It’s rare to see great college basketball players staying four or even three years at their schools these days. But who knows, maybe the scoring records at North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and other big-time schools will be broken one day.
Why these schools and not others? We based it on Final Four appearances as the measuring stick of greatness as a program over the years in college basketball.
North Carolina Tar Heels – Tyler Hansbrough: 2872 points
Hansbrough, who is having an unremarkable but consistent NBA career, currently playing for the Charlotte Hornets, played all four seasons for the Tar Heels (2005-2009), making the All-ACC first team four times, winning the National college player of the year once (2008) and was a three-time All-American. He led the ACC in scoring twice and won a national championship with the Tar Heels in 2009.
Kentucky Wildcats – Dan Issel: 2138 points
Issel was good enough in the pros (ABA & NBA) to make it into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame, and did enough in three seasons with Kentucky (1967-1970) to being considered by many as the school’s greatest player ever. In three seasons with Kentucky he averaged 25.8 points, including 33.9 in his final season with the Wildcats, earning himself an All-American selection. Kentucky won the SEC in all of his three seasons there, while Issel set 23 school records in the process.
UCLA Bruins – Don MacLean: 2608 points
Of all the great players UCLA have had over the year, MacLean surpasses them all in career points, also holding the Pac-12 record. He played four seasons in UCLA, averaging 20.5 points from 1988 to 1992, making one All-American second team and three first-team All-Pac-10 selections. He spent a decade in the NBA, which included winning the Most Improved Player award in 1994.
Duke Blue Devils – J.J. Redick: 2769 points
Redick averaged 19.9 points per game in four seasons with the Blue Devils (2002-2006), including 26.8 in his final season, leading the NCAA in total points as well that year, while finishing first in scoring twice in the ACC. Redick was the National college player of the year in his senior year, was a two-time Consensus first-team All-American and twice the ACC player of the year.
Kansas Jayhawks – Danny Manning: 2951 points
Manning played for Kansas from 1984 to 1988, winning the national championship in his senior year before being taken number one overall in the NBA draft and going on to have a good, but slightly disappointing NBA career relative to expectations. He averaged 20.1 points per game in Kansas, including 24.8 in his senior year. In his senior year he was the Naismith college player of the year and the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, making two first-team All-American selections and another second-team one, while winning the Big-8 player of the year award three times. He’s currently coaching Wake Forest.
Louisville Cardinals – Darrell Griffith: 2333 points
Griffith starred for the Cardinals from 1976 to 1980, leading them to the 1980 national championship. He won the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award that season and also most of the major player of the year awards. He was a one-time Consensus All-American, one-time Metro conference player of the year and three-time First-team All-Metro. He averaged 18.5 points per game in his four years at Louisville before an 11-year career with the Utah Jazz in the NBA.
Ohio State Buckeyes – Dennis Hopson: 2096 points
Hopson didn’t last long in the NBA but did win a championship with the Chicago Bulls before going on a long European tour. At Ohio State, he had two unremarkable seasons before great Junior and Senior campaigns, including scoring 29 points per game in 1986-1987. He was the Big Ten player of the year in 1987 and also a second-team All-American that season.
Michigan State Spartans – Shawn Respert: 2531 points
Respert played for Michigan State from 1990 to 1995 and was a consensus First-Team All-American on his final season with the team. He averaged 21.3 points throughout his career at East Lansing, including 25.6 points per game during his final season. He was an NBA player for a short time, and is currently an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Indiana Hoosiers – Calbert Cheaney: 2613 points
Cheaney played for the Hoosiers from 1989 to 1993, averaging 19.8 points per game through his college career. He averaged 22.4 points a night on his senior year, winning the Naismith college player of the year award and the Big Ten player of the year, while also making the first-team All-American selection. He played in the NBA for 13 seasons, and currently is an assistant coach with St. Louis.