Purdue Basketball: The Top 50 Players in School History

Thad NovakCorrespondent ISeptember 11, 2012

Purdue Basketball: The Top 50 Players in School History

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    With the nation’s best high school talent pool in its own backyard, it’s no surprise that Purdue’s basketball program has featured some of the college game’s greatest players. Although Gene Keady and Matt Painter have earned the program a reputation for stalwart defense, many of its biggest names have been devastating scoring weapons like “Big Dog” Glenn Robinson.

    One of the latest to join the ranks of the Boilermakers’ all-time best is newly-minted Minnesota Timberwolf Robbie Hummel. Hummel bounced back from a devastating knee injury to shine in his senior year, finishing in the program’s all-time top 10 in points, rebounds and blocks.

    Read on for more on Hummel and the rest of the 50 biggest stars ever to wear a Purdue uniform.

50. Jimmy Oliver (1988-91)

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    A 6’5” swingman with a killer three-point stroke, Jimmy Oliver made the most of his one season as a Boilermaker starter. Oliver averaged 19.2 points per game as a junior, draining 79 treys to tie for the sixth-best season in school history.

    A second-round pick for the Cavaliers, Oliver bounced around the NBA for five seasons. He was most effective in Boston, playing 44 games and averaging 4.9 points a night.

49. Matt Kiefer (2002-06)

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    Matt Kiefer may not have had much going for him besides his 6’10” frame, but he knew how to use his length to his best advantage.

    Despite coming off the bench for two of his four collegiate seasons, he notched 80 career blocked shots to rank ninth in Boilermaker history.

    Kiefer didn’t have the scoring or rebounding chops to impress the pro scouts, and he went undrafted. He never played in the NBA.

48. Wilson Eison (1957-60)

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    Wilson Eison was a solid scorer who poured in as many as 18.7 points a game for Purdue, but his biggest impact came on the boards.

    Eison recorded two of the top 10 rebounding seasons in Boilermakers history, topping out at 13 boards a night (the best for any Purdue player not named Dischinger) in his junior year.

    Eison had the bad luck to be a 6’6” center at just the moment when the likes of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain were starting to dominate the NBA.

    He went undrafted—though he’d been selected by the Lakers following his junior year—and never played in the league.

47. Drake Morris (1977-81)

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    The small forward for Purdue’s second Final Four team in 1980, Drake Morris made his name as a defensive stopper.

    The 6’6” Morris racked up 149 career steals, the eighth-highest total in school history, while playing for three different coaches in four seasons.

    As tough a defender as he was, Morris found that his defense alone wouldn’t get him into the NBA. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

46. Paul Hoffman (1943-47)

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    One of Purdue’s first star performers of the NCAA Tournament era, 6’2” swingman Paul “Bear” Hoffman gave the WWII-era Boilermakers four straight seasons of double-digit scoring.

    The muscular Hoffman was also a fine rebounder, though the stat wasn’t kept in the college game during his career.

    Hoffman was chosen in the inaugural draft of the BAA (which would become the NBA), scoring 10.5 points per game and winning the first-ever Rookie of the Year award.

    He played a total of six seasons in the BAA/NBA, mostly with the first Baltimore Bullets—not the franchise that became the Wizards—and averaged as many as 14.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and four assists per game.

45. Frank Kendrick (1971-74)

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    Far from the biggest power forward at 6’6”, 195 lbs, Frank Kendrick was still a force in the low post.

    He averaged 18.5 points a game in each of his last two collegiate seasons, and his career mark of 8.5 rebounds a night is tied for the 10th-best in school history.

    A third-round pick of the Warriors, Kendrick didn’t get much of a chance to prove himself in the NBA. In 24 career games, he got on the floor for just five minutes a night.

44. Eugene Parker (1974-78)

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    Eugene Parker was a first-class combo guard who scored as many as 15.6 points a night in a Boilermaker uniform. He made his biggest impact with his passing skills, dishing out the eighth-most assists (424) in Purdue history.

    Although Parker was drafted by San Antonio, he opted for an assistant coaching job at Valparaiso instead, getting his law degree in the process.

    That decision turned out to be a lucrative one, as he became a hugely successful agent for NFL players whose company’s current clients include Steven Jackson and Ndamukong Suh.

43. Lamar Lundy (1954-57)

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    A hulking center for the era at 6’6”, 225 lbs, Lamar Lundy was a dominant force as a rebounder.

    His 8.5 boards per game are tied for the 10th-best career mark in program history, and he's the only Boilermaker to earn MVP honors in both football and basketball in the same season.

    Lundy never played in the NBA, but only because he preferred to head for the NFL instead. He went on to become a Pro Bowl defensive lineman for the Rams, forming part of that club’s revered Fearsome Foursome defensive front.

42. Lewis Jackson (2008-12)

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    A sensational ballhandler with all the quickness you expect from a 5’9” point guard, Lewis Jackson was a first-class floor leader for the Boilermakers.

    He ranks seventh in program history with 456 career assists, and his passing helped set up three of Purdue’s top 10 scorers of all-time (E’Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Robbie Hummel).

    With his small stature, the NBA was never anything more than a longshot for Jackson, who wasn’t selected in this summer’s draft. He’s currently playing overseas.

41. Keith Edmonson (1978-82)

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    Overshadowed on the 1980 Final Four squad by Joe Barry Carroll, Keith Edmondson came into his own as a junior. The sweet-shooting 6’5” guard piled up 1,717 career points to rank 10th on the Boilermaker's all-time charts.

    Edmondson played respectably off the bench in a brief NBA trial, but never managed to earn regular playing time.

    In a two year career, totaling 87 games with three teams—including the Hawks, who wasted a No. 10 overall pick on him—he averaged six points in 10.7 minutes per contest.

40. Joe Sexson (1953-56)

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    The founder of Purdue’s grand tradition of high-scoring small forwards, Joe Sexson graduated with the school’s career scoring record at 1,095 points. His career average of 16.6 points a night is still tied for the 10th-best for any Boilermaker.

    Although Sexson was drafted by the Knicks, he opted to pursue a career in coaching instead. He spent 11 seasons as the head coach at Butler, not to mention another 17 years coaching baseball at his alma mater.

39. Billy Keller (1966-69)

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    Although he stood just 5’10”, combo guard Billy Keller was as dangerous a scorer as he was a distributor.

    He averaged as many as 16 points per game while sharing a backcourt with super-scorer Rick Mount, serving as the No. 2 offensive option on the Boilermakers’ first-ever Final Four team in 1969.

    Keller went on to a strong career with the ABA’s Pacers, with whom he won three championship rings.

    In seven pro seasons, he averaged as many as 14.3 points and 5.3 assists per game while leading the league in free throw shooting (once) and three-pointers made (three times).

38. Bob Ford (1969-72)

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    At just 6’7”, Bob Ford was a first-class inside presence in a Boilermaker uniform. He stands ninth in school history in both points per game (17) and rebounds per game (8.9).

    Like many Purdue standouts of his era, Ford opted for the ABA as a pro. The high-flying league proved to be over Ford’s head, though, and he appeared in just nine games for the Memphis Tams as the sum total of his pro career.

37. Mel Garland (1961-64)

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    The arrival of superstar Dave Schellhase scuttled Mel Garland’s senior year, or else he’d be even higher on Purdue’s scoring charts. As it is, the 6’1” Garland still posted the eighth-best scoring average in Boilermaker history at 17.5 points per game.

    Undrafted out of Purdue, Garland never played in the NBA. He found more success in coaching, eventually serving as head coach and athletic director for an IUPUI program that he led to its first-ever winning season. 

36. Todd Mitchell (1984-88)

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    Todd Mitchell did plenty of damage on offense from his power forward spot—he scored 15 points a game or better in all three of his seasons as a starter—but his rebounding performance was even more valuable to Gene Keady’s team.

    The 6’7” Mitchell snagged 740 boards in his career to place eighth on the school’s all-time list.

    Mitchell was drafted by the Nuggets in the second round, but got waived before he played a game for Denver. He caught on briefly with the expansion Heat, but lasted just 24 forgettable games in the NBA.

35. Brandon Brantley (1991-96)

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    Brandon Brantley wasn’t the most physical PF with just 203 lbs on his 6’8” frame, but his athleticism made him a fearsome help-side defender. Brantley racked up 114 career blocks, the sixth-best mark in program history.

    With a career high of just 10 points per game, Brantley held minimal appeal for the NBA. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

34. Herm Gilliam (1966-69)

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    A 6’3” swingman with a remarkable nose for rebounds, Herm Gilliam’s career average of 9.1 boards a night is the seventh-highest in school history.

    He wasn’t a half-bad offensive weapon either, possessed of outstanding passing skills and the scoring touch to average as many as 16.4 points per game in a Boilermakers uniform.

    The position of point forward hadn’t really been invented yet, but that’s the best description for the role Gilliam played over eight solid NBA seasons.

    He averaged as many as 14.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists a night, putting in his best performances as a Hawk.

33. Matt Waddell (1991-95)

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    The point guard who had the privilege of setting up the great Glenn Robinson, Matt Waddell’s passing helped Purdue reach the 1994 Elite Eight. He dished out 460 assists for his career, good for sixth place on the school's charts.

    Waddell didn’t do much scoring in his own right, averaging in single digits in three of his four collegiate seasons. Predictably enough, he went undrafted and never played in the NBA.

32. David Teague (2002-07)

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    Not many guards can average five rebounds a year for three seasons, but 6’5” David Teague managed it in his last three years at Purdue.

    His success on the glass is even more remarkable given where he spent most of his time on offense: behind the three-point line, draining the third-most treys (239) in school history.

    Despite his lethal shooting stroke, Teague went undrafted and has never played in the NBA. He’s currently playing overseas.

31. Ricky Hall (1980-84)

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    A 6’1” point guard with unremarkable offensive skills, Ricky Hall endeared himself to Gene Keady with stifling defensive play. Hall’s 172 career steals are the fifth-best all-time total for a Boilermaker.

    As tough a defender as he was, Hall didn’t have enough of anything else to offer NBA teams. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

30. Steve Scheffler (1986-90)

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    Though Steve Scheffler spent two seasons as a little-used reserve, he made up for it as a senior.

    The 6’9” PF averaged 16.8 points and 6.1 boards a game that season, capping a career in which he shattered the Boilermakers’ all-time record by shooting an eye-popping .685 from the field.

    A second-round pick of the Hornets, Scheffler hung around the NBA for bits of seven seasons. He averaged a paltry 5.3 minutes per game, though he didn’t play all that badly when he was on the floor. 

29. John Allison (1998-02)

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    A 6’11” center who was largely invisible on offense, John Allison did most of his damage when the opposing team had the ball. His 165 career blocks are the fourth-best figure for a Boilermaker all-time.

    Allison didn’t have the offensive game to make it in the NBA. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

28. Jerry Sichting (1975-79)

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    If he hadn’t spent two seasons caddying for Bruce Parkinson, Jerry Sichting would likely be in the top five on Purdue’s all-time assist charts.

    As it is, the 6’1” point guard dealt out as many as 5.3 assists per game in a Boilermaker uniform while setting the school record with a career free-throw percentage of .867.

    As a pro, Sichting earned a starting job with the Pacers for a few years before Vern Fleming got to town.

    He hung around the league for 10 seasons in all, averaging as many as 11.5 points and 5.7 assists a night and winning a championship as a Celtics reserve in 1986.

27. Carl Landry (2004-07)

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    Despite losing most of his sophomore season to injury, Carl Landry established himself as an elite power forward at Purdue.

    Landry’s career average of 18.4 points a game is the sixth-best in program history, and he pulled down 7.1 rebounds a night in the bargain.

    Mostly a reserve in the NBA, Landry has proven to be a potent scorer off the bench. He posted 12.5 points to go with 5.2 rebounds a night for the Hornets a season ago, skills he’ll take to Golden State after signing there as a free agent this summer.

26. Jaraan Cornell (1996-00)

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    He didn’t put up the stratospheric point totals of some Purdue shooting guards, but Jaraan Cornell was unstoppable as a three-point sniper. Cornell drained 242 treys in his Boilermakers career, the second-highest total in school history.

    Undersized for a shooting guard at 6’3”, Cornell went undrafted out of school. He never played in the NBA.

25. Porter Roberts (1992-96)

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    A big body for a point guard at 6’3”, 175 lbs, Porter Roberts was a productive rebounder who grabbed as many as 4.6 boards a night in West Lafayette. Roberts was even better as a distributor, dealing out 464 assists to rank fifth in program history.

    Roberts was a dreadful shot who scored 7.9 points per game in his best college season. That trait didn’t exactly endear him to NBA scouts, and he went undrafted and never played in the league.

24. Cuonzo Martin (1991-95)

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    Purdue has high standards for pure shooters, but even in that exalted company, Cuonzo Martin is one of the best the Boilermakers have ever seen.

    The 6’6” SG poured in as many as 18.4 points per game in a Purdue uniform while setting a school record with his .451 shooting from beyond the arc.

    Martin had a cup of coffee in the NBA (seven combined games with the Grizzlies and Bucks), but didn’t have the all-around game to make it at that level.

    He’s found more success in coaching, and is about to start his second season as the head man at Tennessee.

23. John Garrett (1972-75)

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    Although he never found the team success he would've hoped for, John Garrett dominated the Big Ten as thoroughly as you’d expect from a skilled 6’11” center.

    His 738 career rebounds are the ninth-highest total in Boilermaker history, and his career average of 19.8 points per game places him fifth on that list.

    Garrett was drafted by Washington, but couldn’t make a dent in a frontcourt that featured a pair of Hall of Famers in Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes. He never played in the NBA.

22. Henry Ebershoff (1964-67)

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    An impressive scorer for a 6’1” point guard, Henry Ebershoff topped 15 points per game twice in three seasons at Purdue. He was even more successful as a passer, averaging 4.6 assists per game for his career to rank fourth in program history.

    Despite his strong showing as a collegian, Ebershoff went undrafted out of school. He never played in the NBA.

21. Will Franklin (1969-72)

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    Another undersized Boilermaker post player as a 6’8” center, Will Franklin was a respectable scorer (18.8 points a game as a senior) who dominated on the glass. His career average of 9.8 boards a night is the fourth-highest in school history.

    Franklin headed for the ABA after graduation, but didn’t find the same success there that some of his teammates did. He lasted three seasons with the Virginia Squires (pictured) and the Spurs, averaging 7.5 points and four rebounds a game in his best year.

20. Tony Jones (1986-90)

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    Despite spending his first two years on the bench behind Everette Stephens, Tony Jones carved out his own niche as one of Purdue’s greatest passers.

    The 6’3” PG racked up 481 assists in his career, finishing in a dead tie with Stephens for third place on the school’s all-time list.

    Despite Jones' impressive passing skills, he didn’t manage to earn a selection in the NBA draft. He never played in the league.

19. Russell Cross (1980-83)

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    Arriving on the heels of Purdue’s 1980 Final Four run, Russell Cross turned in one of the program’s best-ever freshman seasons with 16.9 points and 6.3 rebounds a game.

    The 6’10” center did his best work as a defender, swatting 175 shots in his three seasons to rank third in school history.

    Cross turned into a disastrous NBA bust after being drafted at No. 6 overall by Golden State.

    He lasted just half a season in the league, failing to contribute much on those occasions when he wasn’t sitting on the bench behind fellow Boilermaker great Joe Barry Carroll.

18. Troy Lewis (1984-88)

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    The scoring specialist of the “Three Amigos” (along with PG Everette Stephens and PF Todd Mitchell), SG Troy Lewis keyed back-to-back Big Ten championships for Purdue in 1987-88.

    The 6’4” Lewis poured in 2,038 points for his career to rank fifth in program history.

    Lewis was none too impressive as a defender, and he became the only Amigo to go undrafted in 1988. He never played in the NBA.

17. Steve Reid (1982-85)

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    Although his most memorable moment at Purdue was being the man at the free throw line when Bobby Knight tried to set the Olympic chair-throwing record (see video), Steve Reid was also an outstanding point guard.

    In addition to his career average of 12.3 points per game, Reid dished out 4.8 assists a night, the third-best mark in school history.

    Reid’s chances at an NBA roster spot were about as good as those of most 5’9” guards. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

16. Walter Jordan (1974-78)

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    A serious scoring threat from the moment he arrived in West Lafayette, Walter Jordan never averaged less than 14 points per game at Purdue.

    The eighth-leading scorer in school history with 1,813 points, the 6’7” PF was even tougher on the glass, where his 882 boards are third-best for a Boilermaker all-time.

    Like so many Nets draft picks of his era, Jordan failed dismally in the NBA.

    He never played for New Jersey—which, to its credit, only spent a fourth-rounder on him—but did catch on for a grand total of 30 unsuccessful games with the Cavaliers two years after his graduation.

15. Everette Stephens (1984-88)

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    At 6’2”, Everette Stephens was an extraordinary defender who ranks seventh in Purdue history in steals (152) and eighth in blocks (94). He was even more deadly as a passer, tying for third place on the school’s charts with 481 career assists.

    A second-round pick of the 76ers, Stephens never got much traction at the pro level. He played 35 games as a Pacer and three more as a Buck, totaling just 215 minutes for his entire NBA career.

14. Brian Cardinal (1996-00)

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    Not every basketball player would embrace a nickname like “Citizen Pain,” but bruising and often-bruised forward Brian Cardinal made the most of it.

    A smothering defender whose 259 steals are the second-most in Purdue history, Cardinal also muscled his way to 749 rebounds to place seventh on that list.

    Cardinal is still clinging to an NBA roster spot at age 34, though he barely came off the Mavericks’ bench last year.

    His defensive toughness has made him a valuable backup through 12 NBA seasons, and he earned a championship ring with the 2011 Mavs. 

13. Brad Miller (1994-98)

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    Even as a reserve over his first two college seasons, Brad Miller was a first-class rebounder and defender.

    The 6’11” center only got better when he earned a starting job, finishing with the fifth-most blocks (163) and fourth-most boards (862, tied with Robbie Hummel) in school history.

    Miller’s pro career may be over after he was waived by Phoenix last month. In his prime, though, he was a terrific NBA center whose tenacious rebounding and deft passing touch helped him earn a pair of All-Star appearances with the Pacers and Kings.

12. Brian Walker (1978-81)

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    Brian Walker was the best all-around point guard Purdue has ever seen. The floor leader for the Boilermakers’ 1980 Final Four squad ranks second in school history in assists (572) and third in steals (187).

    Walker was a sixth-round draft pick of the Kings, but couldn’t crack a deep backcourt led by Otis Birdsong and Phil Ford. He never played in the NBA.

11. JaJuan Johnson (2007-11)

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    An underrated scorer whose 1,919 points place seventh in school history, JaJuan Johnson played such brilliant defense that everything else became secondary.

    Johnson grabbed 854 rebounds (sixth-most for a Boilermaker all-time) and blocked 263 shots (second) while anchoring the middle for a pair of Sweet 16 squads.

    After being drafted late in the first round, Johnson couldn’t find many minutes on a veteran Celtics club last season.

    It’s anybody’s guess whether he’ll have better luck with the Rockets, where he and Purdue teammate E’Twaun Moore were both shipped in a three-team deal this summer.

10. Bruce Parkinson (1972-77)

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    A physical 6’2” point guard who excelled as a rebounder, Bruce Parkinson helped lead Purdue to its second-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 1977.

    With such scoring talents as Joe Barry Carroll and Walter Jordan around him, Parkinson obliterated the Boilermakers’ record with 690 career assists (still over 100 ahead of second place).

    Parkinson—whose son Austin became a fine Boilermaker point guard himself—was drafted by Washington, but couldn’t earn a roster spot with the eventual league champs. He never played in the NBA.

9. Don Beck (1952-55)

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    Although he didn’t do much scoring (12.2 points per game in his best season), Don Beck made his mark as a rebounder. His career average of 10.3 boards a game is the second-best figure all-time for a Boilermaker.

    The 6’5” Beck proved a little too one-dimensional for the NBA’s tastes. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

8. Chris Kramer (2006-10)

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    A lockdown defender with few peers, Chris Kramer took home Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors as both a sophomore and a senior. His 274 career steals, a Purdue record, are the fourth-highest total in conference history.

    Although Kramer went undrafted out of Purdue, he did catch on for a season with the D-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

    He averaged 13.5 points and 1.8 steals a game for Fort Wayne, but didn’t get any calls from the NBA and is currently playing overseas.

7. E’Twaun Moore (2007-11)

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    A deadly long-range shooter, E’Twaun Moore edged out Jaraan Cornell for the Purdue record with 243 three-pointers made in his career.

    That long-range barrage played a major role in Moore’s stellar scoring performance as he poured in 2,136 points to place third on the program’s all-time list.

    Moore didn’t have much luck getting on the floor for Boston last season, though he did better than many late second-round picks just by making the roster.

    He’ll have a new set of backcourt competitors to contend with next season after being traded to Houston (along with Purdue teammate JaJuan Johnson) in a July deal.

6. Robbie Hummel (2007-12)

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    Robbie Hummel’s outstanding jump shot was the most celebrated part of his game, as well it should have been. As a 6’8” PF, he placed fourth in Purdue history in three-pointers made (216) as well as ninth in points (1,772).

    However, Hummel had plenty to contribute in other areas as well, blocking 112 shots (seventh all-time among Boilermakers) and grabbing 862 rebounds (tied for fourth).

    He’ll need all his skills if he hopes to earn meaningful playing time next season as a second-round pick in the crowded Timberwolves frontcourt.

5. Dave Schellhase (1963-66)

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    A jaw-dropping rebounder for a 6’4” small forward, Dave Schellhase grabbed 10 boards per game to rank third in school history.

    Of course, it was easy to overlook his prowess on the glass when he was scoring 28.8 points per game (second-best at Purdue all-time) to finish with 2,074 in all (fourth).

    Schellhase became the inaugural first-round pick of the expansion Bulls, but turned out to be a terrible bust.

    Stuck behind the veterans Chicago had landed in the expansion draft, he averaged just seven minutes a night in a 73-game NBA career split over two seasons.

4. Terry Dischinger (1959-62)

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    Although he was a 6’7” swingman, Terry Dischinger was the best rebounder ever to wear a Purdue uniform.

    He owns the top three single-season rebounding averages in school history, his career average of 13.7 boards a night is a school record by a margin of 3.4, and—oh, yeah—he also averaged 28.3 points a game and finished sixth in program history with 1,979 points in three seasons.

    A second-round pick of the fledgling Chicago Zephyrs (now the Wizards), Dischinger played two All-Star seasons with the franchise before being traded to Detroit for Don Ohl and others.

    Though he notched one more All-Star appearance with the Pistons, he faded quickly from his career highs of 25.5 points and 8.3 rebounds a game.

3. Joe Barry Carroll (1976-80)

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    In Purdue’s basketball history, there are all the other big men ever and then there’s Joe Barry Carroll.

    The 7'0" center led Purdue to the 1980 Final Four to cap a career in which he destroyed the school records for rebounds (1,148) and blocks (349) and finished second on the scoring charts with 2,175 points.

    Although the latter stages of his NBA career earned him a reputation as an outclassed stiff, Carroll started off with six outstanding seasons in Golden State.

    An All-Star in 1987, he averaged as many as 24.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and two blocks a game with the Warriors.

2. Glenn Robinson (1992-94)

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    In the last 40 years, Glenn Robinson is the only Big Ten player to average 30 points a game for a full season.

    The Big Dog earned his nickname in leading Purdue to the 1994 Elite Eight while becoming the only Boilermaker ever to win the Wooden and Naismith Awards.

    Robinson went on to the most successful NBA career of any Purdue product, topping 20 points per game in eight of his 11 pro seasons.

    The two-time All-Star put in his best performances with the Bucks, who drafted him No. 1 overall and got eight outstanding years for their troubles.

1. Rick Mount (1967-70)

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    The leader of Purdue’s first-ever NCAA Tournament team—which made the title game before falling to Lew Alcindor and UCLA—Rick Mount was one of the greatest pure shooters ever to step on a basketball court.

    Even without the benefit of a three-point line, the Rocket put a stranglehold on Purdue’s school records with 2,323 points in three seasons and an average of 32.3 points a night—with the latter figure placing seventh in Division I history.

    The ABA’s top overall draft pick for the Pacers in 1970, Mount played in three ABA Finals with three different clubs and won a title with Indiana in 1972.

    His individual performance, however, never approached what he’d done as a collegian, as he scored only 14.9 points per game in his best full season and failed to make a single All-Star appearance in an injury-shortened five-year career.