Who’s in Your Top 10?
A group of SLAM writers and editors list their favorite college bball players.
10. John Wallace, Syracuse: His ability to change the game in the paint and from outside is a reason why I still rep the Orange(men).
9. Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse: I knew he was good, but I didn’t know he was THAT good as a freshman.
8. Tim Thomas, Villanova: While he disappointed me greatly in the NBA, TT was what I loved about versatile players–he was a 6’10″ shooting guard/small forward with range and size to play everything except center.
7. Elton Brand, Duke: He was a tank and could do anything he wanted to do, despite being a smaller player in height.
6. Allen Iverson, Georgetown: He may have been more exciting to me in college than in the NBA.
5. Ron Mercer, Kentucky: He was an exciting player who seemed to devastate other teams offensively.
4. Mike Bibby, Arizona: He was an amazing talent who seemed to be able to dominate the game with his athleticism and shooting as a point guard; he reminded me of Jason Kidd.
3. Vince Carter, North Carolina: He was the ultimate perimeter player in college basketball during his stay in North Carolina. ]
2. Kevin Durant, Texas: Possibly the best wing to come from college basketball in the past 20 years, and he dominated the NCAA in his lone year with the Longhorns.
1. Jason Williams, Duke: The best point guard prospect in college basketball in the past 15 years.
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10. Jarron/Jason Collins, Stanford: The Collins brothers were the original twin towers (pre-Lopez) at Stanford, and had much more tournament success (a Final Four, an Elite 8, four appearances total) than the younger pair. They also graduated from my high school (Harvard-Westlake). Go Wolverines.
9. Khalid El-Amin: The starting point guard on Connecticut’s 1999 title team. El-Amin’s combination of strength (or, to put it gently, girth) and quickness was a matchup nightmare for opposing PGs. And the super-baggy tee look underneath the jersey is classic.
8. Juan Dixon: For some reason, I really enjoyed watching Maryland’s 2002 title run, and it seemed like Juan Dixon didn’t miss one shot that entire tournament. The skinniest guy on the court was dominating the biggest stage in college basketball.
7. Jason Williams: His unfortunate lack of NBA career shouldn’t take away from just how dominant a college basketball player Williams was for Duke. He is this low because part of me feels like Mike Dunleavy and Shane Battier could have just as easily been in this spot.
6. Mike Bibby: I can’t stand Bibby as a pro, but I need to mention one member from the Pac-10’s most recent NCAA Championship team. As a freshman Bibby piloted the 1997 Arizona Wildcats to a relatively surprising championship, scoring 20 points in the title game against Kentucky.
5. Antoine Walker, Kentucky: The dude clearly could’ve used a financial management or economics course at Kentucky, but his time in Lexington wasn’t a complete waste. Walker was un-guardable for Rick Pitino’s 1996 Wildcats national championship team.
4. Arthur Lee, Stanford: The Stanford Cardinal’s 1998 Final Four run is one of my greatest memories of watching the NCAA Tournament growing up. Lee’s leadership, rock solid point guard play, and legendary “choke” sign he gave at the end of the Rhode Island game puts him on my list.
3. Louis Dale/Ryan Wittman/Jeff Foote, Cornell: For those who call me a homer for putting my former Cornell teammates on this list, realize this is a legitimate ranking. Consider all three of these guys were equally instrumental in leading an Ivy League school to the Sweet 16 for the first time in more than 30 years. Enough said.
2. Emeka Okafor, Connecticut: The best player on Connecticut’s 2004 national title team. He stayed in school for four years, and was the most dominant, game-altering center during my window of college basketball viewing. The Huskies had tons of talent surrounding Okafor, but Jim Calhoun doesn’t come close to winning his second title without the big man.
1. Tyus Edney: I was just seven years old at the time but I remember exactly where I was when Edney blurred through Missouri’s defense in 4.8 seconds to toss in a game-winning layup and continue UCLA’s march to an eventual championship. I’m not even a Bruins fan, but the creator of my first Southern California hoops memory tops the list.