The Best NCAA Team featuring NBA Alumni
The NBA and the NCAA Basketball have never been more popular than right now. Millions of brackets are filled out during March Madness and the NBA playoffs ratings grow every year. NBA commentators always bring up where players went to college, and that got me thinking: which college program could field the best team featuring NBA players? Thanks to Basketball Reference, I was able to go back and find stats from college programs and use them to create the best teams. I took NCAA programs with multiple NBA players and used the stats from their best college season.
We have 12 programs to break down but before we do that let’s throw out some honorable mentions that just missed making the cut. These are some of the biggest NCAA programs but they either do not have enough players in the NBA or they just do not have the star power.
Honorable Mentions: Virginia, Louisville, Michigan, Tennessee, Syracuse, and Gonzaga. These programs are always Title contenders with some great college players, unfortunately they will not be making our list.
Players in NBA: LaMarcus Aldridge, Jarrett Allen, DJ Augustin, Mo Bamba, Avery Bradley, Kevin Durant, Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson, PJ Tucker, Myles Turner
DJ Augustin, 2007-2008: 19.2 ppg, 5.8 apg
Avery Bradley, 2009-2010: 11.6 ppg, 2.9 rgb, 2.1 apg
Kevin Durant, 2006-2007: 25.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg NCAA Player of the Year
LaMarcus Aldridge, 2005-2006: 15 ppg, 9.2 rpg
PJ Tucker, 2005-2006: 16.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.9 apg Big 12 Player of the Year
Mo Bamba, 2017-2018: 12.9 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 3.7 bpg
Analysis: Texas is a pretty underrated program, this squad is no joke. Solid guard play and really good defense with Bradley, Tucker, and Bamba. Also having KD never hurts.
-Michigan State Spartans
Players in NBA: Miles Bridges, Bryn Forbes, Draymond Green, Gary Harris, Jaren Jackson, Kalin Lucas, Denzel Valentine
Miles Bridges, 2016-2017: 16.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg
Draymond Green, 2011-2012: 16.2 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.8 apg Big Ten Player of the Year
Gary Harris, 2013-2014: 16.7 ppg, 4 rpg, 2.7 apg
Jaren Jackson, 2017-2018: 10.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Denzel Valentine, 2015-2016: 19.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 7.8 apg AP Player of the Year
Kalin Lucas, 2008-2009: 14.7 ppg, 4.6 apg Big Ten Player of the Year
Analysis: A solid all around squad, no superstar type guys but players that know their role and know how to play in the system. An underrated team no doubt
-Duke Blue Devils
Players in the NBA: Grayson Allen, Marvin Bagley, Wendell Carter, Quinn Cook, Seth Curry, Luol Deng, Harry Giles, Rodney Hood, Brandon Ingram, Kyrie Irving, Tyus Jones, Luke Kennard, Semi Ojeleye, Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker, Mason Plumee, Miles Plumlee, JJ Redick, Austin Rivers, Jayson Tatum, Gary Trent Jr, Justise Winslow
JJ Redick, 2005-2006: 26.8 ppg, 42% 3 point AP Player of the Year
Grayson Allen, 2015-2016: 21.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.5 apg
Marvin Bagley, 2017-2018: 21 ppg, 11.1 rpg ACC Player of the Year
Jabari Parker, 2013-2014: 19.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg
Jahlil Okafor, 2014-2015: 17.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg ACC Player of the Year
Jayson Tatum, 2016-2017: 16.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg
Analysis: An absolute despicable team but you can’t argue with the talent, JJ doesn’t miss and they have a lot of athleticism. Not the greatest defensive team but good luck stopping them.
-University of North Carolina
Players in the NBA: Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock, Vince Carter, Ed Davis, Wayne Ellington, Raymond Felton, Danny Green, John Henson, Justin Jackson, Marvin Williams
Harrison Barnes, 2011-2012: 17.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Vince Carter, 1997-1998: 15.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg
Ed Davis, 2009-2010: 13.4 ppg, 9.6 rpg
Wayne Ellington, 2007-2008: 16.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Raymond Felton, 2002-2003: 12.9 ppg, 6.7 apg, 4.1 rpb
Justin Jackson, 2016-2017: 18.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg ACC Player of the Year
Analysis: The numbers don’t jump off the screen but this team is great. Raymond Felton was an incredible college point guard and with wings like Harrison Barnes and Vince Carter watch out for the fast break slams.
Players in the NBA: Joel Embiid, Josh Jackson, Frank Mason, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Svi Mykhailiuk, Kelly Oubre, Wayne Selden, Andrew Wiggins
Joel Embiid, 2013-2014: 11.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.6 blk
Josh Jackson, 2016-2017: 16.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Frank Mason, 2016-2017: 20.9 ppg, 5.2 ast, 4.2 rpg AP Player of the Year
Marcus Morris, 2010-2011: 17.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg Big 12 Player of the Year
Kelly Oubre, 2014-2015: 9.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Andrew Wiggins, 2013-2014: 17.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg
Analysis: Not many huge numbers from this KU squad but arguably one of the most athletic teams. They don’t have great shooting but Frank Mason was a stud guard that would carry these guys.
Players in the NBA: Bam Adebayo, Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, De’Aaron Fox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Terrence Jones, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Brandon Knight, Kevin Knox, Skal Labissiere, Trey Lyles, Jodie Meeks, Malik Monk, Jamal Murray, Nerlens Noel, Julius Randle, Rajon Rando, Karl Anthony-Towns, John Wall
Anthony Davis, 2011-2012: 14.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 4.7 blk AP Player of the Year
Jodie Meeks, 2008-2009: 23.7 ppg
Malik Monk, 2016-2017: 19.8 ppg SEC Player of the Year
Jamal Murray, 2015-2016: 20.0 ppg, 5.2 rpb
Nerlens Noel, 2012-2013: 10.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 4.4 bpg
John Wall, 2009-2010: 16.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.5 apg SEC Player of the Year
Analysis: This team is absolutely ridiculous, with Davis and Noel down low shots are getting erased. Meeks and Murray were great shooters; Wall and Monk were pedal to the metal the whole time.This would be a must watch
Players in the NBA: Ryan Arcidiacono, Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Done DiVincenzo, Josh Hart, Kyle Lowry, Omari Spellman, Dante Cunningham
Ryan Arcidiacono, 2015-2016: 12.5 ppg, 4.2 apg, 1.4 spg
Mikal Bridges, 2017-2018: 17.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Jalen Brunson, 2017-2018: 18.9 ppg, 4.6 apg AP Player of the Year
Josh Hart, 2016-2017: 18.7 ppg, 6.4 rpb
Kyle Lowry, 2005-2006: 11.0 ppg, 4.3 rpb, 3.7 apg
Omari Spellman, 2017-2018: 10.9 ppg 8.0 apg
Analysis: Just a typical Villanova team, they don’t do anything spectacular but they do everything the right way.
-University of Connecticut
Players in the NBA: Andre Drummond, Rudy Gay, Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier, Kemba Walker, Emeka Okafor
Andre Drummond, 2011-2012: 10.0 ppg, 7.6 rpb, 2.7 bpg
Rudy Gay, 2005-2006: 15.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg
Jeremy Lamb, 2011-2012: 17.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Shabazz Napier, 2013-2014: 18.0 ppg, 5.9 rpb, 4.9 apg AAC Player of the Year
Kemba Walker, 2010-2011: 23.5 ppg 5.4 rpg, 4.5 apg
Emeka Okafor, 2003-2004: 17.6 ppg, 11.5 rpb Big East Player of the Year
Analysis: A sneaky good team here from UCONN, Emeka was a perfect college basketball player, Kemba was a beast, and the rest of these guys are perfect role players.
Players in the NBA: OG Anunoby, Yogi Ferrell, Eric Gordon, Victor Oladipo, Noah Vonleh, Cody Zeller, Troy Williams, Thomas Bryant
OG Anunoby, 2016-2017: 11.1 ppg, 5.4 rpb
Yogi Ferrell, 2015-2016: 17.3 ppg, 5.6 apg
Eric Gordon, 2007-2008: 20.9 ppg
Victor Oladipo, 2012-2013: 13.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg
Noah Vonleh, 2013-2014: 11.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg
Cody Zeller, 2012-2013: 16.5 ppg, 8.0 rpb
Analysis: Eric Gordon was incredible in college and Oladipo was no slouch either. Solid numbers from this underrated squad.
-University of Arizona
Players in the NBA: DeAndre Ayton, Jerryd Bayless, Channing Frye,Aaron Gordon, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Andre Igoudala, Stanley Johnson, Lauri Maarkanen, TJ McConnell, Alonzo Trier, Rawle Alkins, Kadeem Allen, Solomon Hill
DeAndre Ayton, 2017-2018: 20.1 ppg, 11.6 rpg Pac-12 Player of the Year
Jerryd Bayless, 2007-2008: 19.7ppg, 4.0 apg
Channing Frye, 2004-2005: 15.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg
Aaron Gordon, 2013-2014: 12.4 ppg, 8.0 rpb
Andre Igoudala, 2003-2004: 12.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 4.9 apg
TJ McConnell, 2014-2015: 10.4 ppg, 6.3 apg, 2.2 spg
Analysis: A really solid defensive team with TJ and Iggy, also really good on the blocks with Ayton and Frye. Probably not a program you think of but a good one no doubt.
Players in the NBA: Kyle Anderson, Trevor Ariza, Lonzo Ball, Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday, Zach LaVine, Kevin Love, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Russell Westbrook, Jonah Bolden, TJ Leaf, Kevon Looney, Norman Powell, Thomas Welsh
Kyle Anderson, 2013-2014: 14.6 ppg, 8.8 rpb 6.5 apg
Trevor Ariza, 2003-2004: 11.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Lonzo Ball, 2016-2017: 14.6 ppg, 6.0 rpb, 7.6 apg
Darren Collison, 2008-2009: 14.4 ppg, 4.7 apg
Kevin Love, 2007-2008: 17.5 ppg, 10.6 rpb Pac-10 Player of the Year
Russell Westbrook. 2007-2008: 12.7 ppg, 4.3 apg
Analysis: An interesting team no doubt, Anderson and Ariza are the same player and seeing Lonzo, Russell, and Collison playing together would really be something.
- University of Florida
Players in the NBA: Bradley Beal, Corey Brewer, Udonis Haslem, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Chandler Parsons, Chris Chiozza, Dorian Finney-Smith, Devin Robinson
Bradley Beal, 2011-2012: 14.87 ppg, 6.7 rpb
Corey Brewer, 2006-2007: 13.2 ppg, 4.7 rpb
Udonis Haslem, 2001-2002: 16.0 ppg, 8.3 rpb
Al Horford, 2006-2007: 13.2 ppg, 9.5 rpb
Joakim Noah, 2005-2006: 14.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.4 bpg
Chandler Parsons, 2010-2011: 11.3 ppg, 7.8 rpb
Analysis: The Florida teams of Brewer, Horford, and Noah were incredible and then you add in Beal and Parsons? A really really good team in the making here.
Who’s the Winner?
All of these programs are great, with some obvious choices and some not so obvious choices. So if you could create a team from alumni players in the NBA who would have the best team? It comes down to a couple teams for me: Texas, Duke, UNC, and Kentucky. Texas is incredibly underrated and anytime you have KD you have a great chance; Duke, UNC, and Kentucky are obvious choices with their great history. My choice is Kentucky (unfortunately) but when you have a team consisting of Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, John Wall, Malik Monk, Jodie Meeks and Jamal Murray you have everything you need. Which program wins for you?