Best players from 2014 Final Four teams
Dwayne Schintzius, Florida Gators, 1986-90
Schintzius helped lead Florida to the school’s first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1987. His 1,624 points are sixth-most in Gators history, and he holds the school record for blocked shots with 272.
Eddie Shannon, Florida Gators, 1995-99.
Shannon holds the school record with 204 steals and is third in assists with 493.
Jason Williams, Florida Gators, 1997-98
Williams played only one season at Florida after transferring from Marshall and set Florida’s all-time single game assist record on December 3, 1997 against Duquense. The point guard went on to have a productive NBA career as a member of the Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies and the Miami Heat, including winning the 2006 NBA Championship with Miami.
Mike Miller, Florida Gators, 1998-00
Along with current head coach Billy Donovan, Miller was instrumental in transforming Florida from a football school into a basketball school as well. Miller has built a career on his consistent three-point shot, but his most well-known moment may be his drive and game-winning layup against No. 12 seeded Butler in the 2000 NCAA Tournament (Florida would eventually lose to Michigan State in the National Championship Game).
Udonis Haslem, Florida Gators, 1998-02
Haslem is third on the Gators all-time scoring list with 1,781 career points. He has also recorded 831 rebounds and 120 blocks in his career. Haslem’s inside presence, along with Mike Miller’s perimeter presence formed a solid inside-outside duo that eventually helped lead the Gators to within one game of the 2000 National Championship.
David Lee, Florida Gators, 2001-2005
Lee was named to SEC’s All-Freshman team in 2001-02. Lee’s four years were successful, despite never advancing past the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. The ambidextrous power forward through perseverance and hard work, eventually carved out a strong niche for himself as a rebounder and role player after the New York Knicks made him the 30th overall selection in the 2005 NBA Draft. Under Mike D’Antoni, Lee became a consistent offensive threat, a 20/10 player, a 2010 All Star and now, one of the game’s premier power forwards.
Corey Brewer, Florida Gators, 2004-07
Brewer is one of the most versatile and accomplished players in program history. He recorded the first triple double in Florida history on Dec 18, 2005. More noteworthy, Brewer was a member of the starting five (along with Taurean Green, Al Horford, Lee Humphrey and Joakim Noah) that returned to school following the 2006 National Championship to defend and win back-to-back championships for the first time since Duke (1991 and 1992) in the early 90s. Brewer would win 2007 Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
Al Horford, Florida Gators, 2004-07
Horford was the power forward on Florida’s 2006-07 back-to-back National Championship winning teams. He was regarded as one of the, if not the most consistent player on each of those teams. His 869 rebounds are sixth in school history and his 28 double-doubles rank seventh in school history. Horford was considered the most polished player among the Brewer-Horford-Noah trio of stars and was taken third overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2007 NBA Draft where he has become one of the best power forwards in the NBA.
Joakim Noah, Florida Gators, 2004-07
His mother was Miss Sweden and his father was a professional tennis player, but Noah found a home at Florida. He wasn’t very good as a freshman, averaging just 3.9 points-per-game, but he blossomed as a sophomore, becoming the centerpiece of a Florida team that went under the radar during the regular season and onto the 2006 National Championship. Noah won NCAA Final Four 2006 Most Outstanding Player. Noah returned with his teammates to successfully defend their championship in a season he was named Consensus Second Team All-American.
Clifford Robinson, Connecticut Huskies, 1985-89
(Shown: second from left) Robinson’s career isn’t sexy by any stretch of the imagination, but he was the textbook definition of a good, consistent player throughout his long 20-plus collegiate and professional career. Robinson is one the best forwards in program history, and was the best player on the team that won the 1988 NIT Championship. Robinson was named to UConn’s All-Century team and had his number “00” retired by the university on Feb 5, 2007.
Tate George, Connecticut Huskies, 1986-90
George was an important player on the 1990 team that put the men’s basketball program back on the map. George’s most well-known moment came in a 1990 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game. The West Region’s No. 1 seed trailed Clemson 70-69 with 1 second remaining. George caught an almost full-court passed and quickly released a turnaround 15-foot jumper that went in. Duke would eliminate UConn two days later in the Elite Eight.
Chris Smith, Connecticut Huskies, 1988-92
Smith continued to build off the success of Robinson and George’s Huskies teams, making the Sweet 16 in consecutive seasons following George’s departure. Smith’s best season came in his senior year where he averaged 21 points and 4 assists per game. He is UConn’s all-time scoring leader with 2,145 points.
Donyell Marshall, Connecticut Huskies, 1991-94
Known for a consistent three (tied for the NBA record for most three-pointers made in a single game) and hard-working approach to the game, Marshall’s best season as Huskie came in 1994 where he averaged 25.1 points and 9 rebounds per game, and became the Huskies’ first Consensus First-Team All-American. UConn won the 1994 Big East Championship and Marshall was named Big East Player of the Year. In September 2013, Marshall was named an assistant coach of the Rider University men’s basketball team.
Ray Allen, Connecticut Huskies, 1993-96
Allen has become one of the best shooting guards in NBA history; a 10-time All-Star, an NBA champion, and the league’s most remembered three-point shooter beside Reggie Miller. Allen averaged 19 points per game in his three years with the Huskies, and ranks fourth on the in school history with 1,922 points. He helped UConn win back-to-back Big East Championships in 1995-96, but his best season came in 1996 where he also won Big East Player of the Year, UPI Player of the Year and was Consensus First Team All-American.
Khalid El-Amin, Connecticut Huskies, 1997-00
Khalid El-Amin ranks top 10 in school history in points (1,650, 10th), assists (479, 8th) and steals 186, 6). El-Amin was a key contributor on the UConn team that defeated Duke to win the program’s first National Championship in 1999.
Richard Hamilton, Connecticut Huskies, 1997-99
Nicknamed “Rip,” Hamilton is the best guard in UConn history. Though he only played two years at UConn, Hamilton finished his career ranked second in school history in scoring, with 2,036 points and third in school history with 21.5 points per game. Hamilton was Big East Player of the Year in both his seasons, Consensus Second Team All-American in 1998 and Consensus First Team All-American in 1999 Along with El-Amin, Hamilton helped the Huskies win the 1999 National Championship and won 1999 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
Caron Butler, Connecticut Huskies, 2000-02
Butler had a stellar career as a Huskie, averaging 18 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3 assists per game in his career. Butler’s best season came in 2002 where he was named to Sporting News Third Team All-American and Big East Player of the Year. UConn made an appearance in the Elite Eight, following short to eventual National Champion Maryland.
Ben Gordon, Connecticut Huskies, 2001-04
Gordon was the lead guard for the Huskies, including the team that won the 2004 National Championship. That season, he averaged 18.5 points 4.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game Most considered that UConn team to be the pre-tournament favorite with Duke (but settled for a No. 2 seed behind Kentucky and Stanford who both lost in the Round of 32) and the greatest Huskies team of all-time.
Emeka Okafor, Connecticut Huskies, 2002-04
Okafor-Gordon’s inside-outside tandem proved too much for teams. In 2004, he averaged 17.6 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Okafor holds the Huskies all-time record in blocks (441) and averaged 4.3 blocks per game in career. His 2004 season is one of the best standout seasons for a college center in history. His awards include: 2004 Big East Player of the Year, Consensus First Team All-American, Pete Newell Big Man Award, NABC Defensive Player of the Year (which he also won in 2003), NABC co-Player of the Year (with Jameer Nelson, guard, St. Joseph’s), 2004 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player and 2004 NCAA Champion.
Rudy Gay, Connecticut Huskies, 2004-06
Gay quickly made an impact winning 2005 Co-Big East Freshman of the Year along with Georgetown’s Jeff Green and Sporting News National Freshman of the Year. After his sophomore season, Gay was unanimous First Team All-Big East and nominated for the Naismith College Player of the Year. Unfortunately, Gay’s 2006 Huskies squad will mostly be remembered for the incredible East Regional final game in Washington D.C, losing a heartbreaker in overtime to Cinderella, No. 11 seed George Mason.
Kemba Walker, Connectut Huskies, 2008-11
Walker’s first breakout appearance came in the 2009 NCAA Tournament West Regional Final against Missouri where he scored 23 points off the bench and helped UConn to their third Final Four in 10 years. That single game couldn’t hold a candle to the 11 that his Huskies team played in March 2011 where they went on one of the most improbable runs in NCAA Tournament history. The Huskies won five games in five days in, arguably, the toughest year from top to bottom that the old Big East Conference had ever seen. The Huskies won six more games in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, all led by Walker’s seemingly effortless scoring prowess, averaging just under 30 points per game during the entire run, and captured the program’s third National Championship in 12 seasons, sending Hall of Fame Head Coach Jim Calhoun out on top.
Walker’s highlights and awards from that 2011 season include: the Bob Cousy Award, 2011 Big East Tournament MVP, Consensus First Team All-American and 2011 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
Michael Finley, Wisconsin Badgers, 1991-95
Finley is arguably the most important player in Wisconsin men’s basketball history. He was the best player on the 1994 team that saw the program, as a No. 9 seed, play in its first NCAA Tournament game since 1947. Finley graduated and moved onto the NBA in 1995. He left as the Badgers all-time leading scorer (surpassed by Alando Tucker in 2007).
Kirk Penney, Wisconsin Badgers, 1999-2003
A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Penney is arguably the second most important player in Badgers history. Penney, a four-year starter, was the first Badger to earn back-to-back First Team All-Big Ten honors (2002 and 2003). Penney was also the best player on the 2000 team that made the Final Four for the first time in 59 years.
Devin Harris, Wisconsin Badgers, 2001-04
In three seasons, Harris established himself as one of the best point guards in the nation and Wisconsin’s history. Harris-Tenney was an electric backcourt duo in the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 seasons. Harris improved in each of his three seasons and his 2003-2004 season saw him take home Big Ten Player of the Year and be named Second Team All-American.
Alando Tucker, Wisconsin Badgers, 2002-07
Wisconsin’s all-time leader in Points Scored (2,217) and Free Throws t (520). Was an integral part of the team that made an Elite Eight run in 2005 and earned a No. 2 seed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament (lost to No. 7 seed UNLV in the Round of 32).
Greg Stiemsma, Wisconsin Badgers, 2004-08
2004-08: Stiemsma was never much of a scorer but was a solid defender and blocked shots and he has found a home in the NBA in the same capacity. His numbers as a Badger aren’t overly impressive; however, he was on the team that went to the Elite Eight in 2005, earned a No. 2 seed in 2007 and a No. 3 seed in 2008.
Jon Leuer, Wisconsin Badgers, 2007-11
Leuer, like a history of many notable Badgers, was a four-year player. Leuer’s playing time and scoring average increased in each of his four seasons. Leuer’s senior season was his most successful; averaging 18.3 points-per-game, earning Second Team All-Big Ten (Media), First Team All-Big Ten (Coaches) and AP All-American Honorable Mention. The Badgers would lose to National Runner-up Butler 61-54 in the Sweet 16.
Wallace Jones, Kentucky Wildcats, 1945-49
Nicknamed “Wah Wah,” Jones, coached by the legendary Adolph Rupp, arguably helped put Kentucky basketball on the map. A member of the University’s and the state of Kentucky’s Athletic Hall of Fames, Jones, a four-year starter, compiled an impressive career as a Wildcat. In all four seasons, he was named First Team All-SEC and was named an All-American in 1946-47, 1947-48 and 1948-1949. However, Jones’ greatest accomplishment will be being the best player on the 1948 National Championship team, the first in the program’s now rich history. His No. 27 is retired at Rupp Arena.
Cotton Nash, Kentucky Wildcats, 1961-63
Besides having an awesome name, Nash was an awesome player. In each of his three seasons, Nash earned All-SEC honors. He was a two-time Consensus Second Team All-American in 1961-62 and 1962-63 and Consensus First Team All-American in 1963-64. He is fifth in school history in rebounds. In recognition of his efforts, His No. 44 jersey is retired at Rupp Arena.
Pat Riley, Kentucky Wildcats, 1964-67
Before Pat Riley became one of the NBA’s best coaches; he was a pretty good player at Kentucky. His most successful year came in 1966 where he was named First Team All-SEC, SEC Player of the Year and AP Third Team All-American. Kentucky would lose to Texas Western (currently UTEP) in the 1966 National Championship Game. That 1966 Texas Western team was the first all-black starting five to win a National Championship and historically important for racial integration in the game of basketball. Riley’s #42 is retired by the University.
Dan Issel, Kentucky Wildcats, 1966-70
Issel played three seasons at Kentucky's and is the program’s all-time leader in points (2,138 career points), scoring average (25.7 points per game) and rebounds (1,078). He was named NCAA AP Second Team All-American in 1968-69 and NCAA AP First Team All-American in 1969-70.
Jack Givens, Kentucky Wildcats, 1974-78
Givens was a winner, helping to lead the Wildcats to two Final Four appearances, including the 1978 National Championship where he was named 1978 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player. He is currently third on Kentucky's all-time scoring list with 2,038 points. He was named to the All-SEC first team three times and Consensus Second Team All-American in 1976-77. His No. 21 is retired at Rupp Arena.
Kyle Macy, Kentucky Wildcats, 1976-80
Macy helped lead the Wildcats to the 1978 National Championship. He played three seasons at Kentucky, but 1980 was his best, becoming the first Kentucky player to be named Consensus SEC Player of the Year and earning Consensus First Team All-American honors. Macy is still Kentucky's all-time leader in free throw percentage (89%).
Sam Bowie, Kentucky Wildcats, 1979-84
Once upon a time, the Portland Trail Blazers decided to select Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan because the NBA was progressively moving towards an era where big men were necessary to win (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin McHale, Bill Lambier/Dennis Rodman, Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson and Patrick Ewing anybody?) Bowie was a bust, but his career as a Wildcat was impressive. Bowie was a Consensus Second Team All-American in 1980-81 and 1983-84. He suffered a stress fracture in his left tibia and missed the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons, but returned and played well in his final season, eventually leading to that famous night in June 1984.
Kenny Walker, Kentucky Wildcats, 1983-86
Walker was a terrific player at Kentucky, being named to All-SEC teams three times and winning SEC Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons in 1985-86. In 1985, he was Consensus Second Team All-American and in 1986, he was Consensus First Team All-American. Walker is currently second in school history in total points and sixth in rebounds. His No. 34 is retired at Rupp Arena.
Rex Chapman, Kentucky Wildcats, 1986-88
After being heavily recruited by several major big-time universities, Chapman decided to play college basketball in his home state at Kentucky. In his two seasons, he was named to First Team All-SEC in both. Chapman led the Wildcats to the Sweet 16 in 1988 where the team lost to Villanova. Chapman enjoyed a solid NBA career for four teams spread out over 11 seasons.
Jamal Mashburn, Kentucky Wildcats, 1990-93
Prior to playing at Kentucky, Mashburn was named a Parade All-American as well as Mr. Basketball in the state of New York. He helped the Wildcats reach the Final Four in 1993 and was an NCAA AP All-American in 1992-93. He is sixth on Kentucky’s all-time scoring list.
Tony Delk, Kentucky Wildcats, 1992-96
Delk is one of the best guards in Kentucky history. As a sophomore, he was named Second Team All-SEC and as a junior, he was named First Team All-SEC. Delk capped a four-year career by leading the Wildcats to the 1996 National Championship, in the process earning Consensus First Team All-American, SEC Player of the Year and the 1996 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Awards.
Antoine Walker, Kentucky Wildcats, 1994-96
Walker spent only two seasons at Kentucky, but his second season put him on the map. Walker averaged 15.2 points-per-game and earned First Team All-SEC honors. Next to Delk, Walker helped Kentucky win the 1996 National Championship.
Ron Mercer, Kentucky Wildcats, 1995-97
Mercer was also on that 1996 National Championship team, but in a smaller role. Mercer blossomed when Delk and Walker graduated, and finished the 1996-97 season averaging 18.1 points-per-game, winning SEC Player of the Year and finishing as a consensus First Team All-American. Mercer and Kentucky would fall to another set of Wildcats, No. 4 seed Arizona, the first team to defeat three No. 1 seeds in a single tournament, in the 1997 National Championship Game.
Tayshaun Prince, Kentucky Wildcats, 1999-02
Tayshaun Prince has established a reputation as an athletic, reliable forward through the years and that started at Kentucky. In his four years, Prince led the Wildcats in scoring twice, was named 2001 SEC Player of the Year and a two-time All American. On December 8, 2001 in a game against North Carolina, Prince scored the game’s first 15 points on five consecutive made three-pointers.
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky Wildcats, 2006-09
Primarily known as an energetic shooting guard, Meeks peaked in his junior season where he averaged 23.7 points-per-game for the Wildcats. Meeks’ defining moment came on Jan 13, 2009 in a nationally televised game against Tennessee where he scored 54 points, including 10 three-pointers, breaking both Kentucky single-game records.
John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky Wildcats, 2009-10
2009-2010: Both of these stars get lumped together due to the nature of their only year at Kentucky. Each was an immensely hyped high school recruit and they both helped deliver a spectacular regular season in John Calipari’s first season as head coach of Kentucky. Disappointingly, Kentucky lost to Big East Champion West Virginia in the Elite Eight and each would then bolt to the NBA.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky Wildcats, 2011-12
Nicknamed “The Brow,” for his unique and unorthodox unibrow, Davis was a Wildcat for only one season, but it may just be the greatest one-and-done season for any player in NCAA history (who cares if he scored 6 points and shot 1-10 in the National Championship game anyway?). Here is a list of the accomplishments and awards Davis earned in his only season at Kentucky:
- United States Basketball Writers Association National Freshman of the Year
- NABC Defensive Player of the Year
- Naismith College Player of the Year
- Oscar Robertson Trophy
- Adolph Rupp Trophy
- Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year
- John R. Wooden Award
- 2012 SEC Player of the Year
- Consensus First Team All-American
- 2012 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player
- 2012 NCAA Champion