TBR’s Top All-Time College Basketball Players (Part I)

Monster at UNLV 

I’m a big fan of lists and all-time rankings, I really didn’t get into college basketball until around 1983 or so. Many of my selections are based upon the fact that I live in the Northeast section of the country so I didn’t see Charles Barkley as much as I did Patrick Ewing. I can only go on what I’ve seen, no footage clips or one game that I happened to see on ESPN Classic. That’s not to say that Barkley wasn’t a great collegiate player, just that it would take away from the list for me to add him on someone else’s word.

So here is my list of top collegiate players, feel free to add your own or debate those on or NOT on my list.

This combination ignited a legacy of success

1. Patrick Ewing (Georgetown): We will never again see a player or a team as intimidating as Ewing and Hoya Paranoia.

2. David Robinson (Navy): I always wonder what the extra two years he gave the Naval Academy would’ve done for his pro career.

3. Derrick Coleman (Syracuse): The NCAA’s all-time rebounder, played on some great ‘Cuse teams that never got over the hump.

4. Larry Johnson (UNLV): Possibly the most dominant two-year player in NCAA history.

Playing against LJ wasn’t like going against your brother…more like your Pop.

5. Danny Manning (Kansas): Winning a National Championship with members of the football team in your lineup gets you high on this list.

6. Ralph Sampson (Virginia): This 3-time Naismith Award winner was drawing comparisons to Chamberlain and Abdul-Jabbar…in high school.

7. Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston): A card carrying member of Phi Slamma Jamma, The Dream was a nightmare for anyone who wandered into the paint.

About to get Dream shooook

8. Lionel Simmons (LaSalle): The last player that we’ll see score 3,000+points for a career. L-Train holds the Dean Dome record for points by a visiting player (42 points) as a sophomore.

9. Chris Webber (Michigan): “The Timeout” be damned, C-Webb was a prototype power forward who was a triple threat anytime he had the ball.

Pivot…then bang!

10. Grant Hill (Duke): I’m ashamed of myself for ranking a Duke player this high, but he was the sole reason Duke beat my Runnin’ Rebels in 1991.

11. Sean Elliott (Arizona): Played on some good Wildcat teams, but could never get to the Final Four.

12. Len Bias (Maryland): I nicknamed him “The Gift” after he passed because he was as physically gifted a player as I’ve ever seen.

Yeah, he’s shooting over HIM!

13. Tim Duncan (Wake Forest): TIM-MAY, in terms of his consistency, he hasn’t missed a beat between college and the NBA.

14. Pervis Ellison (Louisville): “Never Nervous” was the first freshman to win the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after leading Louisville to the 1986 National Championship.

15. Glen Rice (Michigan): Was my favorite college player before Johnson, the Wolverines all-time leading scorer defined the term “shooting forward” noted for his long-range capability.

16. Chris Jackson (LSU): If I had to pick one guy to take the last shot to win the National Title – he’s the guy. The precursor to Allen Iverson. Jackson was unstoppable one on one or in the open floor.

Including Shaq, Jackson was the most unstoppable LSU player since Pistol Pete

17. Hank Gathers (Loyola Marymount): Became the second player in Division I to lead the nation in scoring and rebounding. Played in a system that was tailor-made for his skills.

18. Jamal Mashburn (Kentucky): My two years in Tennessee were spent watching the “Monster Mash” destroy the SEC. Stronger than advertised, an incredible scorer.

19.Chris Mullin (St. John’s): Any kid Black or White who travels from Queens to Brooklyn and the Bronx to get his run on deserves to be on this list. A lefty with a dead-eye stroke, Mullin was Bird-like.

He’ll shoot your eye out kid

20. Kenny Anderson (Georgia Tech): There was a play in his freshman season where he absolutely destroyed Duke’s Bobby Hurley; I don’t know what was better, the move itself, or the sound of Dick Vitale soiling himself with euphoria as only he can.

22. Allen Iverson (Georgetown): This baby-faced assassin tore through the Big East in two seasons…leaving dozens of ankles in his wake.

Iverson needed Big John’s man hand

23. Wayman Tisdale (Oklahoma): May just be the most forgotten player on this list. A 3-time All-American, Tisdale singlehandedly carried the Sooners.

24. Mark Macon (Temple): John Chaney greatest recruit and most beloved player. Macon was at the forefront of Temple’s emergence as a national power. As a freshman went into Chapel Hill and knocked off the Tar Heels.

25. Bo Kimble (Loyola Marymount): Running mate and close friend of Gathers had 5 consecutive games of 50 or more when Gathers was recovering from his first collapse. His left handed free throw in honor of his fallen friend and LMU’s run to the 1990 Regional Finals is the stuff of legend.

21 Responses to “TBR’s Top All-Time College Basketball Players (Part I)”

  1. MODI says:

    Mizzo, people forgot just how great Wayman Tisdale was in college. Absolutely ridiculous…

    Do you hate North Carolina?

    Michael Jordan?
    James Worthy?
    JR Reid?

    I’ll let Reid slide (Macon a one year wonder), I’ll file Worthy as before you started watching. MJ? You got some ‘splainin’ to do…

  2. mizzo says:

    TBR wrote this Modi.

  3. ronglov72 says:

    MODI – I didn’t get into college ball til 83-84. I love Carolina but for one it would be too easy to name those guys, it would be corny for me to go off of something I saw on ESPN Classic and secondly, how dare you name J.R. Reid before Sam Perkins

  4. mark says:

    #11 Sean Elliott never got to the Final Four?

    Ummmm…..you mean except for when he was a junior and Arizona went to the 1988 Final Four, right?

  5. mark says:

    Sean Elliott never got to the Final Four?

    Ummmm…..you mean except for when he was a junior and Arizona went to the 1988 Final Four, right?

  6. Temple3 says:

    Thanks TBR:

    With all due respect, Chris Jackson at #16 simply won’t work. If you’re talking STRICTLY about a collegiate career, you’d be HARD PRESSED to put him lower than 3 or 4. He was the consummate offensive player (better by degrees than EVERY player on this list) and he was a superb on the ball defender. No one was a better shooter – not Rice (and I went to Michigan), not Mullin, not Macon. No one had a quicker release. No one had a better handle – not even Kenny A. (and I’ve seen him play since high school right here in NYC). No one was a more dangerous scorer – not Coleman or Kimble or LJ or Mashburn. And, only Mullin was a comparable free throw shooter.

    “Including Shaq, Jackson was the most unstoppable LSU player since Pistol Pete”

    He was the most unstoppable collegiate player…not just LSU player.

    Len Bias is far too low. I won’t argue his case. His numbers, performance in big games against elite competition, etc warrant him being ranked higher.

    I, too, lived in the northeast during my youth (and my basketball arc goes back to 1976 – and therefore includes clear memories of players like Isiah, Jordan, Mark Aguirre, Goose Givens, Worthy, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Silent Sam Perkins – and even vague recollections of David Thompson, Austin Carr, etc.)

    I’m glad you’ve started the conversation.

  7. thebrotherreport says:

    I would agree that Jackson should’ve been higher but some of these guys were personal favorites so they got higher ratings.
    All things being equal Jackson would be in the top 5 on any list, and someone like Macon probably wouldn’t be

    Jackson was the total package he had everything. A dream match for me would be him against A.I. while he was at Georgetown.

    Hey do you remember the year they had the One on One Collegiate Challenge in A.C. Bo Kimble won the first one and I don’t know who won the second but I know Larry Johnson and Billy Owens played in the finals I believe.

    Now Billy Owens was another personal favorite at the ‘Cuse but he was an overall disappointment. I was trying to find a spot for him on the list. Maybe I’ll do an NCAA Run of the Mill List.

  8. Temple3 says:

    Yeah – I always had high hopes for Billy Owens – even though I preferred Georgetown.

    Honestly, as great and tough and all-world as I think Iverson is, I think Chris Jackson would have RUINED his world. Even with that said, Chris Jackson couldn’t stop Iverson from scoring inside. That would be a battle royal and if Iverson was hot, it would go down to the wire but Jackson could shoot in rain, sleet, snow, blizzards, the middle of fist fights and even in quicksand.

  9. thebrotherreport says:

    I don’t think anyone had an answer for Jackson. Complete is the word that comes to mind.

  10. Could not agee with you more..

  11. Temple3 says:

    Here are YouTube videos I found and posted awhile back.

  12. TniceTwice says:

    Len Bias should be ranked higher, the performances his senior year was outstanding, 35 in the Dean Dome, 41 against Duke the kid had no help he carried the team on his back, this guy was awesome to watch. Len was a force of nature on the court



  14. joe says:

    where is Lew Alcindor(KAREEM ABDOUL JABBAR)? HE SHOULD BE 1

  15. joe says:

    Kareem had 3 national titles at U.C.L.A. in three years, named player of the year twice, three time First Team All American, and only lost twice in his college career.

  16. michelle says:

    I agree with you guys Kareem should be on this list.



  18. jhb1953 says:

    This is a joke, right? No Lew Alcindor (Kareem), no Oscar Robertson. This is the dumbest thing I ever saw.

  19. SRhurley@rocketmail.com says:

    Real quick, the NCAA made dunking illegal because of Lou Alcindor. 88 and 2 career at UCLA and he’s not on your list?

  20. Ron Glover says:

    For the last time, these are players that I’ve seen in my lifetime. I’m 37 do the math please.