There have been some great college careers in my time that I have been priveleged to watch.
Ralph Sampson- one of my favs as a kid, 3x National Player of the Year
Kevin Durant- almost 26ppg for a major college program
Tyler Hansbrough- 4x All America, National Player of the Year, National Champion
then there were guys that hit the game like a meteor as freshmen such as Mark Macon and Chris Jackson (Mahmoud Abdul Rauf)
the runner up to my number one vote is Walter Berry.
Berry was a teammate of legendary NYC ballers Chris Mullin and Mark Jackson and NBA Center Bill Winnington at St. John's. Berry was considered to be the best NBA prospect on the St. John's roster. Contrary to belief, Berry was not a bust in the NBA, enclosed is a link to a great article about him and his career.
Next up...is my #1 CHOICE for player that impressed me the most in college....
Honestly, Steph Curry....believed he could do anything
Isaiah J.R. Rider
as a 6'5" SG, he avg 29.1ppg and 9rpg in 1992-93.
he was the most efficient scorer I had seen from the perimeter shooting 51% from the floor that year and 40% from 3pt range. he would have the most quiet 30 pt games you could ever see because it didnt seem as if he took a lot of shots, because he made so many of them. they were NEVER forced and always in the flow of the offense. What made it remarkable was...they were the Runnin Rebels but Rider scored a lot in half court sets because he was so physically gifted one on one. They were not LMU, but they avg 90ppg that year, but Rider was responsible for a 3rd of those points. Without question, and I have seen a lot of college ball in my day, Rider left the most lasting impression on me because he avg nearly 30ppg on 51% shooting as a guard and it wasnt all fast break buckets. Rider avg 19.6 FGA against 10.1 FGM. And he did this for 28 games.
I loved Walter Berry. He was very smooth. Another NYC product that was my favorite was Kenny Anderson. That guy had the best handle I have seen and was ultra smooth/cool, just like Walter.
I think Kevin Durant is the most impressive guy I have seen play in college. A total freak with a ton of talent and an uncanny scorer. That multi-overtime game against Oklahoma State was incredible.
Second is Derrick Rose who had a very good freshman year and then absolutely blew up in the tournament. But, during the regular season he picked his spots. But, he is the guy I went back to college to go see play ball (basically).
Third would be CDR in 2008. He was a great scorer with a ton of moves and a perfect complement to Derrick Rose. BY FAR the best college back court I have seen.
Kevin Durant was amazing to watch in college, he was the best player I remember watching.
Raef LaFrentz was easily the most skilled big man I've ever seen in college, and I watched Tim Duncan, if he wouldn't have gotten injured, I think he would have been as good as Pau Gasol.
Allen Iverson, Keith Van Horn, Michael Beasley and Big Dog Robinson were all extremely impressive in college
Durant was by far the most impressive player I have seen in college.
not even kidding my two favorite players to watch in the ncaa were greivis vasquez and omar samhan. watching them in the fourth quarters of games was unreal
Glen Robinson was a helluva player at Purdue and I think a somewhat underated NBA career.
Greivis Vasquez is a favorite of mine, he is one of those guys who is impressive because he does things that you dont understand how he does it. He is not really athletic or quick, just HIGH IQ.
Chris Webber was extremely impressive with his intensity in college leading the Wolverines to back to back Championship appearances. Jalen Rose was impressive as a 6'8" PG.
Walter Berry was simply unstoppable, they used to double and triple team him in college. He is the one who popularized the Box-and-One Defense....read below. Berry was serious about returning to college but the box-and-one put too much pressure on him.
good call on Kenny Anderson.
as a freshman at GT he avg 20ppg and 8.1apg (FINAL FOUR APPEARANCE)
as a sophomore, 26ppg and 5.6apg
Ralph Sampson was as impressive a basketball player there was, he was player of the year 3 times. Only he and Bill Walton have done that. He avg almost 5bpg as a freshman. The thing that haunts his college career is he only made it to the Final Four once...and of course being on the wrong end of one of the greatest upsets in sports history when Chaminade knocked off Sampson and the # 1 ranked Cavaliers.
He was the first freshman to be a first-team All-American since freshmen were allowed to play again in the 1971-72 season. He was also one of 10 three-time All-Americans. Patrick Ewing and Tisdale were the last to accomplish the feat, from 1983-85.
In 3 years at Oklahoma, Tisdale avg 25.6ppg and 10.1 rpg.
Hands down Allen iverson and it's not even close he change the game for small guards in college and the pros. He gave u a type of game in college that fans weren't ready for.
Was Brandon Roy his senior year. Out of everyone the Ducks played, by Brandon's last year, he was super dominant. Best player I saw in a Ducks uniform was Aaron Brooks his senior year. He was even better than Luke Jackson (Who was an All-American as a senior) and Luke Ridnour (who won Pac-10 POY as a junior).
Now, as far as since I have been following college basketball, here are some players that stand out in my mind:
- Tyler Hansbrough: If you are talking about a 4 year player having a fantastic career, it is hard to beat Psycho T circa 1997 or so. He was a total force from his freshman year leading NC past expectations until his senior year when they won the championship.
- Tim Duncan: He did not have a lot of NCAA tournament success, but he was just super dominant for his last two years at Wake Forest. Everyone knew he would be a special NBA player.
- Antawn Jamison: Yeah, I may be a bit of a Tar Heel fan at heart, but I loved this guy as a college 4. I remember he once had 35 points against Duke with the ball in his hands for a combined 52 seconds of play. He scored efficiently and was a force for three years at North Carolina. I really thought he and Vince would win a championship their last year.
- Jason "Jay" Williams: Yep, the Duke one. I am not in the least a fan of Duke, but I had a feeling the sky was the limit for this guy. I was shocked when he did not leave after they won the championship in 2001, I don't think there was a question he would have been the first pick in the draft. He may have had a subpar rookie season and than that motorcycle accident that ended his career, but in college he was awesome.
- Carmelo Anthony: His one year at Syracuse was super impressive to me. He may not have put up the numbers that Kevin Durant did, but he was playing in the Big East. That opposed to a Big 12 conference that saw Michael Beasley put up similar numbers that next season. Syracuse was not even ranked in the Top 25 pre-season and were predicted as a probable NIT team by preview magazines. Carmelo did not just put up numbers, he led them to wins, most importantly when it mattered. I did not necessarily think he would do the same thing in the NBA, but he KILLED college basketball that season. Call me when another freshman is named an All-American and leads their team to a title.
- Allen Iverson: He was my favorite player for a long time. When I started watching college basketball, AI was THE MAN. He killed it in his two years at Georgetown and did big things in the NBA (of course). I wanted to play for John Thompson just like AI.
Jamison was a dominant player and really unstoppable, particularly his last year and UNC was on a huge win streak continuing from the previous year. Had he stayed for his senior year, he was the hands down favorite to win POY for the 2nd year straight.
Danny Manning's tourney in '88 was pretty damn good
Um have people forget how dominant Michael Beasley was as a freshman in college?
26 ppg and 12 rpg. 28 double doubles. Three 40 point games. Thirteen 30 and 10 games. Twenty Two 20 and 10 games. And that was all in his freshman year.
Acie Law was really good in college. I remember him and Durant dueling shot for shot.
Juan Dixon. Kid had a big heart, was a great jump shooter, automatic at the line, and a lock down defender. Came from a rough upbringing to give Gary Williams his only national championship.
Tyrese Rice(46 points on UNC, 34 at half time, and he was a killer in other games)
Jeff Teague(Sophomore Year)
Duke's Jay Williams, Daniel Ewing and Chris Duhon in their spread offense with Dunleavy as a stretch 4. Some great games against Maryland.
'94 was the first time I watched an ncaa game here in spain and it just impressed me so much the way that guy could play, doing everything on the court and playing PG at 6'8.. still thinking what his carrer would have been without injuries...
No mention of Jimmer?
I like to add Jamal Mashburn to the mix too, the cat has a nice J and polished back to the basket during his college days
KEMBA WALKER!!!!!! JUNIOR YEAR HOW COULD WE FORGET!
Maui Tourney MVP and winner
Big East Tourney Winner
Played in 4 final fours. 2 time Champion. National Player of the year. Retired jersey. Part of the Dream Team as the only collegiate player. Remembered for "The Shot." Member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
I loved it when he stomped on the poor UK kids chest.
JJ Redick to me was amazing.... Just an absolute sniper
Nice call on Omar Samhan-I'd already forgotten about him. He was hyped to somewhat-near-Jimmer levels for a month, then went back to obscurity.
Steph Curry was incredible, but we rarely saw him play, being in a small conference.
Gordon Hayward was such a smooth player, and that first Butler run was magical.
Jeremy Hazell was amazing in the clutch. His team would be down 6 or so with a minute left and he wouldd make threes til they were back in it. He's the reason I became a Seton Hall fan.
I really liked Tweety Carter, the former Baylor PG. He, Lacedarius Dunn, and Ekpe Udoh made for an intriguing team. They almost made the final four.
Kevin Pittsnogle was also interesting. He was a big fad for a while.
As you can see, Im kind of young. Not seen a lot of basketball, but theres my list
Beasley, everything he did seemed effortless.
@Proudgrandpa hahaha you've been Pittsnogled...WVU were fun to watch that year!
- Won a national title playing beside Okafor, I believe. I just loved watching him play up top in the high post area. Really thought he'd have a better NBA career than he's shown so far with that size/ court vision/ handles / effort. I thought he was gonna be like a Lamar Odom 2.0. Verdict still to be determined on this guy.
- Never thought he'd be a great NBA player, but his combination of speed, quickness, length, fast hands on D was really a key reason the Gators went back to back. He shut down the outside penetration so that Horford and Noah didn't pick up a ton of fouls.
- Absolutely fell in love with the way he manhandled Hasheem Thabeet (who is probably too African to guard Blair anyway. :p). His fearless play was actually quite inspiring and you kinda just feel good for him when he beats down on guys 3-4 inches taller on a regular basis.
Mike Beasley was CRAZY for us at K-State. He made scoring and rebounding look the easiest out of any college player I had ever seen, and I got to watch just about every game he played because I'm such a huge fan of KState. I only missed him debate when he had like 30 point and 20 boards. lol
Derrick Rose was also a freak of nature at Memphis. I knew he'd be a star, I have never seen a PG that athletic before at that size. And he had/has crazy handle and hesistation moves.
The first tournament game I ever watched was when I was about ten years old and it was Michigan, led by Gary Grant and Glen Rice against Navy and David Robinson. I had read about him, and knew he was going to be picked first in the NBA draft but when I first saw him, I couldnt believe there was a human being built like that guy. This was the 80's - Joe Montana, Larry Bird, Wayne Gretzky and the like were the best athletes and none of them were even remotely jacked. But here was a guy who wasn't only ripped, he was 7 feet tall. I remember thinking that Jabbar and Parish were going to get eaten alive when the Admiral started playing in the nba. I didnt think there was a chance he would ever lose a basketball game... but that belief was shattered an hour or so later when Michigan won the game.
Anyways, in terms of first impressions, David Robinson was without question the most impressive college basketball player I ever saw, even if it was just for one game.
Others that come to mind - Grant Hill, Antonio Mcdyess, AI, Melo, Durant
For his Arkansas team that won the title in 94. What a beast. Shaq in college was terrifying as well.
Don't forget about this guy...
What a fruitcake
At point guard I'd have to say Gary Payton, Kenny Anderson and Jason Kidd were the most impressive I've ever seen. Anfernee Hardaway was amazing as well averaging 22.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 6.4 apg, 2.4 spg, and 1.2 bpg as a junior.
At shooting guard Calbert Cheaney and JJ Redick were pretty incredible too.
For the small forwards I'd have to say Kevin Durant and Glenn Robinson.
At power forward Joe Smith and Michael Beasley.
At center Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan.
To the poster who marked Negative for the Kemba Walker response your a dickhead easily lol
If you don't think Kemba's Junior year was argubaly one of the top years for ANY college player in history you don't know basketball at all.
Just in case you forgot UCONN started the season off UNRANKED, so anybody thinking they would win a championship probably would have lost any and all credibility they had as a sports fan/arguer.
Witchita State 31 points, 2 assist, 3 steals, WON 83-79
Michigan State #2 in the country 30 points, 4 assist, 3 boards, 3 steals, WON 70-67
Kentucky #9 in the country 29 points, 6 assist, 2 boards, WON 84-67
Killed the regular season
Big East Tourney(5-0) 5 games in 5 days
Depaul 26 points, 7 Boards, 5 Assist WON 97-71
GeorgeTown #22 in the country 28 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assist, WON 79-62
Pittsburgh #3 in the country 24 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assist, WON 76-74
Syracuse #11 in the country 33 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assist, WON 76-71
Louisville #14 in the country 19 points, 2 rebounds, 3assist, WON 69-66
NCAA CHAMPION, how many people that have been named in this discussion actually been a champion????
O and if they were a champion, were they unranked to begin the season? How many McDonald All Americans did they have? UCONN only had one which was Kemba, Jeremy Lamb just happened to break out and now be a big time player.
Cut the crap whoever you were/are.
I would have to go with Steph Curry and Jimmer. I am a sucker for the long 3's.