Power Ranking the Collegiate Careers of the Current Chicago Bulls Roster
Chicago Bulls president John Paxson likes winners.
During his time as general manager, he had a history of drafting players from winning programs. It was a practice former GM Jerry Krause believed in as well, but that was before he thought drafting high schoolers was the way to go.
So because of Paxson's history, it isn't surprising to find that several of the current Bulls players had pretty successful college careers.
Even the guys who weren't drafted by the Bulls were successful in college, so it shows that it isn't just something they look for in their draftees.
The Bulls currently have 13 players on the roster and all but one went to college. Sorry, Omer Asik fans, but he doesn't get to be on this list.
So where does each Bulls player's college career rank on the list? Check it out, and if you disagree, comment below.
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Ronnie Brewer was a pretty good player in college; however, he wasn't surrounded by much at Arkansas.
Brewer made his only NCAA tournament appearance during his final season in college. Unfortunately for him, it was short-lived, as Arkansas lost in the first round to Bucknell.
Even in college he showed what a great defensive player he can be by averaging 2.6 steals a game over his three-year career. He also showed his all-around game by averaging over 18 points to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
C. J. Watson
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Much like Brewer, C.J. Watson was a very good college player; he just didn't have much to work with in the ultra-competitive SEC.
While his name can be found all over the record books at Tennessee, they only made the Big Dance once during his four-year career. They did make it to the second round his senior season.
That appearance in 2006 was actually the school's first in five years.
In school history, Watson ranks second all time in assists and steals, 15th in scoring and sixth in three-point percentage.
It's hard to imagine what more Watson could have done in college, but regardless of his accomplishments, he went undrafted.
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Kyle Korver didn't have a lot of success in the tournament, but he did get there a lot.
Actually, Korver never missed the big dance during his four-year career at Creighton. However, he only made it out of the first round once.
During his very successful career, he did become the fifth all-time scorer in school history and got them ranked as high as a No. 6 seed during his final season.
Funny thing is that it wasn't the year he advanced to the second round. It actually came the year before when they upset Florida in the first round as a No. 12 seed.
It is because of Korver and Creighton that when I fill out my bracket, I always worry about those mid-major programs that finally get the high seed. Just seems like they always lose.
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While everyone on the Bulls team started their college careers as teenagers, Taj Gibson did not.
He was already in his 20s when he enrolled at USC. However, during his three-year career, he helped lead the Trojans to three straight tournament appearances. At the time, he was one of the oldest freshman in the country.
However, Gibson had the unfortunate timing to attend USC when players were receiving improper benefits. One of those players was his teammate O.J. Mayo and because of the sanctions, USC vacated all of their wins from the 2007-2008 season.
He was named to the Pac-10 all-freshman team in 2007 and helped USC win the Pac-10 tournament in 2009. However, he never made it past the second round in the Big Dance.
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Unlike most of the guys on the Bulls, Jimmy Butler was not a big-name prospect coming out of high school.
He actually had to settle for junior college before transferring to Marquette for the remainder of his college career.
Once there, he helped lead them to three straight NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the Sweet 16 his senior year. It was the furthest they had gone in the tournament since 2003, when Dwyane Wade got them to the Final Four.
During his senior season, he averaged 19 points and eight rebounds a game and was named the team's MVP.
He also showed the ability to make the big shot by hitting game-winners against Connecticut and St. Johns during his junior season.
Not bad for a guy no one wanted out of high school.
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Much like Butler, Briand Scalabrine was not highly recruited out of high school.
I know it might shock some of you, but the "White Mamba" or "Human Victory Cigar" started his college career at a junior college before transferring to USC.
Once at USC, however, Scalabrine proved he belonged. He was named newcomer of the year in 1999 and received an All-American honorable mention in 2000.
All that was missing was a NCAA tournament appearance, but he got that in 2001 when he led USC in scoring with 17.8 points a game.
He helped advance USC to the Elite Eight when they ran into eventual the national champions in Duke. I wonder if one of Scalabrine's current teammates still gets on him for that game.
John Lucas III
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Out of all the members of the Bench Mob, the smallest had the most successful college career.
John Lucas III had a very interesting college career on and off the court.
He originally attended Baylor but because of the scandal that hit the school in 2003, he transferred to Oklahoma State and helped lead them to the Final Four for the first time in nine years.
Lucas actually hit the game-winning shot over St. John's that put them in the Final Four.
They ended up losing by two points to Georgia Tech, who went on to lose to Connecticut in the national championship game. This isn't the last time I will make mention of the 2004 Final Four during this ranking, so stay tuned.
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Unlike some of the Bulls players, Luol Deng didn't spend much time in college.
With that being said, he made a hell of an impression in his one season at Duke.
During his freshman year, he helped lead Duke to the Final Four and was only the 10th player in ACC history to lead all freshman in points, rebounds and field-goal percentage.
Duke suffered a one-point loss to the University of Connecticut, who went on to win the national title that season. Interesting that Ben Gordon, his future teammate, was on that UConn team.
If Deng and Duke could have gotten past UConn, then who knows what may have happened. He would have been just as successful as the next player, but if they had won he may have been able to move up even higher.
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Much like Deng, Rose was a one-and-done player at Memphis, but what a year it was.
Rose led Memphis all the way to the championship game against Kansas. The game ended up going to overtime because Rose was unable to hit key free throws down the stretch.
During the tournament, he averaged 20.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and six assists while also playing some great defense against a few future NBA players.
Since Rose was unable to win a title in college, this is probably one of the few rankings where he isn't at the top. The final three on this list all have won championship rings at the college level.
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I have to admit it. I used to really dislike Richard Hamilton, and the main cause came from his final game in college.
Very few players get to go out on top, but Hamilton was able to do just that at Connecticut.
Not only did he win a national title his final year, he was also named the tournament's most outstanding player.
The title game is where the hate began.
I went to high school with Corey Maggette, who was a freshman at Duke during the 1998-1999 season. Duke ended up playing Hamilton's Connecticut team for the national title, so clearly I was rooting for Duke.
So before people start debating that Hamilton should be higher than the next guy, I will admit that perhaps I am being a little biased.
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After the mass exodus of players from the 1999 Duke team, coach Mike Kryzyewski had to restock quickly, and he did just that.
Carlos Boozer came in to replace Elton Brand, who, funny enough, was drafted by the Bulls first overall in 1999.
By bringing in Boozer along with Jay Williams and Mike Dunleavy, he got right back to the title game in 2001. However, this time he won it by beating Arizona.
They all returned the next season and looked like shoo-ins to repeat as champions but were upset in the Sweet 16 by Indiana. During the 2001-2002 season, Boozer, Williams and Dunleavy were the first trio in Duke history to all score over 600 points.
Boozer had a pretty good three-year run at Duke, but it was nothing compared to the final guy on this list.
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All Joakim Noah did in college was win.
After losing in the second round of the tournament in 2005, the Florida Gators went on to win back-to-back NCAA championships.
In 2006, Noah was named the tournament's most outstanding player. During the Final Four game, he scored 26 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and added five blocks for good measure.
During the title game against UCLA, he totaled 16 points, nine rebounds and a tournament-record six blocks. If the game was closer, I wonder how many more blocks he could have added.
Florida won that game 73-57.
Even after all these years, I still can't get the image of Noah on draft night out of my head, but I guess when you win two national championships, you can wear whatever you want.