Texas Basketball: The Top 50 Players in School History
Texas basketball is in a golden age as a program, having extended its school-record run to 13 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. That streak has been led by many of the most memorable players in the history of a program whose track record for producing top-level talent stretches back more than 60 years.
Austin has developed into one of the leading stopover destinations for early entry-bound future pros, and this year’s team was no exception. Standout junior J’Covan Brown is headed for this June’s draft after becoming the second Longhorn ever to lead the Big 12 in scoring.
Herein, a closer look at Brown and the rest of the 50 greatest stars in Texas’ hoops history.
50. Maurice Evans (2000-01)
Shooting guard Maurice Evans earns his place on this list for his NBA longevity, but his lone season in Austin (after transferring from Wichita State) was certainly a successful one.
Evans averaged 15.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals a night as a Longhorn before jumping to the next level.
A physical 6’5”, 220 lbs, Evans has been effective as a slasher but too streaky a shooter to be more than an occasional starter in the NBA.
He’s played sparingly in the last few years, appearing in 24 games for the Wizards in 2011-12, but at his best he’s been a valuable backup for the Lakers and Hawks.
49. Guillermo Myers (1989-91)
Guillermo Myers, a Panamanian import none-too-subtly nicknamed “Panama,” added some physicality to the high-speed, high-scoring Texas teams of the late 1980s.
Myers blocked 101 shots in his career, tying for 10th in school history in just two seasons on campus.
Tough defender though he was, Myers didn't have the all-around game to catch the eyes of NBA scouts. He went undrafted and never played in the league.
48. Royal Ivey (2000-04)
A ferocious defender as a 6’3” combo guard, Royal Ivey led the Longhorns in both steals and assists as a senior. He averaged nearly a steal per game for all four years he played in Austin, anchoring the defense for Texas’ 2003 Final Four squad.
Despite his nonexistent scoring punch, Ivey’s defense has kept him around as an NBA reserve. He appeared in 34 games for the Thunder this season, though his best years came at the beginning of his career in Atlanta.
47. Karl Willock (1982-86)
Karl Willock was an outstanding defender who won Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, but he didn’t force enough turnovers to make a dent in the Longhorns’ all-time steals charts.
Where Willock did shine was as a distributor, dishing out 361 assists to place 10th in school history for his career.
Despite Willock’s best efforts, his teams’ mediocrity (no NCAA berths and only a single NIT appearance) didn’t do him any favors with pro scouts. He went undrafted and never played in the NBA.
46. Kenton Paulino (2002-06)
Kenton Paulino hit arguably the single greatest shot in Longhorns history, a 25-foot buzzer-beater to stun West Virginia and put Texas in the 2006 Elite Eight.
For his career, Paulino is one of just five players all-time at UT to shoot better than .400 from three-point range.
Paulino went undrafted out of school, though he did make it as far as the NBDL (with the Austin Toros in 2007-08). He’s currently an assistant under Rick Barnes at his alma mater.
45. Joe Fisher (1961-64)
A prototypical back-to-the-basket center, Joe Fisher muscled his way to a .613 field goal percentage as a senior (fifth-best in program history) while leading the Longhorns in scoring.
Fisher’s brawn served him just as well on the glass, where he averaged 10.7 rebounds per game that year, the eighth-leading figure all-time at Texas.
Despite the terrific finish to his college career, Fisher went undrafted out of school. He never played in the NBA.
44. Jordan Hamilton (2009-11)
In his one year as a starter in Austin, Jordan Hamilton made quite an impression on NBA teams.
The 6’7” swingman earned himself a spot in the first round of the draft by averaging 18.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game to lead a deep Longhorns squad in scoring.
A pair of draft-night trades sent Hamilton to the Nuggets, but he’s had little opportunity to contribute in the league's top offense. In just 9.9 minutes per game as a rookie, he shot .362 from long range and scored 4.4 points a night.
43. Al Almanza (1958-61)
As a junior, Al Almanza was a key factor in helping the Longhorns earn their first NCAA Tournament berth in 13 years.
Also an Olympian that year for his home country of Mexico, Almanza would finish his career with an average of eight rebounds per game—the 10th-best figure in Longhorns history.
Almanza managed to get drafted by the Lakers, but not until the seventh round. He never played in the NBA.
42. J’Covan Brown (2009-12)
A valuable complementary scorer for two seasons, J’Covan Brown blossomed into a full-fledged star last year.
Brown averaged 20.1 points (16th in the country) and 3.8 assists a game while providing desperately-needed leadership for an extremely young Longhorns roster.
Brown’s ability to put points on the board isn’t in doubt, but at 6’1”, he’s facing an uphill battle heading into next month’s NBA Draft.
By the time draft night wraps up, Brown may wish he’d stayed in Austin, where he would likely have become the third Longhorn ever to record 2,000 career points.
41. Carlton Cooper (1981-85)
A fine scorer who averaged as many as 17.2 points a game in a Longhorns uniform, Carlton Cooper was even better on the boards. His 692 career rebounds are the 10th-best total in Texas history.
Although he was drafted by the Mavericks in Round 6, Cooper never played in the NBA. He’s had more luck in administration, and he’s currently the athletic director at Division II Texas A&M-Commerce.
40. Tristan Thompson (2010-11)
In recent seasons, Texas has seen plenty of players jump to the NBA early, but they haven't always put up impressive numbers in Austin before they left.
Tristan Thompson not only established himself as a terrific college player, but he's already starting to make his mark at the next level.
The 6’8” Thompson averaged 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for 2010-11’s 28-8 squad, and his 86 blocks were the third-highest total in program history.
After becoming Cleveland’s second lottery pick of last year’s draft, Thompson put in a fine rookie performance, starting 25 of his 60 games and racking up 8.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest (with the latter figure leading all rookies).
39. Jason Klotz (2000-05)
Even at his best, Jason Klotz was never much of a scorer, posting just 11.2 points per game his senior year.
On defense, though, the 6’9” center was a reliable force, blocking at least 21 shots in each of his four full seasons (despite limited playing time overall) to finish with 103 rejections, ninth in Longhorns history.
Undrafted out of Texas, Klotz hasn’t made it to the NBA. The closest he’s gotten was one season in the D-League with Sioux Falls, where he averaged 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds a night in 2007-08.
38. Gabe Muoneke (1996-00)
A four-year starter as a combo forward, Gabe Muoneke was a respectable rebounder, but his real stock-in-trade was scoring. Muoneke finished his career in 15th place on the Longhorns’ scoring charts with a total of 1,456 points.
Undrafted out of Texas, Muoneke bounced around to various leagues including the NBDL. Despite averaging a striking 26.2 points a game for Rio Grande Valley in 2008, he never managed to make it into an NBA game.
37. Daniel Gibson (2004-06)
A 6’2” combo guard, Daniel Gibson was a competent passer (3.5 assists a night) and a lethal outside shot.
His 101 three-pointers made as a sophomore are the highest season total for a Longhorn not named A.J. Abrams, and his 175 treys for his career are tied for seventh-best in program history.
Gibson, whose mother somewhat inexplicably gave him his nickname of “Boobie,” has hung around in the NBA primarily as a designated three-point gunner.
He’s shot a dazzling .416 from deep in six seasons (all with the Cavs), but his shaky scoring otherwise (a career-high of just 11.6 points a night) and awful passing (a mere 2.0 assists a game for his career) have kept him firmly in a substitute’s role.
36. Brandy Perryman (1994-98)
There have been plenty of scorers with gaudier totals than Brandy Perryman, but few better pure shooters have ever worn a Longhorns uniform.
Perryman hit 210 career three-pointers (fifth-best for a Texas player), and his career free-throw percentage of .897 is a school record.
The 6’2” Perryman had little to offer NBA teams beyond his enviable accuracy. He went undrafted and never played in the league.
35. P.J. Tucker (2003-06)
Undersized but physical at 6’5”, 225 lbs, P.J. Tucker did his best work in the paint. He scored as many as 16.1 points a game, and his three-year total of 714 rebounds is the ninth-best figure in school history.
Tucker, whose lack of length relegated him to the perimeter in the NBA, lasted just 17 games as a Raptors rookie. He’s currently playing in Europe.
34. Dexter Pittman (2006-10)
Physically imposing at 6’11”, 290 lbs, Dexter Pittman didn’t always live up to his potential in a Longhorns uniform.
Even so, the hulking center finished his career with 124 rejections to rank eighth in school history, and for all the holes in his offensive game, his .623 career shooting percentage is a Texas record.
As a pro, Pittman has faced an even steeper learning curve as part of the Heat’s much-maligned bench.
He played just 11 minutes as a rookie (recording two points and as many fouls), and even this year managed just three points per game and a total of eight blocks for the season.
33. Justin Mason (2006-10)
A surprisingly effective rebounder for a 6’2” point guard, Justin Mason grabbed 3.5 boards a game for his Texas career. He was even better as a distributor, dishing out 378 assists to tie for seventh in Longhorn history.
Undrafted out of Texas, Mason headed overseas to continue his career. He has yet to appear in the NBA.
32. Chris Owens (1999-02)
Chris Owens didn’t have the most impressive length at 6’7”, but the Tulane transfer proved to be one of Texas’ most successful post players.
He averaged as many as 15.8 points and 7.4 rebounds a night for the Longhorns, and his 159 blocks in three seasons (including a school-record 92 as a junior) place him sixth in program history.
Sent to the Grizzlies in a draft-night trade, Owens wasn’t exactly a hit as a pro. He played six minutes in one late-season game and has never appeared on an NBA court since.
31. Roderick Anderson (1993-95)
The most successful juco transfer in Texas history, Roderick Anderson led the nation in steals (3.4 per game) as a senior.
For his two-year career as a Longhorn, Anderson finished ninth in program history in assists (362) and tied for eighth in steals (165).
Undrafted out of Texas, Anderson never managed to catch on with an NBA team. The closest he got was Cavs training camp as a rookie, but he was cut in the preseason.
30. Brandon Mouton (2000-04)
A 6’4” guard with a terrific three-point touch, Brandon Mouton could score outside or inside. His 1,582 career points are 10th-most in Texas history, and his 198 three-pointers rank sixth on that list.
Despite his scoring punch, Mouton went undrafted out of Texas. He never played in the NBA.
29. Dan Krueger (1972-76)
Like many of Texas’ top point guards, Dan Krueger took full advantage of playing alongside an elite pure scorer. Krueger, who spent two years of his career in Austin setting up Larry Robinson, finished with 378 assists to tie for seventh in Longhorn history.
Krueger was drafted by the Rockets, but not until the eighth round. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t make the team, and he never appeared in the NBA.
28. Lynn Howden (1969-72)
Despite standing just 6’7”, Lynn Howden proved to be a dominant rebounder in his career in Austin. Howden grabbed 8.7 boards a game over three seasons, the sixth-best mark in Texas history.
Howden’s relatively small size and one-note game didn’t do enough to impress NBA scouts. He went undrafted and never played in the league.
27. Jim Krivacs (1976-79)
Postseason success was hard to come by in Austin in the 1970s, but when the Longhorns won the 1978 NIT, tournament co-MVP Jim Krivacs had a lot to do with it.
The sweet-shooting Auburn transfer poured in 1,673 career points, a school record at the time and still good for eighth in program history.
Krivacs was drafted by the Kings, but only in the sixth round. He failed to make the roster and never played in the NBA.
26. B.G. Brosterhous (1970-73)
Even on a Texas team loaded with superlative rebounders, B.G. Brosterhous made his mark on the glass.
Brosterhous averaged 8.8 rebounds a night for his career (fifth-best in school history), and his 18 boards in a 1972 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette is still an NCAA Tournament record for the program.
Although Brosterhous was drafted in the eighth round by the Bulls, he never played in the NBA.
His family, though, is still making plenty of waves in the basketball world—nephew Kyle Singler will likely wind up in the NBA next season after signing to play in Spain during the lockout, while Singler’s brother E.J. led Oregon in rebounding as a junior last season.
25. D.J. Augustin (2006-08)
In just two seasons in Austin, D.J. Augustin proved that he belonged among the greatest point guards ever to wear a Texas uniform.
Augustin dished out 452 assists, fifth-best in program history, while scoring 16.9 points a night and shooting .402 from long range.
Don’t blame Augustin for Charlotte’s record-low .106 winning percentage this season. In his fourth year (and second as the Bobcats’ full-time starter), he averaged 11.1 points and a career-best 6.4 assists per game despite battling a toe injury.
24. LaMarcus Aldridge (2004-06)
As good a finesse player as Texas has ever had in the post, LaMarcus Aldridge used his daunting 6’11” height to make up for a lack of physicality.
Aldridge’s sophomore year showed just how NBA-ready he was, as he grabbed 339 rebounds (the 10th-best total in school history) while scoring 15 points a night.
Aldridge’s hip surgery is certainly a setback, but can’t entirely overshadow another outstanding season in which he made the first All-Star appearance of his six-year Blazers career.
Despite a subpar rookie year, Aldridge now owns career averages of 17.8 points and 7.5 rebounds a night as a pro.
23. Lance Blanks (1988-90)
After barely seeing the floor in two years with the Virginia Cavaliers, Lance Blanks transferred to Texas and caught fire to become the “B” in Texas’ "BMW Ultimate Scoring Machine" offense.
The 6’4” SG averaged 20 points per game for his two-year career, the fourth-best mark in Longhorns history.
Blanks, who was also a fearsome defender (averaging three steals a game in a Texas uniform) never got much of a chance at the NBA level.
Drafted by the Detroit Pistons, he spent two seasons planted on the bench behind Hall of Famer Joe Dumars, followed by one year backing up Doug West in Minnesota before he was out of the league for good.
22. Alex Broadway (1984-88)
An outstanding passer whose 457 assists place fourth in Texas history, Alex Broadway was just as impressive for his efficiency.
Broadway’s assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.8 is the fifth-best for a Longhorn career, and he holds the single-season school record in that category at 2.96.
For all his passing skills, Broadway was a dreadful scorer who never posted more than 5.8 points per game at Texas. Little wonder, then, that he went undrafted and never played in the NBA.
21. Connor Atchley (2005-09)
Although his deficiencies as a scorer limited him to just one season as a starter, Connor Atchley was a serious weapon defending the paint.
He averaged better than two rejections a night as a junior, finishing his career with the third-most blocks (189) in Longhorns history.
Undrafted out of school, Atchley spent two seasons in the D-League, averaging 6.5 points and 1.2 blocks per contest. In 2011-12, Atchley returned to Austin as a graduate manager under Rick Barnes.
20. Larry Robinson (1969-72)
The star of the only Texas team to post an NCAA Tournament win in the 1970s, Larry Robinson racked up 23 points and 14 boards in beating Houston in 1972.
The punishing Robinson averaged 9.7 rebounds a night for his career, the third-best figure all-time for a Longhorn.
The 6’7” Robinson wound up as a fourth-round pick of the Houston Rockets. He couldn’t crack that club’s Rudy Tomjanovich-led roster, though, and never played in the NBA.
19. Reggie Freeman (1993-97)
A 6’6” shooting guard who flourished behind the arc, Reggie Freeman drained 243 career three-pointers to place third in Texas history. Fueled by all those jumpers, Freeman racked up 1,958 points, the fourth-most for a Longhorn all-time.
Despite Freeman’s flashy scoring numbers, he didn’t have the versatility to impress NBA scouts. He went undrafted and never played in the NBA.
18. Brad Buckman (2002-06)
A blue-collar 6’8” center, Brad Buckman didn’t need to score in bunches to help the Longhorns win. His 808 rebounds are the seventh-most in school history, and he ranks fourth among Texas players with 168 career blocks.
Buckman didn’t have NBA athleticism, and he went undrafted out of school. He’s currently playing in Turkey.
17. Ron Baxter (1976-80)
Despite being a 6’4” wing player, Ron Baxter graduated with the Texas record for rebounds (916) as well as points (1.897). Those totals are still good for fifth and sixth in program history, respectively.
Baxter was a fourth-round draft pick of defending champion Los Angeles in 1980. Scoring was hardly a weakness for the Showtime Lakers, leaving Baxter unable to crack the roster—and ending his closest shot at the NBA.
16. Slater Martin (1943-49)
It’s entirely possible that Slater Martin would have set the school assist record in his war-interrupted Texas career…but we’ll never know because Texas didn’t even keep the statistic until 1972-73.
What Martin did accomplish was leading the Longhorns to their first Final Four during his sophomore year, not to mention scoring a then-school record 984 career points.
Martin’s postseason experience would immediately come in handy in the NBA, where he helped George Mikan’s Lakers win their second straight championship as a rookie.
Overall, Martin would win five titles (one with the Hawks) and make seven All-Star teams, averaging 9.8 points and 4.2 assists per game in an 11-year Hall of Fame career.
15. Albert Burditt (1990-94)
Albert Burditt was a 6’8” power forward who was a force on both ends of the floor.
He averaged as many as 15.7 points per game for the Longhorns, grabbed 897 rebounds (sixth-best in school history) and blocked 236 shots (second only to Chris Mihm).
Burditt was chosen in the second round of the NBA draft, but had the bad luck to wind up in Houston. The reigning league champs weren’t exactly short on low-post options, and Burditt couldn’t make the roster, ending his NBA hopes.
14. Joey Wright (1988-91)
The final letter in Texas’ ballyhooed BMW Scoring Machine lineups, Joey Wright was the top three-point marksman for those offense-happy Longhorns.
The 6’3” sharpshooter hit a school-record 41.5 percent of his career treys, piling up 1,819 points in all to place seventh in school history.
Wright became a second-round pick of the Suns, but never made it into an NBA game. He’s currently coaching in Australia’s NBL, where he’s twice been named Coach of the Year.
13. B.J. Tyler (1991-94)
Yet another transfer who thrived in Austin, B.J. Tyler left DePaul after his freshman year and filled up the stat sheets as a Longhorn. The 6’1” point guard ranks 12th in school history in points (1,502) and third in assists (480).
Drafted by the Sixers in the first round, Tyler discovered that his scoring punch had deserted him in the pros. In one season of backup duty, he dished out a solid 3.2 assists per game but scored a measly 3.5 points a night.
12. Kris Clack (1995-99)
One of the most complete players Texas has ever seen, Kris Clack was a 6’5” swingman who played even bigger.
Clack ranks among Texas’ all-time top 10 in points (1,592), rebounds (771), blocks (101) and steals (239, second-best behind Terrence Rencher).
A second-round pick of the Celtics, Clack couldn’t make the roster and bounced around several leagues. Although he never played in the NBA, he did get as close as the D-League, averaging 8.5 points and 1.3 steals a night for Austin in 2006-07.
11. Raymond Downs (1954-57)
One of the first true stars for Longhorn basketball, Raymond Downs was absolutely overpowering as a pure scorer.
His junior-year average of 26.4 points per game is still a school record, and only Kevin Durant has topped Downs’ career mark of 22.3 points a night.
Downs was drafted in the sixth round, but the soon-to-be-NBA champion Hawks didn’t have a lot of room on the roster. He failed to make the team and never played in the NBA.
10. James Thomas (2000-04)
Never a top-tier scoring threat, 6’8” James Thomas earned his keep with his outstanding rebounding ability. Thomas amassed a then-record 1,077 career boards as a Longhorn, and that total is still good for second place in program history.
Although he wasn’t drafted out of UT, Thomas managed to catch on briefly as an NBA benchwarmer.
Over bits of two seasons in the league, he played 33 games spread among four different clubs, averaging a respectable 2.3 rebounds in just 8.1 minutes a night.
9. A.J. Abrams (2005-09)
Standing a mere 5’11”, A.J. Abrams was nevertheless a pure shooting guard. Undersized as he was, Abrams was the best three-point shooter in Texas history, with 389 treys (a school record by nearly 150) and 1,969 career points (third-best among Longhorns).
Abrams’ small stature ensured that he’d go undrafted, and he hasn’t yet appeared in the NBA. He’s currently playing in Italy.
8. T.J. Ford (2001-03)
Despite being an infamously bad jump shooter, T.J. Ford won the Naismith and Wooden Awards by leading the Longhorns to their only Final Four since 1947.
Ford had already become the first freshman ever to lead the nation in assists, and by dishing out 527 of them in just two seasons, he finished second in Longhorns history for his career.
The neck injuries that hampered Ford throughout his pro career have finally caught up with him, and he announced his retirement in March.
In eight NBA seasons, he showed flashes of brilliance when healthy, averaging as many as 14.9 points and 7.9 assists per game in his best seasons in Toronto and Indiana.
7. Travis Mays (1986-90)
The leader of the scintillating BMW Scoring Machine offense, Travis Mays was an undersized (6’2”) shooting guard who could put points on the board in a heartbeat.
Mays’ 246 career three-pointers and 2,279 points are both second-best in Longhorn history, and the former total stood as a school record for nearly two decades.
Mays’ lack of size didn’t keep him from becoming a first-round pick, and he averaged 14.3 points a game as a Kings rookie.
After that great start, though, he was shipped to Atlanta in the Spud Webb deal and suffered a devastating ankle injury that effectively finished his NBA career.
6. Chris Mihm (1997-00)
The Longhorns haven’t had the benefit of many true seven-footers in their history, but Chris Mihm was a welcome exception.
An immediate hit upon his arrival in Austin, Mihm averaged 14.6 points a game for his career, grabbed 945 rebounds (fourth-best in program history) and set a school record with 264 blocks, recording three of the top five single-season rejection totals for any Longhorn all-time.
Despite his height, Mihm was on the “lumbering” end of the big-man spectrum, and he never managed to be better than a borderline starter as a pro.
He had his best seasons on the post-Shaq Lakers, averaging career highs of 10.2 points and 1.4 blocks per game in L.A.
5. LaSalle Thompson (1979-82)
Texas’ best true center by a wide margin, 6’10” LaSalle Thompson averaged 16.8 points per game in Austin—and his scoring was his weakest attribute.
Thompson’s 145 blocks stood as a school record for 10 years (they’re now seventh all-time), and his 1,027 rebounds (now third on the Longhorns’ charts) kept him in first place for two decades.
Never a star in an NBA era rich with elite centers, Thompson was nonetheless a fine starter for nearly a decade.
He averaged as many as 13.9 points and 10.4 boards a night in his prime with the Kings and Pacers, even if his last few seasons as a reserve were entirely forgettable.
4. Johnny Moore (1975-79)
Although he was only the third-best scorer on his own team, Johnny Moore’s 1,482 career points were more than any Longhorn had managed in the 20 years before his arrival.
Moore’s real gift, though, was setting up high-scoring teammates Ron Baxter and Jim Krivacs, which he did in spades, nearly doubling Dan Krueger’s career assist record to 714 (still the highest total in school history by more than 100).
Moore went on to a terrific NBA career spent largely in feeding George Gervin in the Spurs' high-powered offense.
Although he never made an All-Star team, Moore averaged at least nine assists per game for five straight seasons, leading the league in that category in 1981-82.
3. Damion James (2006-10)
Standing just 6’7” didn’t keep Damion James from becoming one of Texas’ most devastating post players. James’ 1,917 points are fifth-most in program history, and he shattered James Thomas’ school record with 1,318 career rebounds.
A broken foot suffered as a rookie has largely kept James sidelined in the pros. In 32 total games with the Nets, he’s averaging 4.5 points and a solid 3.7 rebounds a night.
2. Terrence Rencher (1991-95)
One of the best two-way guards you’ll find at any college program, Terrence Rencher could take over a game with or without the ball in his hands.
Rencher dished out 440 assists (sixth-best in school history) and holds the program records with 255 steals and an eye-opening 2,306 points.
Rencher’s pro career didn’t even resemble his college brilliance. In 36 total games with the Suns and Heat, he averaged just 2.9 points and 1.5 assists per contest.
1. Kevin Durant (2006-07)
Just below Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Davis on the list of history’s greatest one-and-done freshmen, Kevin Durant turned in the best individual season for any Longhorns player ever.
The first freshman to win either the Naismith or the Wooden Awards, Durant swept both by averaging 25.8 points per game (second-best in school history) and 11.1 rebounds a night (third-most for the program all-time).
Durant’s star hasn’t dimmed any in the pros, as the 2008 Rookie of the Year has never averaged under 20.3 points per game in the NBA.
He’s just won his third consecutive scoring title (making him the youngest player ever to reach three for his career), and it would hardly be a surprise if he secured his first NBA championship before the season is done.
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