PDA

View Full Version : ESPN's 75 greatest NCAA Tournament players



hurleyfor3
02-15-2013, 01:48 PM
Have at it.

http://espn.go.com/ncb/feature/video/_/page/Top75players/ncaa-75-college-basketball

Laettner is #3, Hurley is #16, Shane is #34, Grant is #40, Dawkins is #66. One and 2 are Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton. I'm fine with Lew at #1, but Walton didn't need to be perfect against Memphis State the way we needed Laettner to be against Kentucky, and they honked against NCSU in '74.

Highest unc player is Hansbrough at #25. Ha!

rsvman
02-15-2013, 02:15 PM
Interesting list. Almost impossible to compile, IMO.

I learned a few things. Who would have guessed that Delk scored more tournament points than any player in UK history?

Also, I learned that Elvin Hayes (at Houston) and Jerry West (at West Virginia) wore the same jersey number: 44.

superdave
02-15-2013, 02:26 PM
Highest unc player is Hansbrough at #25. Ha!

James Worthy was more worthy than Hansborough. James was MOP in 1982, Wayne Ellington was in 2009 rather than Hansborough.

JasonEvans
02-15-2013, 02:38 PM
My thoughts...

73. Chris Weber - imagine how high he would be if he could count timeouts
69. Sam Perkins - really? He never impressed me as a guy who played extra well at tourney time
68. Sean May - probably too low if you ask me. He scored 22 ppg the tourney they won the title. That's impressive
66. Johnny Dawkins - if only ANYONE else on the 1986 team had been able to score that Monday night, we'd have another ring.
62. Miles Simon - he almost single-handedly won the 1997 tourney, IIRC.
58. Scotty Thurman - the picture of him is of him guarding Jeff Capel. If not for Tony Lang's untimely manicure, Scotty is not even on this list.
57. Michael Jordan - I applaud ESPN for recognizing that Jordan's success in the NBA does not make him the greatest college player. Frankly, I seem to recall that he was pretty mediocre come tournament time.
53. Steph Curry - They misspelled Seth's name... at least I hope they did after the 2013 tourney is done ;)
40. Grant Hill - he should be in the top 20 for that Dunk against Kansas! He also single-handedly almost led us to the title in 1994. His D on Big Dog was awesome!
35. James Worthy - Great player, great tourney player but in no way does he belong ahead of Grant.
34. Shane Battier - He's everyone's daddy, except the 33 guys ahead of him.
29. Purvis Ellison - has to be a joke that he is this high. One tournament is not worth a ranking this high.
25. Tyler Hanbrough - Hard to argue with this. He was excellent in multiple tourneys.
23. Melo - If you want to know how someone can be ranked this high for only one tournament, look at his stats in that tourney. WOW!
20. Glen Rice - Whew, was he ever great in 1989! I have a hard time believing there are 19 better tourney performers than him.
16. Bobby Hurley - I love me some Hurley... LOVE HIM... but #16 might be a tad high for him.
10. Elvin Hayes
9. David Thompson
8. Jerry Lucas
7. Danny Manning
6. Patrick Ewing
5. Magic Johnson
4. Bill Russell
3. Christian Laetter - not #1?!?!?! That's insane.
2. Bill Walton - well, Walton was amazing. Maybe #3 isn't insane
1. Lew Alcindor - nope, #3 is where Christian belongs. Walton and Kareem are the tops, IMO.

-Jason "fun list, even though it is wrong in multiple places ;) " Evans

JetpackJesus
02-15-2013, 02:44 PM
Sports Nation has a poll up for people to vote for their top 25 tourney players. So skew away.

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/post/_/id/8949069/top-ncaa-tournament-players

rthomas
02-15-2013, 02:48 PM
My thoughts...

57. Michael Jordan - I applaud ESPN for recognizing that Jordan's success in the NBA does not make him the greatest college player. Frankly, I seem to recall that he was pretty mediocre come tournament time.



He did hit a very NOT-mediocre shot against Georgetown. That shot alone puts him top 50, as far as I am concerned.

JasonEvans
02-15-2013, 03:23 PM
He did hit a very NOT-mediocre shot against Georgetown. That shot alone puts him top 50, as far as I am concerned.

Why? That is just silly. One shot puts you in the top 50?!? There is no logic to that argument. It ignores the many, many, many other moments that make up a team's march to a title and that make up a player's NCAA tournament career.

-Jason "Jordan in the tournament wasn't nearly as good as you might think" Evans

Bob Green
02-15-2013, 03:29 PM
-Jason "Jordan in the tournament wasn't nearly as good as you might think" Evans

Dakich? Paging Dan Dakich. Is there a Mr. Dakich in the house?

Bob Green
02-15-2013, 03:31 PM
Speaking of Tar Heels, where is Donald Williams? Chris Webber makes the list after calling a timeout Michigan doesn't have but Donald Williams scores 50 points in the final four, wins MOP and gets left off the list. That doesn't make sense to me.

Frobisher
02-15-2013, 03:37 PM
I'd love to see this poll again in a few years and see something like:

23. Carmelo Anthony/Jabari Parker - "The only two freshmen to lead their championship teams in both scoring and rebounding, while also winning the tourney's Most Outstanding Player Award."

...Of course, while I'm day-dreaming, I'd love him to be ranked higher because he chose to stay a few years, and I'd hope to see any combo of Sulaimon, Cook, et al. on the list as well for being key contributors on back to back championship teams...

Li_Duke
02-15-2013, 03:57 PM
I keep feeling like Duke's Jason Williams should be on the list (missed free throws versus Indiana regardless). Maybe I'm misremembering how good he was in the tournament...

TKG
02-15-2013, 04:07 PM
Magic at #5, all time?

oldnavy
02-15-2013, 05:01 PM
My thoughts...

73. Chris Weber - imagine how high he would be if he could count timeouts
69. Sam Perkins - really? He never impressed me as a guy who played extra well at tourney time
68. Sean May - probably too low if you ask me. He scored 22 ppg the tourney they won the title. That's impressive
66. Johnny Dawkins - if only ANYONE else on the 1986 team had been able to score that Monday night, we'd have another ring.
62. Miles Simon - he almost single-handedly won the 1997 tourney, IIRC.
58. Scotty Thurman - the picture of him is of him guarding Jeff Capel. If not for Tony Lang's untimely manicure, Scotty is not even on this list.
57. Michael Jordan - I applaud ESPN for recognizing that Jordan's success in the NBA does not make him the greatest college player. Frankly, I seem to recall that he was pretty mediocre come tournament time.
53. Steph Curry - They misspelled Seth's name... at least I hope they did after the 2013 tourney is done ;)
40. Grant Hill - he should be in the top 20 for that Dunk against Kansas! He also single-handedly almost led us to the title in 1994. His D on Big Dog was awesome!
35. James Worthy - Great player, great tourney player but in no way does he belong ahead of Grant.
34. Shane Battier - He's everyone's daddy, except the 33 guys ahead of him.
29. Purvis Ellison - has to be a joke that he is this high. One tournament is not worth a ranking this high.
25. Tyler Hanbrough - Hard to argue with this. He was excellent in multiple tourneys.
23. Melo - If you want to know how someone can be ranked this high for only one tournament, look at his stats in that tourney. WOW!
20. Glen Rice - Whew, was he ever great in 1989! I have a hard time believing there are 19 better tourney performers than him.
16. Bobby Hurley - I love me some Hurley... LOVE HIM... but #16 might be a tad high for him.
10. Elvin Hayes
9. David Thompson
8. Jerry Lucas
7. Danny Manning
6. Patrick Ewing
5. Magic Johnson
4. Bill Russell
3. Christian Laetter - not #1?!?!?! That's insane.
2. Bill Walton - well, Walton was amazing. Maybe #3 isn't insane
1. Lew Alcindor - nope, #3 is where Christian belongs. Walton and Kareem are the tops, IMO.

-Jason "fun list, even though it is wrong in multiple places ;) " Evans

The problem I have with the two UCLA picks would be the timeframe when they played. They basically started in the sweet sixteen and the seeding was done regionally vice nationally, so.... I think what Laettner did was more impressive than either Walton or Alcindor. I expect many will disagree with me.

Bob Green
02-15-2013, 05:03 PM
I expect many will disagree with me.

You are correct.

oldnavy
02-15-2013, 05:06 PM
You are correct.

Perhaps. But UCLA benefitted tremendously from the format the NCAA's were played during both Walton's and Alcindor's era. I don't think that is very debatable.

Bob Green
02-15-2013, 06:59 PM
Perhaps. But UCLA benefitted tremendously from the format the NCAA's were played during both Walton's and Alcindor's era. I don't think that is very debatable.

It absolutely is debatable. UCLA did not benefit any more than the other schools competing during the same era. I'll use your and moonpie's favorite obsession as an example: how many titles did North Carolina win during the NCAA format in question? [my apologies moonpie, you are just collateral damage here]

How many titles did Duke, Michigan, Dayton, Purdue, Jacksonville, Villanova, Florida State, Memphis State or Kentucky win? Those 10 teams all made it to the championship game against UCLA, but UCLA won all 10 times. UCLA definitely benefitted from Sam Gilbert but they gained no advantage from the format utilized during the era they dominated college basketball.

NashvilleDevil
02-15-2013, 07:02 PM
29. Purvis Ellison - has to be a joke that he is this high. One tournament is not worth a ranking this high.

-Jason "fun list, even though it is wrong in multiple places ;) " Evans

Ellison's ranking is to high for essentially one game. I've blocked the '86 Final Four out of my head but other than his performance against Duke I don't remember him doing much in the tournament.

vick
02-15-2013, 07:43 PM
It absolutely is debatable. UCLA did not benefit any more than the other schools competing during the same era. I'll use your and moonpie's favorite obsession as an example: how many titles did North Carolina win during the NCAA format in question? [my apologies moonpie, you are just collateral damage here]

How many titles did Duke, Michigan, Dayton, Purdue, Jacksonville, Villanova, Florida State, Memphis State or Kentucky win? Those 10 teams all made it to the championship game against UCLA, but UCLA won all 10 times. UCLA definitely benefitted from Sam Gilbert but they gained no advantage from the format utilized during the era they dominated college basketball.

I don't know...I mean aside from the argument that winning four games in a row is easier than six (which seems very reasonable to me), it's also empirically true that repeat winners were more common when the tournament was smaller. Even if you take the time period before UCLA's first title, from 1939-1963, you have four repeat winners in 25 years (45-46 Oklahoma A&M, 48-49 Kentucky, 55-56 San Francisco, 61-62 Cincy), whereas after the 64+ team tournament began in 1985, you have only two in 28 (91-92 Duke and 06-07 Florida).

Now, I actually agree with the Alcindor-Walton-Laettner order, but I don't think it's unreasonably denigrating UCLA's achievements to point out the repeating was easier in the 16-team tournament days, because it was.

-jk
02-15-2013, 07:59 PM
It absolutely is debatable. UCLA did not benefit any more than the other schools competing during the same era. I'll use your and moonpie's favorite obsession as an example: how many titles did North Carolina win during the NCAA format in question? [my apologies moonpie, you are just collateral damage here]

How many titles did Duke, Michigan, Dayton, Purdue, Jacksonville, Villanova, Florida State, Memphis State or Kentucky win? Those 10 teams all made it to the championship game against UCLA, but UCLA won all 10 times. UCLA definitely benefitted from Sam Gilbert but they gained no advantage from the format utilized during the era they dominated college basketball.

The big difference was you didn't travel out of your natural region. The West was always the easy region, so UCLA didn't have to work to get to the final four.

-jk

BlueDevilBrowns
02-15-2013, 08:50 PM
I keep feeling like Duke's Jason Williams should be on the list (missed free throws versus Indiana regardless). Maybe I'm misremembering how good he was in the tournament...

well, had Jason made his free throw in the last second against IU, he probably would be on the list.

However, Jason Williams' sweet 16 game in '01 vs. UCLA is the 2nd greatest tournament performance I have ever seen in my nearly 34 years. He was in Beast Mode before there was a Beast Mode.

oldnavy
02-15-2013, 08:59 PM
It absolutely is debatable. UCLA did not benefit any more than the other schools competing during the same era. I'll use your and moonpie's favorite obsession as an example: how many titles did North Carolina win during the NCAA format in question? [my apologies moonpie, you are just collateral damage here]

How many titles did Duke, Michigan, Dayton, Purdue, Jacksonville, Villanova, Florida State, Memphis State or Kentucky win? Those 10 teams all made it to the championship game against UCLA, but UCLA won all 10 times. UCLA definitely benefitted from Sam Gilbert but they gained no advantage from the format utilized during the era they dominated college basketball.

Well I guess I just assumed that UCLA playing only teams from the West region when the regions were seeded geographically was an advantage.

I am almost certain that I had heard that the western teams during the late 60's through 70's were not on par with the east coast teams of the same era and that UCLA getting to the FF was a bit easier than teams seeded in the East or other regions. And, I am almost certain that I had read or heard that UCLA's dominance was one of the reasons the format and seeding proceedures were changed to seed according to strength versus geographical location.

But, I freely admit that I could be wrong sooo... if you say that isn't true then I believe you.

Not sure what the "favorite obession" comment was about, but I am glad that all my efforts to bash everything UNC hasn't been overlooked by the board elites!! ;)

NashvilleDevil
02-15-2013, 09:07 PM
Well I guess I just assumed that UCLA playing only teams from the West region when the regions were seeded geographically was an advantage.

I am almost certain that I had heard that the western teams during the late 60's through 70's were not on par with the east coast teams of the same era and that UCLA getting to the FF was a bit easier than teams seeded in the East or other regions. And, I am almost certain that I had read or heard that UCLA's dominance was one of the reasons the format and seeding proceedures were changed to seed according to strength versus geographical location.

But, I freely admit that I could be wrong sooo... if you say that isn't true then I believe you.

Not sure what the "favorite obession" comment was about, but I am glad that all my efforts to bash everything UNC hasn't been overlooked by the board elites!! ;)

You're right. My Dad is good for a 15 minute rant on UCLA being overrated once a year. And this is his main reason.

Blue KevIL
02-15-2013, 11:18 PM
He did hit a very NOT-mediocre shot against Georgetown. That shot alone puts him top 50, as far as I am concerned.

One might argue that the Keith Smart shot against Syracuse in 1987 was as clutch as Jordan's, but Smart is not on this list. Same goes for Mario Chalmers.

Switching gears, while I loved watching Carmelo Anthony that year, he would not have led Syracuse to the 2003 title without the six three-pointers Gerry McNamara hit in the first half against Kansas.

And speaking of Beast Mode, Glen Rice personified it in 1989 -- that was off the charts. Stephen Curry was in Beast Mode as well in 2008.

Great list to reminisce about past tourney games.

sagegrouse
02-15-2013, 11:38 PM
Well I guess I just assumed that UCLA playing only teams from the West region when the regions were seeded geographically was an advantage.

I am almost certain that I had heard that the western teams during the late 60's through 70's were not on par with the east coast teams of the same era and that UCLA getting to the FF was a bit easier than teams seeded in the East or other regions. And, I am almost certain that I had read or heard that UCLA's dominance was one of the reasons the format and seeding proceedures were changed to seed according to strength versus geographical location.

But, I freely admit that I could be wrong sooo... if you say that isn't true then I believe you.

Not sure what the "favorite obession" comment was about, but I am glad that all my efforts to bash everything UNC hasn't been overlooked by the board elites!! ;)

I agree with you, Old Navy. UCLA benefited from the regional match-ups.

In 1964, for instance, UCLA did not play a top ten team until the finals against Duke. This was a Saturday game -- #3 Duke had to play #2 Michigan on FRIDAY night. Duke also had to play #7 Villanova in the regional semis.

In 1965 finalist Michigan had to play #5 Vandy; UCLA played #9 BYU in the regionals.

In 1967 the Western regionals were a complete joke -- unranked Wyoming and Pacific. Finalist Dayton had to beat #6 Western Ky and #8 Tennessee.

Likewise in 1968 -- unranked Santa Clara and New Mexico State. Finalist UNC did not play any ranked team in the regionals.

1969 was a photocopy of 1968, as UCLA ran over the same two teams. Santat Clara, however, was ranked #3. Finalist Purdue had to beat #14 Marquette.

In 1970 UCLA had to beat #19 Long Beach State and #16 Utah State. Jacksonville had to beat #1 Kentucky and #7 Iowa.

In 1971 UCLA had to beat #20 BYU and #16 Long Beach State. Finalist Villanova had to beat #3 Pennsylvania and #9 Fordham.

In 1972 UCLA had to beat #5 Long Beach State and unranked Weber State, while finalist Florida State had to beat #11 Minnesota and #18 Kentucky.

In 1973 UCLA had to beat #16 Ariz. State and #20 San Francisco, while finalist Memphis had to beat #9 K-State.

Sorry -- this is tedious. The upshot is that UCLA had to play only three teams ranked in the top ten in the Western Regional in its first nine NCAA championships. Its final opponent had to play nine top ten teams.

The Western Regional was Cupcake City during UCLA's heyday. And, heck yes, it made a difference!

sagegrouse
'If Duke had not had to play #2 Michigan and #1 UCLA on back-to-back nights in the 1964 Final Four, I believe we would have won'

sporthenry
02-15-2013, 11:51 PM
Switching gears, while I loved watching Carmelo Anthony that year, he would not have led Syracuse to the 2003 title without the six three-pointers Gerry McNamara hit in the first half against Kansas.

And speaking of Beast Mode, Glen Rice personified it in 1989 -- that was off the charts. Stephen Curry was in Beast Mode as well in 2008.


To be fair, it is still a team game. Nobody on that list gets where they were without teammates. Heck, where is Laettner without Grant and the pass? Still a great performance but you need the teammates to also put you in the situation to make it matter.

Curry was ridiculous in 2008. I don't have the history as some on this board have, but from a purely individual standpoint, Curry is very underrated on this list. It seems that guys in the modern game don't really have a chance to ever compare but that will probably be the most dominant NCAA performance in my lifetime, greater than Melo and anyone else b/c he was probably closest to doing it by himself even though that somewhat contradicts what I just said.

Blue KevIL
02-15-2013, 11:58 PM
The big difference was you didn't travel out of your natural region. The West was always the easy region, so UCLA didn't have to work to get to the final four.

-jk

Looking back...

UCLA had to win only two games to make the Final Four out of the West Region in 1964, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73 & 74.
They played only 7 ranked (pre-tournament AP) teams in those 20 games (BYU - #10 in 65, New Mexico St - #12 & Santa Clara - #3 in 69, Utah State - #18 in 70, Long Beach State - #17 in 71 & #5 in 72, and San Francisco - #19 in 73).
Six of those ten years, UCLA did not face the next highest ranked team in the West Region.

Granted, the AP only ranked the Top 10 from 1961 through 1968 -- but the West Region did not contain many ranked teams, let alone many teams:
1964 - 6 teams, one other ranked team: Oregon State #6 (UCLA did not play)
1965 - 5 teams, one other ranked team: BYU #10
1967 - 5 teams, one other ranked team: Texas Western #10 (UCLA did not play)
1968 - 5 teams, one other ranked team: New Mexico #7 (UCLA did not play)
1969 - 6 teams, two other ranked teams: Santa Clara #3 & New Mexico State #12
1970 - 6 teams, one other ranked team: Utah State #18
1971 - 6 teams, two other ranked teams: Utah State #16 (UCLA did not play) & Long Beach State #17
1972 - 6 teams, three other ranked teams: Long Beach State #5, BYU #8 (UCLA did not play) & Hawaii #12 (UCLA did not play)
1973 - 6 teams, two other ranked teams: Long Beach State #4 (UCLA did not play) & San Francisco #19
1974 - 6 teams, one other ranked team: New Mexico #17 (UCLA did not play)

So, in those 10 Final Four runs, UCLA only had to win two games in a West Region that contained a total of 15 other ranked teams out of a possible 47 teams.

Not exactly a gauntlet in those days.

Bob Green
02-16-2013, 05:22 AM
I don't know...I mean aside from the argument that winning four games in a row is easier than six (which seems very reasonable to me), it's also empirically true that repeat winners were more common when the tournament was smaller.


The big difference was you didn't travel out of your natural region. The West was always the easy region, so UCLA didn't have to work to get to the final four.

-jk


Well I guess I just assumed that UCLA playing only teams from the West region when the regions were seeded geographically was an advantage.


You're right. My Dad is good for a 15 minute rant on UCLA being overrated once a year. And this is his main reason.


I agree with you, Old Navy. UCLA benefited from the regional match-ups.



So, in those 10 Final Four runs, UCLA only had to win two games in a West Region that contained a total of 15 other ranked teams out of a possible 47 teams.

Not exactly a gauntlet in those days.

Seems my position has been royally shouted down so I concede. oldnavy is right.

oldnavy
02-16-2013, 06:27 AM
Seems my position has been royally shouted down so I concede. oldnavy is right.

I still think that Walton and Alcindor should rank above Laettner as players, they were dominanting in their day. As good as Laettner was, he was not the force that those two were.

I just have a minor problem when you take a look at the way the tournament was structured in those days. That is why I give the nod to Laettner for the subset of tournament games.

Your opinion is the more widely held one and you have a whole ESPN expert panel that agrees with you. I totally get that and conceed that I lose that argument if put to the vote. It doesn't change my opinion, but you know what opinions are like and everybody has one!! ;)

The beauty about this board is that it gives us all a way to vent and escape from a very crazy world. We can come on here and express ideas that we may not be able to anywhere else. For me I have to hold my tounge DAILY about UNC because two of the most precious people in the world to me get upset when I say what's on my mind, so I don't say it. I come here to say it... it's fun and therapeutic on some level. Obsession?.... yea, probably, comes with having grown up in Durham surrounded by Heels and all that goes with that!

So, I want to thank this board for being a place where we all can do this in a "relatively" safe place. :D It has saved my marriage!! - just kidding, I think. :confused:

GO DUKE!! BEAT THE TERPS!!

WVDUKEFAN
02-18-2013, 08:50 AM
I reviewed ESPN's top 75 college basketball players in NCAA tournament history. It was nice to see Laettner as No. 3, right behind Kareem and Bill Walton. Also in the top 40 were Bobby Hurley (No. 16), Shane Battier (No. 34), and Grant Hill (No.40). I am a little bias, but I believe Grant Hill should have been ranked highter than above several players ranked in front of him. Go Duke!!

BobbyFan
02-18-2013, 09:10 AM
Here is the link to the list: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/8951228/top-75-players

The top players are reasonably ranked, but it gets a bit erratic after that. Grant Hill is one of the many misplaced players.

rsvman
02-18-2013, 10:12 AM
That list is completely bogus.


I mean, where's Harold "The Show" Arceneaux?!??

sagegrouse
02-18-2013, 10:25 AM
I reviewed ESPN's top 75 college basketball players in NCAA tournament history. It was nice to see Laettner as No. 3, right behind Kareem and Bill Walton. Also in the top 40 were Bobby Hurley (No. 16), Shane Battier (No. 34), and Grant Hill (No.40). I am a little bias, but I believe Grant Hill should have been ranked highter than above several players ranked in front of him. Go Duke!!

I got no complaints. Laettner at #3 but behind Alcindor and Walton. Heavens to Betsy! Look who he is ahead of -- Bill Russell and Jerry Lucas! Would anyone truly have complained if Russell had been #1?

Hurley at #16. Three FF's, two NC's and one MOP. 75 years of tournaments and ranking ahead of all but 15 players ain't too shabby.

Battier at #34. MOP in 2001; role player in 1999. Sounds about right.

Grant at #40. Two NC's and three FF's but never the MOP. Hey! It's fantastic for any player to even be on the list. Winning in 1994 with an MOP award would have probably put him in the top ten/15. A block by Lang or a made 3 by Chris Collins would have done it. Or, I want to replay the game from the seven minute mark when Duke was ahead by ten.

sagegrouse
'And I also want to replay the 2004 semis from the 2:30 mark when Duke was ahead by seven. And, then there's 1986.... And if we could have had one more day of rest in 1964.... And if Verga didn't have the flu in 1966.... And don't get me started on 1999!'

JasonEvans
02-18-2013, 01:43 PM
Would anyone truly have complained if Russell had been #1?

Only fans of modern basketball with no knowledge of the 1950s. Russell was as dominant in his day as just about any player in history. He would routinely grab 25+ rebounds in a game and you could book him for about 20 points also. Recall, that this was back when game scoring wasn't nearly as high and there was no three point line, so many teams would just pack the lane against him to try to stop him from dominating the game in the paint so much. Ha! Fat chance!

His San Fransisco teams won the national title in 1955 and 1956. Russell was the Final Four's MOP in 1955. In 1956, the award went to Temple guard Guy Rodgers, a passing whiz who would go on to set NBA assist records while playing with Wilt Chamberlain on the Philadelphia Warriors. But, Rodgers' temple team only finished 3rd in the Final Four that year. He probably got the MOP because everyone was sick of Russell and his Dons winning everything. It is not entirely impossible to think racism played a role in the selection too.

Anyway, Russell was a remarkable tournament player. It is almost impossible to compare the players of the past 30 years (since college hoops really matured) with those of the 40s, 50s, 60s, and even 70s. I would not haev objected to them making Russell #1 on this list, though I imagine many modern hoops fans would have.

-Jason "http://www.achievement.org/achievers/rus0/large/rus0-006.jpg" Evans

brevity
02-18-2013, 02:34 PM
That list is completely bogus.


I mean, where's Harold "The Show" Arceneaux?!??

Now, THAT would have been an interesting list. ESPN, to no one's surprise, was focused on NBA star power, which has little to do with NCAA tournament performance.

We have some very bright basketball minds on this board who have weighed the merits of play before and after the dawn of the 64-team era. Laettner vs. Walton vs. Alcindor. One way to look at it: who made the most of their eligibility in the NCAA tournament? Theoretically, you could make an argument that unranked Nazr Mohammed (18 games, 2 titles and one OT loss) is pretty close to #1 Lew Alcindor (12 games, 3 titles) over a 3-year period. But I'm not sure that actually tells us anything.

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry is at #53 based on only 4 games. Which is a little frustrating at first, but ultimately I think this is the way to go. The question we should be asking is this: who owned March Madness by captivating the nation for a few weeks? Curry certainly did. So did Arceneaux, and Kevin Pittsnogle, and Ali Farokhmanesh.

A list of those guys would be a terrific way to jog our memories of tournaments past. I'll admit I'm partial to the ones who were only temporary household names, but maybe Laettner makes that list too.

davekay1971
02-18-2013, 04:06 PM
I reviewed ESPN's top 75 college basketball players in NCAA tournament history. It was nice to see Laettner as No. 3, right behind Kareem and Bill Walton. Also in the top 40 were Bobby Hurley (No. 16), Shane Battier (No. 34), and Grant Hill (No.40). I am a little bias, but I believe Grant Hill should have been ranked highter than above several players ranked in front of him. Go Duke!!

Grant absolutely should have been ranked higher. He was a significant contributor, really one of the difference makers, on the 91 and 92 championship teams. As much credit as Hurley and Laettner deserve for both of those titles, Grant deserves a heaping helping as well.

But what puts Grant over the top (and certainly above several players ahead of him...though not Laettner, still) was 1994. Grant WAS that team. He was the Magic Johnson of that team, with better defense. Whatever the '94 team needed, Grant provided. He was the point guard, catalyst, go-to scorer, shut-down-the-other-team's-best-guy defender, best help defender possibly in Duke history, all rolled into one. The fact that he was able to take that team to being within a Scotty Thurmon miracle 3 of winning the title is, frankly, unbelievable. And that's not a knock on the other players...but there is a reality that Grant took an otherwise good team to within a single shot of the national title. Imagine, for one moment, if Scotty had missed that 3. Then Duke comes down, tied, with the ball. Do you think Collins takes the shot? No, Grant's keeping it, and he's going to try to score. Where would Grant have been on that list, winning 3 natties (and all of them as a starter), while being THE guy on his 3rd natty? Top 5 maybe.

With that in mind, that one freakin' amazing Thurmon shot separating Grant from that tournament resume, I can't see Grant not being a lot higher than number 40!

Olympic Fan
02-18-2013, 07:01 PM
Only fans of modern basketball with no knowledge of the 1950s. Russell was as dominant in his day as just about any player in history. He would routinely grab 25+ rebounds in a game and you could book him for about 20 points also. Recall, that this was back when game scoring wasn't nearly as high and there was no three point line, so many teams would just pack the lane against him to try to stop him from dominating the game in the paint so much. Ha! Fat chance!

His San Fransisco teams won the national title in 1955 and 1956. Russell was the Final Four's MOP in 1955. In 1956, the award went to Temple guard Guy Rodgers, a passing whiz who would go on to set NBA assist records while playing with Wilt Chamberlain on the Philadelphia Warriors. But, Rodgers' temple team only finished 3rd in the Final Four that year. He probably got the MOP because everyone was sick of Russell and his Dons winning everything. It is not entirely impossible to think racism played a role in the selection too.

Anyway, Russell was a remarkable tournament player. It is almost impossible to compare the players of the past 30 years (since college hoops really matured) with those of the 40s, 50s, 60s, and even 70s. I would not haev objected to them making Russell #1 on this list, though I imagine many modern hoops fans would have.

-Jason "http://www.achievement.org/achievers/rus0/large/rus0-006.jpg" Evans

Right school, wrong guard. The 1956 MOP was Hal Lear of Temple, not Guy Rodgers.

Lear impressed the voters with his 48-point explosion against SMU in the third-place game. Not sure racism had anything to do with the vote -- Lear (and Rodgers) were, like Russell, black.

On the other hand, it's ridiculous in hindsight that Lear got the award based on a third-place game. All Russell did in the finals was score 27 points, grab 26 rebounds and block 12 shots against Iowa. Not sure how many he intimidated, but Iowa, renowned as a great-shooting team of Midwesterners, were a ridiculous 26 of 80 from the floor. The win was San Francisco's 55th straight win ... and it was accomplished without the team's No. 2 player, KC Jones. Jones was ruled ineligible for the tournament when the NCAA refused to grant him a hardship year because of his sophomore season -- when he played in one game, then missed the rest of the year with appendicitis.

Russell was equally dominant in 1955, when he stifled national POY (and defending Final Four MOP) Tom Gola in the finals. He had 23 points and 21 rebounds in that one. No official count of his blocks, but writers were arguing whether he had 15 or 16 ... he stuffed Gola at least six times. Although it's unofficial, Russell is clearly the only guy in NCAA history to have back-to-back triple doubles in the national title game.

With all the hoopla about Jordan's 50th birthday on ESPN this weekend, I've been thinking about Russell a lot. I know everybody who grew up in the ESPN era is convinced that Jordan is the greatest ever, but his accomplishments can't approach Russell's. Jordan himself recently said he would pick Kobe over LeBron because of the rings -- well, Russell had one less than twice as many rings as Jordan ... and was a far more dominant college player.

Bill Russell remains the greatest basketball player who ever lived. Too bad ESPN wasn't around to saturate us with clips of his glory.

PS And ever time I mention this, people try to diminish his accomplishment by claiming that he only won so many titles because he had so many great teammates ... I repeat -- the Celtics never won anything before he arrived, never even reached the East championship. They traded an all-star center to get him and won the NBA title in his rookie year -- with Russell as MVP of the finals. He won 11 titles in 13 seasons (one of the misses was when he was hurt -- and his great teammates didn't win it then). He retired after humiliating Wilt in the '69 title game ... and the next season, his great teammates finished below .500 and missed the playoffs. One more thing I've mentioned before. The year Wilt averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds, the players voted on the NBA MVP -- and they voted for Russell over Wilt (who was actually a lot more popular than the always-angry Russell).

I know it's off topic. but I had to rant -- I can't understand why ESPN let Feb. 12 -- his 79th birthday -- pass unremarked.

Well, I do know why -- the sports network is invested in the greatest player of the ESPN era.

But Bill Russell is the GOAT.

NashvilleDevil
02-18-2013, 07:11 PM
Right school, wrong guard. The 1956 MOP was Hal Lear of Temple, not Guy Rodgers.

Lear impressed the voters with his 48-point explosion against SMU in the third-place game. Not sure racism had anything to do with the vote -- Lear (and Rodgers) were, like Russell, black.

On the other hand, it's ridiculous in hindsight that Lear got the award based on a third-place game. All Russell did in the finals was score 27 points, grab 26 rebounds and block 12 shots against Iowa. Not sure how many he intimidated, but Iowa, renowned as a great-shooting team of Midwesterners, were a ridiculous 26 of 80 from the floor. The win was San Francisco's 55th straight win ... and it was accomplished without the team's No. 2 player, KC Jones. Jones was ruled ineligible for the tournament when the NCAA refused to grant him a hardship year because of his sophomore season -- when he played in one game, then missed the rest of the year with appendicitis.

Russell was equally dominant in 1955, when he stifled national POY (and defending Final Four MOP) Tom Gola in the finals. He had 23 points and 21 rebounds in that one. No official count of his blocks, but writers were arguing whether he had 15 or 16 ... he stuffed Gola at least six times. Although it's unofficial, Russell is clearly the only guy in NCAA history to have back-to-back triple doubles in the national title game.

With all the hoopla about Jordan's 50th birthday on ESPN this weekend, I've been thinking about Russell a lot. I know everybody who grew up in the ESPN era is convinced that Jordan is the greatest ever, but his accomplishments can't approach Russell's. Jordan himself recently said he would pick Kobe over LeBron because of the rings -- well, Russell had one less than twice as many rings as Jordan ... and was a far more dominant college player.

Bill Russell remains the greatest basketball player who ever lived. Too bad ESPN wasn't around to saturate us with clips of his glory.

PS And ever time I mention this, people try to diminish his accomplishment by claiming that he only won so many titles because he had so many great teammates ... I repeat -- the Celtics never won anything before he arrived, never even reached the East championship. They traded an all-star center to get him and won the NBA title in his rookie year -- with Russell as MVP of the finals. He won 11 titles in 13 seasons (one of the misses was when he was hurt -- and his great teammates didn't win it then). He retired after humiliating Wilt in the '69 title game ... and the next season, his great teammates finished below .500 and missed the playoffs. One more thing I've mentioned before. The year Wilt averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds, the players voted on the NBA MVP -- and they voted for Russell over Wilt (who was actually a lot more popular than the always-angry Russell).

I know it's off topic. but I had to rant -- I can't understand why ESPN let Feb. 12 -- his 79th birthday -- pass unremarked.

Well, I do know why -- the sports network is invested in the greatest player of the ESPN era.

But Bill Russell is the GOAT.

Great post about Russell. I do wonder who would be covered more if ESPN covered him and Chamberlain. I have a feeling Russell would be treated the way Tim Duncan has, great player but stats don't wow you. They would fall all over themselves to talk non stop about Chamberlain because of the ridiculous stats.

throatybeard
02-18-2013, 07:24 PM
I know it's off topic. but I had to rant -- I can't understand why ESPN let Feb. 12 -- his 79th birthday -- pass unremarked.

Same week, Barkley's 50th.

Same month, Aaron's 79th.

FerryFor50
02-18-2013, 07:25 PM
Right school, wrong guard. The 1956 MOP was Hal Lear of Temple, not Guy Rodgers.

Lear impressed the voters with his 48-point explosion against SMU in the third-place game. Not sure racism had anything to do with the vote -- Lear (and Rodgers) were, like Russell, black.

On the other hand, it's ridiculous in hindsight that Lear got the award based on a third-place game. All Russell did in the finals was score 27 points, grab 26 rebounds and block 12 shots against Iowa. Not sure how many he intimidated, but Iowa, renowned as a great-shooting team of Midwesterners, were a ridiculous 26 of 80 from the floor. The win was San Francisco's 55th straight win ... and it was accomplished without the team's No. 2 player, KC Jones. Jones was ruled ineligible for the tournament when the NCAA refused to grant him a hardship year because of his sophomore season -- when he played in one game, then missed the rest of the year with appendicitis.

Russell was equally dominant in 1955, when he stifled national POY (and defending Final Four MOP) Tom Gola in the finals. He had 23 points and 21 rebounds in that one. No official count of his blocks, but writers were arguing whether he had 15 or 16 ... he stuffed Gola at least six times. Although it's unofficial, Russell is clearly the only guy in NCAA history to have back-to-back triple doubles in the national title game.

With all the hoopla about Jordan's 50th birthday on ESPN this weekend, I've been thinking about Russell a lot. I know everybody who grew up in the ESPN era is convinced that Jordan is the greatest ever, but his accomplishments can't approach Russell's. Jordan himself recently said he would pick Kobe over LeBron because of the rings -- well, Russell had one less than twice as many rings as Jordan ... and was a far more dominant college player.

Bill Russell remains the greatest basketball player who ever lived. Too bad ESPN wasn't around to saturate us with clips of his glory.

PS And ever time I mention this, people try to diminish his accomplishment by claiming that he only won so many titles because he had so many great teammates ... I repeat -- the Celtics never won anything before he arrived, never even reached the East championship. They traded an all-star center to get him and won the NBA title in his rookie year -- with Russell as MVP of the finals. He won 11 titles in 13 seasons (one of the misses was when he was hurt -- and his great teammates didn't win it then). He retired after humiliating Wilt in the '69 title game ... and the next season, his great teammates finished below .500 and missed the playoffs. One more thing I've mentioned before. The year Wilt averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds, the players voted on the NBA MVP -- and they voted for Russell over Wilt (who was actually a lot more popular than the always-angry Russell).

I know it's off topic. but I had to rant -- I can't understand why ESPN let Feb. 12 -- his 79th birthday -- pass unremarked.

Well, I do know why -- the sports network is invested in the greatest player of the ESPN era.

But Bill Russell is the GOAT.

Well, 79 isn't a "milestone" birthday like 50 is...

But I agree with the stance on Russell. As for the teammate argument, I've always thought Jordan had way better teammates than anyone credits him with in his title years. Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc... And great role players. Knock down shooters like Craig Hodges, John Paxson and Steve Kerr. Rebounding bigs who could knock down the open jumpers like Will Perdue, Bill Cartwright, Lucy Longley and Bill Wennington. Plus, the team WITHOUT Jordan did pretty well - made the playoffs and came close to returning to the Finals. I'm convinced that part of the reason Jordan unretired was because of how well the team did without him. Ego and all...

Indoor66
02-18-2013, 07:40 PM
Well, 79 isn't a "milestone" birthday like 50 is...

But I agree with the stance on Russell. As for the teammate argument, I've always thought Jordan had way better teammates than anyone credits him with in his title years. Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc... And great role players. Knock down shooters like Craig Hodges, John Paxson and Steve Kerr. Rebounding bigs who could knock down the open jumpers like Will Perdue, Bill Cartwright, Lucy Longley and Bill Wennington. Plus, the team WITHOUT Jordan did pretty well - made the playoffs and came close to returning to the Finals. I'm convinced that part of the reason Jordan unretired was because of how well the team did without him. Ego and all...

He probably unretired because his suspension for gambling expired.

FerryFor50
02-18-2013, 07:45 PM
He probably unretired because his suspension for gambling expired.

Oh yea. There was that, too...

Atldukie79
02-18-2013, 07:46 PM
Russell had a sustained period of success with the Celtics not unlike UCLA at the NCAA level.
However, one of the mitigating external factors that only slightly diminishes his achievements would be the number of NBA teams and the lack of free agency.
Winning the NBA during most of Russell's career meant being better than 7 other teams. I believe expansion added several teams at the end of his career.

This is certainly no fault of Russell's...he played the teams that were there. But given the Celtics success in building a dominant team, they were able to keep key guys longer and have fewer competitors.

FerryFor50
02-18-2013, 07:48 PM
Russell had a sustained period of success with the Celtics not unlike UCLA at the NCAA level.
However, one of the mitigating external factors that only slightly diminishes his achievements would be the number of NBA teams and the lack of free agency.
Winning the NBA during most of Russell's career meant being better than 7 other teams. I believe expansion added several teams at the end of his career.

This is certainly no fault of Russell's...he played the teams that were there. But given the Celtics success in building a dominant team, they were able to keep key guys longer and have fewer competitors.

Well wouldn't fewer teams mean a higher concentration of talent?

vick
02-18-2013, 08:14 PM
With all the hoopla about Jordan's 50th birthday on ESPN this weekend, I've been thinking about Russell a lot. I know everybody who grew up in the ESPN era is convinced that Jordan is the greatest ever, but his accomplishments can't approach Russell's. Jordan himself recently said he would pick Kobe over LeBron because of the rings -- well, Russell had one less than twice as many rings as Jordan ... and was a far more dominant college player.

Bill Russell remains the greatest basketball player who ever lived. Too bad ESPN wasn't around to saturate us with clips of his glory.

PS And ever time I mention this, people try to diminish his accomplishment by claiming that he only won so many titles because he had so many great teammates ... I repeat -- the Celtics never won anything before he arrived, never even reached the East championship. They traded an all-star center to get him and won the NBA title in his rookie year -- with Russell as MVP of the finals. He won 11 titles in 13 seasons (one of the misses was when he was hurt -- and his great teammates didn't win it then). He retired after humiliating Wilt in the '69 title game ... and the next season, his great teammates finished below .500 and missed the playoffs. One more thing I've mentioned before. The year Wilt averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds, the players voted on the NBA MVP -- and they voted for Russell over Wilt (who was actually a lot more popular than the always-angry Russell).

I know it's off topic. but I had to rant -- I can't understand why ESPN let Feb. 12 -- his 79th birthday -- pass unremarked.

Well, I do know why -- the sports network is invested in the greatest player of the ESPN era.

But Bill Russell is the GOAT.

I appreciate the historical viewpoint, but I have to quibble with this a little bit. Yes, the Celtics traded an "all-star center," but I don't think this is all that meaningful. We're talking about a league with eight teams, so being an "all-star" means you likely aren't in the bottom half of starters in the league (21 all stars that year vs. presumably 40 starters, though I guess a sixth man could make an all-star team). I wouldn't put a great deal of meaning on that, personally.

Second, though, why would ESPN be invested in continually hyping Jordan? Like you mentioned, they spent a great deal of time hyping discussing Jordan's comment that he'd pick Kobe over LeBron. But from a marketing standpoint, they should want to downplay this--Kobe is a few years from retirement whereas LeBron is just entering the peak of his career, so why not hype LeBron, who will actually be on television? I think the answer is, it's quite reasonable to believe that as great as Russell indisputably was, he was a 6'9", 215 pound center, and you don't see many of those in the past 30 years, probably for good reason (in fact, I think the last person listed as center or center-forward to make the All-Star game at that height was Dave Cowens in 1980 (http://bkref.com/tiny/pLDDs)). I'm not saying you have to agree, but it's not so unreasonable that it has to be driven by marketing rather than genuine basketball reasons.

Atldukie79
02-19-2013, 09:23 PM
Well wouldn't fewer teams mean a higher concentration of talent?

Yes, fewer teams means a reater concentration of talent...but I think that factor has a greater implication in MLB. The best hitters in 1927 had to face the 20 or so best pitchers in basball all the time rather than every 4th at bat (or so). Comparing stats across generations in personal matchups would be impacted.

In the NBA, you might choose to draw a comparison regarding individual stats...but even with a concentrated talent pool, if a iven team is superior, it is still superior.