a presence at level guard from 2004-06. He didn’t wow along with his stats, however his sport management, management and administration as a playmaker made him a coveted NBA participant. He received an NBA title with Toronto in 2019 and have become one of many prime belongings within the league final 12 months upon being acquired by Miami. He has maximized his NBA profession as a late-first-round choice.

Value was an ACC Rookie of the Yr, consensus All-American and four-time All-ACC participant, and this was in the course of the dawning of the ACC glory years from 1982-86. He performed for Bobby Cremins and was a shot-maker, by no means hesitating to take and make jumpers from the perimeter. He had grit and didn’t shrink back from the large moments. He was a second-round choose at No. 25 in 1986, taken by Cleveland. He would go on to be a crucial piece of the Cavaliers’ late-’80s playoff runs.

The state of Indiana is thought for its faculty basketball, and Alford was one of many biggest to ever play at IU. Alford led the Hoosiers to the 1987 nationwide championship and completed his profession as the college’s all-time main scorer. He was a three-time first-team All-Massive Ten performer, a two-time consensus first-team All-American and the 1987 Massive Ten Participant of the Yr. Alford completed his four-year profession at Indiana with an unimaginable report of 92-35, which included a Massive Ten title, two journeys to the Elite Eight and an NCAA title.

One of the crucial stunning stats in faculty basketball right this moment is that the Massive Ten Convention has not received a nationwide championship in 22 years. Nonetheless, don’t let that stat idiot you on simply how good the Purdue Boilermakers have been within the mid-to-late 2000s. One of many driving forces behind the Boilermakers’ unimaginable stretch was Johnson. The previous Massive Ten Participant of the Yr starred for Purdue from 2007-11 and left as this system’s co-record holder for essentially the most wins in a profession with 107. He was a two-time first-team All-Massive Ten choice, the 2011 Massive Ten Defensive Participant of the Yr and a consensus first-team All-American. Johnson ranks within the prime 10 in program historical past in scoring, rebounds and blocks.

Referred to as one of many prime gamers in Maryland basketball historical past, Vasquez loved a standout collegiate profession from 2006-10. The 2010 ACC Participant of the Yr averaged greater than 17 factors, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in three of his 4 seasons at Maryland en path to changing into the one participant in ACC historical past to compile not less than 2,000 factors, 700 assists and 600 rebounds. As a senior, Vasquez was named first-team All-ACC, a consensus second-team All-American and the recipient of the Bob Cousy Award.

Wisconsin has a wealthy faculty basketball historical past, and the perfect scorer to ever put on a Badgers uniform was Tucker. The previous All-American starred for Wisconsin from 2002-07, when he scored an eye-popping 2,217 factors. Throughout his senior season, Tucker led the Badgers to a formidable 30-6 report en path to being named the Massive Ten Participant of the Yr.

When taking a look at his résumé from prime to backside, you’d be hard-pressed to discover a extra achieved four-year faculty basketball participant over the previous decade than Hart. The previous Villanova standout completed his faculty profession with a report of 129-17, which included 4 Massive East regular-season titles, two Massive East Event titles and the 2016 nationwide championship. His profession accolades embody being a two-time Massive East Event MVP, a two-time All-Massive East member, the 2017 Massive East Participant of the Yr, a third-team All-American in 2016 and a consensus first-team All-American in 2017.

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