The debate could be endless.
There are so many worthy candidates to be on this list, players that have posted great statistical years or players that have had great success in the NCAA Tournament.
However, only 50 made the cut. An 'honorable mention' list would contain about 75 players, all of whom could have made this list.
Through a process of elimination, I whittled down my first list of about 125 players to 50. Great players were left off, and the difference between those left off and those in the list is slim. It was splitting hairs to cut the list down to 50, and then again I sifted through differences throughout the 50 athletes to rank them.
You may feel some players that made this list are overrated or underrated, and if you do, feel free to comment and say so.
Moreover, I tried to add the most significant accomplishments each player had in their decorated careers. These were my main method in ranking the players.
I will be more than willing to answer any question as to why I have players ranked where they are, and I look forward to our discussion.
Current players and players that ended their careers in the year 2000 were left off the list.
Career Stats: 18.8 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 53.2 FG%
Accomplishments: Nevada all-time leading scorer, WAC Player of the Year 2005-2007. Four NCAA tournament appearances, one Sweet Sixteen.
Nick Fazekas quietly put together a great collegiate career, and although he was not surrounded with great talent, he led the Wolfpack to four straight NCAA tournament appearances.
Career Stats: 18.5 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 57.7 FG%
Accomplishments: Only player in history to lead the nation in rebounding three straight years (2004-2006).
Paul Millsap was a cornerstone of consistency in both scoring and rebounding for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. His impressive streak of rebounding highlighted an otherwise uneventful college career.
Career Stats: 16.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 58.5 FG%
Accomplishments: Two NCAA tournament appearances, one Elite Eight.
Patrick Patterson has no accolades like "All-American" or "Player of the Year." He was, however, the leader of Kentucky's Elite Eight squad.
Patterson also combined with Jodie Meeks to form the best scoring duo at the University of Kentucky since the late 1960s.
Career Stats: 16.6 PPG, 42.2 3P%, 84.2 FT%
Accomplishments: SEC Player of the Year 2006-2007, SEC leader in three point field goals made, two Sweet Sixteen appearances.
Chris Lofton was a shooter. He shot 1021 three point field goals in his career, an astounding mark. Couple that with the fact that he made 42 percent of them proves he was one of the best shooters in SEC history.
Career Stats: 15.6 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 49.2 FG%
Accomplishments: First team All-American 2002, three tournament appearances: one Final Four, one Sweet Sixteen.
Drew Gooden started his career at Kansas with Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich, part of a highly touted recruiting class for Roy Williams.
He proceeded to be as good as advertised, capped by a Final Four in 2002 and first-team All-American honors. He was simply the best low-post player in the nation his junior year.
Career Stats: 13.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 46.0 FG%
Accomplishments: 2005 Big East Freshman of the Year. Two NCAA tournament appearances, one Elite Eight.
I may be higher on Rudy Gay than most, but I think he played a huge part in Connecticut's 53 wins while he was there.
He was one of the most naturally talented wing players since 2000, and his nomination for Player of the Year (as a sophomore) alongside J.J. Redick, Adam Morrison and Allan Ray showed why he was such a great player.
Career Stats: 13.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.9 APG
Accomplishments: Four NCAA tournament appearances, two Sweet Sixteens, one Elite Eight. SEC Player of the Year 2001.
Tayshaun Prince is beloved in the Big Blue Nation. He wasn't overly gifted athletically, but his frame allowed him to succeed. He could shoot over smaller defenders with ease.
His performances in SEC play earned him All-SEC honors his junior and senior years.
Career Stats: 16.0 PPG, 3.5 APG, 2.9 RPG
Accomplishments: 2006-2007 Big East Rookie of the Year, first-team All-American 2010. Second-leading scorer in Villanova history. One Final Four.
Scottie Reynolds was part of the four guard offense under Jay Wright, and he was arguably the best scorer of the bunch. Reynolds was clutch, consistent and overall a great player throughout his career.
Career Stats: 14.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 51.2 FG%
Accomplishments: Two Sweet Sixteens, 2006 All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year.
Brandon Roy was one of the best players to play at the University of Washington. He led the Huskies to their first ever Pac-12 title in 2005, along with two Sweet Sixteens. His jersey was retired January 22, 2009.
It is a shame that his NBA career ended so early, because he was a great young talent.
Career Stats: 15.0 PPG, 3.2 APG, 4.8 RPG
Accomplishments: 2006 All-American and Big East Player of the Year, one Sweet Sixteen, one Elite Eight.
Foye was another great guard for Villanova. He set the benchmark for other guards like Scottie Reynolds, and was a scoring threat from anywhere on the floor.
Career Stats: 19.2 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 47.5 FG%
Accomplishments: Big East Player of the Year 2007-2008, first player in Notre Dame history to pass both 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career. Three-time second-team All-American. Three NCAA tournament appearances.
Harangody is the only player in Big East history to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in conference play. He was one of the best Notre Dame players ever, and his stats reflect that.
Career Stats: 10.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 61.5 FG%
Accomplishments: Two National Championships, Most Outstanding Player in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
Aside from having the most obnoxious hair out of anyone on this list, Joakim Noah is also one of the most high-energy players since 2000. He was a staple of Florida's two National Championships, and was one of the best players on that team.
Career Stats: 17.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 45.9 FG%
Accomplishments: 2010 Big 12 Player of the Year and second-team All-American. Two NCAA tournament appearances.
James Anderson scored 29 points in his first collegiate game. He was the fastest player in Oklahoma State history to score 1,000 points in a career.
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford was lucky to have such a great player and leader during his first years as the head coach for the Cowboys.
Career Stats: 16.9 PPG, 4.1 APG, 3.9 RPG
Accomplishments: Top scorer in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, Most Outstanding Player in 2004 Big East Tournament. One Sweet Sixteen, one Elite Eight, one National Championship.
Ben Gordon's postseason success puts him on this list. In his junior year, he led both the Big East tournament and the NCAA tournament in scoring.
His scoring prowess late in the year helped Connecticut to their second NCAA championship.
Career Stats: 10.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 58.5 FG%
Accomplishments: Two-time NCAA Tournament Champion.
Al Horford was another member of Florida's repeat squad, and I think he was the best player of the bunch. He started games his freshman year, unlike Joakim Noah, and was an underrated player defensively.
His statistics don't show it, but Horford was a force in college basketball.
Career Stats: 15.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 61.6 FG%
Accomplishments: 2007 second-team All-American, 2007 NCAA Tournament Runner-Up.
Greg Oden was dominant. His one year at Ohio State was hampered by injury, but he still put up All-American-like numbers.
His performance in the 2007 championship game was stellar. Oden posted 25 points, 12 boards and four blocks against players that had one more year of experience.
Career Stats: 14.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 56.2 FG%
Accomplishments: Four NCAA tournament appearances, Two Final Fours (one Runner-Up), 2003 first-team All-American. Finished college career with most points in Big 12 history.
Another Kansas player that has a great tournament track record, Nick Collison was the definition of consistency. He posted 16 double-doubles his senior year, including a 19 point, 21 rebound performance in the 2003 National Championship game.
Career Stats: 13.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 57.1 FG%
Accomplishments: Two-time Defensive Player of the Year, 2006 first-team All-American, three Sweet Sixteen appearances, one Final Four.
Shelden Williams is not only one of the best defensive players since 2000, he is also one of the best low-post scorers in recent memory.
His game drastically improved his senior year, when he averaged 18.8 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game, and an impressive 3.9 blocks per game. He is only the third Duke player to record a triple-double.
Career Stats: 16.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.0 APG
Accomplishments: 2010 NCAA Tournament Champion and Most Outstanding Player, 2007-2008 ACC Rookie of the Year, All-ACC 2010 and 2011.
Kyle Singler doesn't "wow" you with any remarkable plays. What he does is simple: he gets the job done. He had no glaring flaw in his college game, and his play in the 2010 NCAA Tournament was both impressive and consistent (save one game against Baylor).
In his junior and senior years, Singler scored single digit points in only seven games out of 77. That's consistency.
Career Stats: 13.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 56.7 FG%
Accomplishments: 2008 Freshman All-American, 2009 Big East Player of the Year and first-team All-American. Two NCAA tournament appearances, one Elite Eight.
This picture is exactly how I will always remember DeJuan Blair as a member of the Pittsburgh Panthers: he loved playing the game and showed his emotion.
Blair was unquestionably the most valuable player on Pitt's team during the 2008-2009 season. He had an astounding 21 double-doubles that year, and Pittsburgh was 20-1 in those games.
Career Stats: 15.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 51.2 FG%
Accomplishments: 2005 National Champion, NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
Sean May, along with Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants, helped bring North Carolina back to prominence.
May was the staple of that core group of players, averaging double-digit points in each of his three years. He showed that he was the leader of this team in the 2005 NCAA tournament, averaging over 22 points per game and nearly 11 rebounds per game.
Career Stats: 15.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 53.4 FG%
Accomplishments: Three NCAA Tournament appearances, one National Championship. 2005 first-team All-American and Big East Player of the Year.
Hakim Warrick improved his scoring output from 6.1 points per game his freshman year to 14.8 his sophomore year. In that year, Warrick helped seal the deal with a block in the 2003 National Championship game.
Warrick, however, did not stop there. He continued to improve and, although he did not make it back to the National Championship game, made the NCAA Tournament and was one of the most explosive athletes of the decade.
Career Stats: 15.5 PPG, 4.8 APG, 88.7 FT%
Accomplishments: Sixth all-time in the NCAA for three-point shots made, Big East record holder for three-point shots made and free-throw percentage. Four NCAA tournament appearances, one National Championship.
What Hakim Warrick was for Syracuse, Gerry McNamara was and then some. He produced the most memorable moments in Big East tournament history, leading Syracuse to four wins in four days.
His Big East records are no less impressive, and in my opinion, he definitely dispelled his "overrated" tag.
Career Stats: 13.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 51.4 FG%
Accomplishments: 2011 Academic All-America of the Year, 2009 Horizon League Player of the Year. Four NCAA Tournament appearances, two Final Fours (both as Runner-Up).
While Matt Howard may not have the prolific statistics to warrant a placing on this list, he boasts a great tournament track record. He was instrumental in both of Butler's runs to the National Championship in 2010 and 2011. His statistics are astounding in Horizon League play, and his success in the NCAA Tournament is remarkable for a Mid-Major player.
Career Stats: 13.2 PPG, 3.9 APG, 2.4 RPG
Accomplishments: 2010 first-team All-American. Four NCAA Tournament appearances: one Sweet Sixteen, one Elite Eight, one National Championship.
Sherron Collins is one of the most decorated players in Kansas history. He has more wins than any other player in Kansas Jayhawks history. That's impressive.
His experience in the NCAA tournament speaks for itself. Collins was a great player.
Career Stats: 16.6 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.3 RPG
Accomplishments: 2010 SEC Player of the Year, first-team All-American. One Elite Eight.
John Wall was the fastest end-to-end point guard in this era. He had a second gear that no other player could match, and holds Kentucky's single game record for assists.
He finished right next to Evan Turner for Player of the Year, and rightfully so. His explosiveness was unparalleled, and his college basketball record of 35-3 is very impressive.
Career Stats: 18.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 3.0 APG
Accomplishments: 2002 Big East Player of the Year, second-team All-American. One Elite Eight.
Caron Butler is another Connecticut player that I am high on. Butler and Rudy Gay draw similarities in that both were athletic wing players that could score from anywhere.
In his final game, Butler scored 32 points in a loss to Maryland in the NCAA Tournament. Butler carried that team, and it scares me to think of how good Connecticut would have been if he stayed a full four years.
Career Stats: 17.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 55.9 FG%
Accomplishments: 2008 first-team All-American, Pac-12 Player and Freshman of the Year, one Final Four.
Kevin Love is everything you want in a basketball player. He plays with poise, has an insane basketball IQ, works hard, and has the drive to improve. He can impress with his 23 double-doubles as well as his insane passing ability for a big man.
Love led UCLA to their 18th Final Four, garnered accolades for his impressive statistics and was one of the best one-and-done players ever.
Career Stats: 15.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 4.1 APG
Accomplishments: 2010 NCAA Player of the Year, All-American. Big East Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010. Two NCAA tournament appearances, one Sweet Sixteen.
I was very surprised when I saw that Evan Turner's greatest postseason accomplishment was the Sweet Sixteen. He led Ohio State to three straight 20 win seasons, and was one of the most well-rounded players of the decade.
Career Stats: 16.6 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 60.3 FG%
Accomplishments: 2004 Mountain West Freshman of the Year, 2005 NCAA Player of the Year and first-team All-American. Two NCAA tournament appearances, one Sweet Sixteen.
An underrated quality of Andrew Bogut was his ability to pass. He was a very well-rounded big man and carried Utah to two straight NCAA tournaments.
Bogut can be easily forgotten because he didn't play at a big name school, but he was easily one of the best centers of the decade.
Career Stats: 16.9 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 53.1 FG%
Accomplishments: Atlantic 10 Player of the Year 2001-2003, 2003 first-team All-American. Three NCAA tournament appearances.
David West is my personal favorite of this list. He helped Xavier dominate the Atlantic 10 and was the AP Player of the Year in 2003.
I don't think he gets enough credit for posting such great numbers. He was a double-double machine, as seen by his averages through four years. He helped put Xavier on the map, and was one of the best low-post scorers since 2000.
Career Stats: 13.1 PPG, 5.8 APG, 51.6 FG%
Accomplishments: 2009 second-team All-American, ACC Player of the Year. Three NCAA tournament appearances: one Elite Eight, one Final Four, one National Championship.
Ty Lawson has an excellent NCAA tournament record, along with the record for most steals in a championship game (eight).
He was the first point guard to receive ACC Player of the Year since 1978. He may not have been the best point guard the ACC has seen since that time, but he is certainly up there.
Career Stats: 13.8 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 58.9 FG%
Accomplishments: 2004 first-team All-American, Big East Player of the Year. Connecticut's all-time leader in blocked shots. Three NCAA tournament appearances: one Sweet Sixteen, one Elite Eight, one National Championship.
Emeka Okafor is the last of the mid-decade Huskies to make this list, and he had the biggest impact.
He was one of the best defenders of the decade, as seen by his shot blocking ability. He led Connecticut in Big East play and NCAA tournament games.
Career Stats: 26.2 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 53.2 FG%
Accomplishments: 2008 first-team All-American, Big 12 Player of the Year. Holds 30 Kansas State records. One NCAA tournament appearance.
Statistically, Michael Beasley had one of the best college basketball seasons ever. His 26.2 points per game ranked third in the nation, and his 12.4 rebounds per game were first.
If Beasley led Kansas State to a Carmelo-esque run in the NCAA tournament, he would be much higher.
Career Stats: 12.9 PPG, 8.0 APG, 3.8 RPG
Accomplishments: First freshman in NCAA history to lead the nation in assists. 2002 Big 12 Freshman of the Year. 2003 Player of the Year, first-team All American. Two NCAA tournament appearances: one Sweet Sixteen, one Final Four.
At first glance, T.J. Ford's numbers are not that impressive. However, look at his accomplishments and tell me he doesn't deserve to be this high.
He was the best pass-first point guard of this era.
Career Stats: 19.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 50.3 FG%
Accomplishments: 2006 first-team All-American. Three NCAA tournament appearances, one Sweet Sixteen.
Adam Morrison would be number one on this list if it were the "50 Best Mustaches of the 2000s." Alas, it is not.
In all seriousness, Morrison was one of the best scorers college basketball has ever seen. His 2006 season was prolific. It seemed like every other night the Gonzaga star would put up over thirty points in a game (he had 13 games of 30+ points, five games of 40+).
Career Stats: 15.0 PPG, 6.3 APG, 46.9 3P%
Accomplishments: 2004 ACC Rookie of the Year, 2005 first-team All-American. Two NCAA tournament appearances, one Sweet Sixteen.
Chris Paul was another great pass-first point guard, and he did it with less talent around him than T.J. Ford.
He was an exciting player to watch and would have been higher on this list if he stayed for two more years.
Career Stats: 16.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.6 APG
Accomplishments: 2002 first-team All-American, ACC Player of the Year. Four NCAA tournament appearances: one Sweet Sixteen, one Final Four, one National Championship (Most Outstanding Player, 2002).
Juan Dixon put Maryland on his back in 2002. He averaged 25.8 points per game in the 2002 NCAA tournament, rightfully earning him MOP honors.
He was easily the second best point guard of the first half of the decade, right behind a player further up this list.
Career Stats: 13.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 49.9 FG%
Accomplishments: 2001 first-team All-American, NCAA Player of the Year. Four NCAA tournament appearances: one Sweet Sixteen, one Elite Eight, one Runner-Up, one National Championship (Most Outstanding Player, 2001).
Shane Battier was the best defensive player of this decade.
Couple that with his accomplishments listed above, and you have one of the greatest players and leaders to ever play for Duke.
Career Stats: 18.7 PPG, 3.7 APG, 45.4 FG%
Accomplishments: Holds 13 BYU records. 2011 NCAA Player of the Year. Four NCAA tournament appearances, one Sweet Sixteen.
Jimmer Fredette can shoot from anywhere.
No doubt you've seen what Jimmer can do from long range. He was one of the most exciting players to watch in the history of college basketball.
Career Stats: 19.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.9 APG
Accomplishments: 2003 first-team All-American. Two NCAA tournament appearances, one Final Four (Most Outstanding Player in his region).
Dwyane Wade's run thorough the Midwest region in the 2003 NCAA tournament was spectacular. I may be biased because of his sheer dominance of Kentucky (29 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists), but not many players could have done that. It was the fourth triple-double in NCAA tournament history.
He carried Marquette to their first Final Four since 1977. His athleticism was second to none on offense and defense, and that was apparent in every game he played. He scored in single digits only three times his entire collegiate career.
Career Stats: 16.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG. 4.1 APG
Accomplishments: 2011 first-team All-American. Two NCAA tournament appearances: one Final Four, one National Championship (tournament Most Outstanding Player).
Kemba Walker joins Jimmer Fredette as the most recent players on this list. Both were outstanding in the 2010-2011 season.
Walker's most impressive statistic in his junior season was that he did not lose a tournament game. He won the Maui Invitational at the start of the year. He won the Big East tournament. And he won the NCAA Tournament.
Career Stats: 25.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 47.3 FG%
Accomplishments: First freshman to receive Naismith Award. 2007 Player of the Year, first-team All-American. One appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Kevin Durant was the start of something. He was the first freshman to receive the Naismith Award for player of the year.
Although his NCAA tournament run was far from impressive, his dominance of the college game made up for it. His low scoring output was 11 points in a game against Texas State when he only played for 19 minutes.
Career Stats: 19.9 PPG, 40.5 3P%, 91.1 FT%
Accomplishments: All-time leading scorer for Duke. 2005 and 2006 ACC Player of the Year and NCAA first-team All-American. 2006 NCAA Player of the Year. Four NCAA tournament appearances: three Sweet Sixteens, one Final Four.
J.J. Redick, like many other players on this list, was an amazing shooter. But this guy is the all-time leading scorer for Duke University.
Last time I checked, Duke had some pretty darn good players before Redick. His mark is an outstanding achievement, and he deserves to be top 10 on this list.
Career Stats: 16.8 PPG, 5.7 APG, 4.6 RPG
Accomplishments: 2004 first-team All-American, NCAA Player of the Year. St. Joseph's all-time leader in points, assists and steals. Three NCAA tournament appearances, one Elite Eight.
Jameer Nelson scored at least 13 points in every game of his senior year, leading St. Joseph's to a 30-2 record. The Hawks' regular season run was one of the most impressive in history, with Nelson leading the way.
His first three years weren't that bad either, averaging over 12 points per game every year.
Career Stats: 25.3 PPG, 46.6 FG%, 87.5 FT%
Accomplishments: 2009 first-team All-American. Two NCAA tournaments, one Elite Eight. NCAA record holder for three-point shots made in a single season (2007-2008).
Stephen Curry holds the title of highest mid-major athlete on this list. In 2008, he had one of the most memorable runs ever in an NCAA Tournament.
The next year was a letdown because his Davidson team did not make the Big Dance, but he was stellar nonetheless.
His 2007-2008 season will go down as one of the best individual performances ever.
Career Stats: 22.2 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 45.3 FG%
Accomplishments: 2003 second-team All-American, NCAA tournament champion and Most Outstanding Player.
Carmelo Anthony did what Dwyane Wade, Stephen Curry, Jimmer Fredette and countless others could not do. He carried his team all the way, winning a National Championship.
The second and third best players on that team also made this list, but they failed to win a championship without Anthony.
Anthony was simply an amazing scorer, able to post up smaller defenders, finish through contact and hit jumpers from almost any distance. He scored over 11 points in every game he played.
Career Stats: 18.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 61.8 FG%
Accomplishments: 2009 first-team All-American, Player of the Year. Two NCAA tournament appearances, one Elite Eight.
Blake Griffin's explosiveness is second to none on this list. He is the definition of "Human Highlight Reel," and he showed it in college.
Only in five games his sophomore year did Griffin not record a double-double, and most nights he was going for 20 points and 20 rebounds.
He set Big 12 records for double-doubles, rebounds and rebound average in a year. As a sophomore.
Career Stats: 19.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.7 RPG
Accomplishments: 2000 ACC Rookie of the Year. NCAA All-American in 2001 and 2002. 2002 National Player of the Year. Three NCAA tournament appearances: two Sweet Sixteens, one National Championship.
Jason Williams was one of the best college basketball players ever. His accomplishments speak for themselves, as does his outstanding tournament record.
In his championship-winning 2001 season, Williams scored more points in a single season than any other player in Duke history. He also led the tournament field with 154 points.
Williams was one of the greatest point guards ever, and his quick end to playing basketball was a shame. His talent was through the roof.
Career Stats: 20.2 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 53.5 FG%
Accomplishments: Holds North Carolina's record for career points, NCAA record for free throws made. 2006 second-team All-American. 2007-2009 first-team All-American. 2008 Player of the Year. Four NCAA tournament appearances: one Elite Eight, one Final Four, one National Championship.
One slide doesn't do justice to how well Tyler Hansbrough played the game of basketball. He was one of the best to ever play the college game.
He was consistent, tough and hard working. He played the game the way it was meant to be played, and ended his career with an astounding amount of records for both the ACC and North Carolina, both of which have had great players before him.
Hansbrough was a stud, and he is well deserving of this number one rank.