Top College Basketball Players of All Time

College Basketball SuperStars

Basketball has long been the most popular and influential sport in the United States. The NCAA Tournament attracts millions of watchers and supporters from throughout the country each year to figure out the best team.

The NBA Draft has become such a spectacle that fans will watch it with friends and family to see where their favorite players will play their next season, and then follow them for their entire career. Every year, there appears to be a lot of speculation about who will be the No. 1 choice, and many people dispute whether or not this person deserves to be picked so high.

Many people say that great college players don’t always translate into great professional athletes. Still, we know better than anyone else because we saw it with Christian Laettner and how he carried Duke to a national championship in 1991 with his perfect game against Kentucky but then failed to make an impression.

Today, new stars are emerging in college basketball, and who knows how they will fare long term. Some of the best current players include CJ McCollum from LeHigh University and Kevin Durant from the University of Texas. These athletes are sure to impact the sport for years to come.

So, what is it about these players that makes them so special? What distinguishes them from the competition? Starting with the incredible LeBron James, these are some of the best college basketball players of all time.

LeBron James – “King James”

It is hard to believe that LeBron James, arguably the best basketball player in the world, did not play college basketball. Instead, “King James” finished his degree as part of a sponsorship scheme with the University of Phoenix. James was named the National Player of the Year in 2003, making a huge impact on the sport.

He averaged 29.0 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, and 5.5 assists per game – not to mention his 3.3 steals per game. In 2002, he led Ohio State to the NCAA Tournament Championship Game, losing to the University of Miami (F.L.). He led them to the Final Four the following year before losing to Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse University.

After leaving high school, James was drafted first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and his name was shouted at basketball matches worldwide.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the NBA’s most famous players. From 1966 through 1969, he played college basketball for UCLA, where he won three consecutive national titles and was awarded the NCAA Tournament MVP all three years.

Abdul-Jabbar averaged 26.4 points per game, 16.9 rebounds per game, and 3.5 assists per game during his four years at UCLA. He is still the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball all-time leading scorer with 2, converts more field goals than any other NCAA player in history, and was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.

After graduation, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Abdul-Jabbar first overall in the 1969 NBA Draft, and he had an outstanding NBA career for 20 years, winning six MVP Awards and five championships.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is considered the best and most well-regarded basketball player of all time. He was a member of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill basketball team that won the National Championship in 1982. He was selected the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and the ACC Player of the Year.

In his three years at UNC, Jordan scored 17.7 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, and 5.5 assists per game. He left UNC as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,856 points.

After college, Jordan was drafted third overall in the 1984 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls and had a legendary career in the NBA, winning six championships and five MVP awards.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is another player who had an illustrious career in the NBA and did not play college basketball. He played in Lower Merion High School, where he was named USA Today’s High School Player of the Year in 1996. He was also named Naismith Prep Player of the Year and Gatorade National Player of the Year.

In his short life, Bryant played for Lower Merion and averaged 30.8 points per game, 12.4 rebounds per game, and 4.3 assists per game. He led them to a state championship and was later inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

After high school, Bryant was drafted 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets and went on to play 20 seasons with the Lakers, winning five championships and two Finals MVP Awards.

Larry Bird

Like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird is considered one of the best players in NBA history. He played college basketball for Indiana State University, leading them to an NCAA Tournament Championship in 1979. He was named the Naismith College Player of the Year, the John Wooden Award winner, and the USBWA College Player of the Year.

Bird averaged a whopping 24.3 points per game, 10 rebounds per game, and 6.3 assists per match while shooting 52 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free-throw line, in his three years at Indiana State.

Bill Russell

Bill Russell

Bill Russell is widely considered the best NBA player of all time. He played college basketball for the University of San Francisco, where he won two National Championships in 1955 and 1956, one Most Outstanding Player Award, and four All-American awards.

Russell averaged 15.1 points per game, 22.4 rebounds per game, and plus four assists per game in his three years at USF. He was introduced into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975 and was crowned 1 of the 50 Most Prestigious Players in NBA History in 1996.

After college, Russell was drafted with the first overall pick by the Boston Celtics and the rest is history. He led Boston to 11 championships over his 13-year career, was named MVP of the NBA Finals six times, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.

From herein are the upcoming superstars starting with Kevin Durant.

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant – currently playing in the NBA for the Brooklyn Nets. He was previously with the Golden State Warriors (2017-2019). He is considered one of the best players in the game today and will be traded to another team soon.

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis – Currently playing in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers. He previously played for New Orleans Pelicans (2012-2019). He is considered a big man in basketball, and he has a solid fan base.

CJ McCollum

CJ McCollum – Currently playing in the NBA for the Portland Trailblazers. He previously played for Lehigh University (2009-2013). McCollum is considered one of the best scorers in basketball, and he has a decently large fan base today.

We are sure we haven’t covered everyone, but this article gives you a taste of those who made it and those who could still make the Hall of Fame in years to come.