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What NFL players were hoopers in college? There’s more than you think

Antonio Gates, William Moore

San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) breaks away from Atlanta Falcons strong safety William Moore (25) during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)


College Hoopedia is a one-stop shop for some of the best random hoops information on the web.

On Wednesday, they took a look at NFL players that also played college basketball. While some of the most famous names on that list -- Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens and Jason Taylor -- are no longer in the league, there are still 14 former college hoopers donning pads on Sundays.

Some of them are quite well-known. We all know the story of Antonio Gates, who was a standout power forward for Kent State’s 2001 Elite Eight team before going on to become a fantasy stalwart at tight end for the San Diego Chargers. Jimmy Graham was a power forward for Miami before switching over to tight end and becoming Drew Brees’ favorite target. Old-timers and all-pros Tony Gonzalez and Julius Peppers played college ball for California and North Carolina, respectively.

Most of the athletes listed by College Hoopedia played very minor roles on their basketball teams. Connor Barwin, for example, walked on to the Cincinnati team in 2005-2006 when they were in desperate need of bodies. But there are a couple of other names on that list worth mentioning:

- Jordan Cameron accepted a basketball scholarship to BYU out of high school, but after redshirting his first year with the Cougars, he transferred to USC to pursue a football career. He currently plays tight end for the Browns.

- Demar Dotson played two seasons for Southern Miss after transferring in from a JuCo. He averaged 5.0 points and 3.6 boards as a senior.

- Julius Thomas, currently a tight end with the Broncos, is probably the best basketball playing NFLer you haven’t heard of. He played four seasons for Portland State, averaging 10.8 points and 5.9 boards as a senior in 2009-2010. As a junior, he averaged 6.9 points for a team that won at Gonzaga and made the NCAA tournament as a No. 13 seed.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.