Russell Westbrook only needed two seasons at UCLA before becoming the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.
Now a bonafide star in the NBA, Westbrook was more of a mystery than anything else as a Bruin.
"Westbrook's college career was really interesting," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said to reporters Friday before his team takes on the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals Monday.
In Westbrook's freshman year, the five-time All-Star only averaged 3.4 points while playing just 9.0 minutes per game. With older future NBA mainstays ahead of him such as Aaron Afflalo and Darren Collison ahead of him, Westbrook was stuck to the bench most of the time.
"He didn't play point guard, he was playing with Afflalo and Collison and other NBA players, so I don't think Westbrook really jumped out at that stage," said Kerr.
The next season, with Afflalo gone to the NBA and Kevin Love arriving on campus as a freshman, Westbrook flourished. As a sophomore, his numbers spiked to 12.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game in 33.8 minutes per game.
When Kerr first saw Westbrook play in college, it was also the first time he saw his unanimous MVP Steph Curry play college basketball, too. As the sophomores battled it out, it was Westbrook's Bruins who came back in the second half to down Curry's Davidson Wildcats, 75-63, on Dec. 8, 2007, at the Wooden Classic. Curry led Davidson with 15 points in a season he averaged 25.9, and Westbrook chipped in 14 points and six assists.
"He didn't really explode until he got to the NBA," said Kerr. "In college he was so athletic, but he was sort of lost among a lot of good players.
"But once he got to the league, he was able to really showcase what he could do."
Westbrook's athletic ability has continued to shine as his game progresses. He led the NBA in triple-doubles with 18 this season. That mark matched the most in one season since Magic Johnson's record in the 1981-82 season.
On the year, Westbrook averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game for the Thunder. He is averaging 25.5 points, 10.8 assists and 6.8 rebounds per game in the playoffs.