Unlikely All-Star Factories
These schools produce NBA All-Stars at the same rate as Duke.
by Jon Jaques / @JJaques25
Ask any basketball fan worth his salt to name the top college basketball programs in the country, and he’ll rattle off a list of familiar hoops hot spots: Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Connecticut, Michigan State, Georgetown. It shouldn’t be earth-shattering news that each of these schools, among other noteworthy accomplishments, has produced at least four NBA All-Stars in the last 20 years.
But in the spirit of NBA Draft week (because this evening is the premier bridge between college and pro hoops, only a couple events – the opening round of March Madness and the NBA Playoffs– get my veins pulsing like the Draft), there are two other respectable but much more surprising universities that belong on this list. Can you name them? I couldn’t (at least off the top of my head) before reading this.
Georgia Tech (Mark Price, Kenny Anderson, Stephon Marbury, Chris Bosh) and Alabama (Antonio McDyess, Latrell Sprewell, Gerald Wallace, Mo Williams) are the two unlikely manufacturers of elite NBA talent. Each has produced as many All-Stars (four) as mighty Duke has in the same period of time.
Alabama seems to be the more eye opening of the two considering Crimson Tide basketball’s lack of overall success over the era in question. NCAA Tournament appearances have been fairly common in Tuscaloosa (nine in the last 20 years) but deep tournament runs (two Sweet Sixteens, one Elite Eight in that same time period) have been harder to come by.
There have been three coaches for the Tide over the past two decades, which I’m afraid, is above-average continuity for modern-day college basketball.
But the stars were so spread apart (Sprewell 90-92, McDyess 93-95, Wallace 00-01, Williams 01-03) that the program never built any momentum. In other words, Bama players’ successful transition to the NBA (remember, the school’s most accomplished alum Robert Horry never made an All-Star team) is more a function of random success and less one of coaching/program proficiency.
Georgia Tech is a weird case because, while the program has experienced recent success (2004 national runner-up), none of the Yellow Jacket basketball alums/All-Stars were on that team. You know Starbury and Chris Bosh contributed to the recruitment of ’04 cats like Jarret Jack, Mario West and Luke Schenscher, but the Yellow Jackets’ most successful team in recent years consisted of NBA role players and fringe D-Leaguers.
Georgia Tech has also been the victim of way too many one-and-done players or high school stars who entered the draft before the NBA’s age limit was amended. Paul Hewitt would still be on the sidelines at Tech if guys like Bosh and Derrick Favors didn’t leave school after one season.
The latest young Yellow Jacket to get his name called on Draft Night should be Iman Shumpert, who is expected to be a late first round selection on Thursday night. It remains to be seen whether he’ll become Tech’s 5th all-star or Javaris Crittendon 2.0.