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Every 2013 NCAA Final Four Team's Greatest NBA Players

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2013

Every 2013 NCAA Final Four Team's Greatest NBA Players

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    March has come and gone, but the madness that comes with NCAA basketball is still very much alive. But what happens when that dies down?

    For some college players, the NCAA tournament, the Final Four or just the conclusion of their season in general is the absolute end. For others, it's just the beginning.

    After collegiate-level basketball, the NBA and the lavishly exciting lifestyle that goes with it awaits a select few.

    Though the results a player's college team yields doesn't have everything (or sometimes anything) to do with their professional potential, it's intriguing to see what kind of products specific schools have housed in the past.

    Like the only four remaining teams in the NCAA tournament.

    We all know that Syracuse and Michigan have nurtured an assortment of premier talent, but who tops their list of most impressive past prospects? And what about Wichita and Louisville, what noteworthy ballers have they contributed?

    With the college basketball season nearing completion, there's never been a better time for a brief history lesson on the four teams that currently stand alone.

     

    *All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference, Synergy Sports, 82games.com and NBA.com unless otherwise noted.

Wichita: Xavier McDaniel

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    Years Pro: 12

    Career Per-Game Stats: 15.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.5 blocks on 48.5 percent shooting

    I wasn't expecting to find many NBA players who attended Wichita, and I didn't. At present, the program has sent just nine players to the Association.

    But while it was slim pickings, Xavier McDaniels was an absolute standout.

    Not only did the McDaniels carve out a 12-year career, but he was selected to one All-Star game as well. 

    I'm not about to declare McDaniels one of the greatest to play the game, but he had an admirable tenure. He's one of just 43 players in league history to retire with per-game averages of at least 15 points and six rebounds on 48 percent shooting from the floor.

    Anytime you can say "I'm one of only 50 NBA players ever to do this," that's a job well done.

Louisville: Wes Unseld

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    Years Pro: 13

    Career Per-Game Stats: 10.8 points, 14.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.6 blocks on 50.9 percent shooting 

    I'd be lying if I didn't say I was slightly miffed by how unimpressive Lousiville's professional-caliber talent turned out to be. That said, producing an eventual Hall of Famer in Wes Unseld was no joke.

    Unseld spent 13 illustrious seasons in the NBA, never averaging fewer than 10 rebounds per game. He wasn't what you would consider a scorer, but he was an adequate passer and again, a monster on the boards.

    Today, Unseld remains one of only 12 NBA players standing at 6'7" or shorter to have averaged at least 10 points and 10 rebounds per game for his career.

    Not bad, Louisville. You may not have graduated the most dominant of NBA athletes, but there's no shame in knowing Unseld was easily your best prospect.

Syracuse: Dave Bing

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    Years Pro: 12

    Career Per-Game Stats: 20.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.2 blocks on 44.1 percent shooting

    Hall of Famer alert.

    Dave Bing was selected to seven All-Star games during his 12-year NBA career, and he was the perfect combination of scorer and passer.

    Those All-Star selections are especially noteworthy because they came at time when the league was being dominated by Walt Clyde Frazier. To separate yourself as an elite guard wasn't easy, but Bing did.

    If we're honest, Bing's name isn't often associated with the league's greatest of all time, but it definitely should be. He's one of just five NBA players to have walked away from the game averaging 20 points, six assists and one steal per game. 

    That's greater than great. It's great times at least 10.

    That I also can't say his last time without making a high-pitched noise and immediately thinking of a search engine is merely a bonus.

Syracuse: Derrick Coleman

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    Years Pro: 15

    Career Per-Game Stats: 16.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.3 blocks on 44.7 percent shooting

    If you were to compile a list of the most underrated players in NBA history and Derrick Coleman wasn't on it, I'd flip out. 

    All right, probably not, but I would disagree.

    Coleman was an absolute beast during his decade and a half in the league. He could score from anywhere on the floor, was ferocious on the glass and one of my personal favorite shot-blockers to watch.

    The forward was selected to just one All-Star game and saw the playoffs in just seven of his 15 seasons, but was still one of the better two way bigs to play this game. He remains one of just 15 players to have retired with averages of at least 16 points, nine rebounds and one block per game.

    Underrate that.

Syracuse: Carmelo Anthony

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    Years Pro: 10 (still active)

    Career Per-Game Stats: 24.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks on 45.4 percent shooting

    Here's a name you should recognize. If you don't, I'm wondering why you would be reading this, because you're obviously still digging your way out of whatever hole you've lived in.

    Carmelo Anthony is a legend at Syracuse and one of the greatest players in the NBA today. He's easily a top-10 talent and there are even those (I'm not one of them) who would make a case for him being in the top five.

    Melo is in his 10th NBA season and has already been selected to six All-Star games, five of which have come as a starter. He's yet to win a title but has made the playoffs in every year that he's spent in the league, something LeBron James can't even say (though I'm sure Anthony would trade any five of them for LeBron's ring).

    Taking his public perception to another extreme, plenty would argue that Anthony isn't great (I'm not one of those either).

    Melo is one of just three active NBA players averaging at least 24 points, six rebounds, three assists and one steal per game for his career. The other two are LeBron and Kevin Durant. 

    Also worth mentioning is that only four players have retired while sustaining such averages. 

    When you still have the opportunity to put yourself next to Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson and Karl Malone, your career's in great shape.

Michigan: Jamal Crawford

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    Years Pro: 13 (still active)

    Career Per-Game Stats: 15.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.2 blocks on 41.1 percent shooting

    Inefficient serial shooters are cool.

    I'm kidding. They're actually not...unless they're Jamal Crawford.

    Everything I say about Crawford is all in good fun. I thoroughly enjoy watching him play, especially when he's railroading opponents with a hot hand.

    Throughout his NBA career, he has shifted back and forth between a starter and sixth man, before finding his niche off the bench. He's currently having a career year with the Los Angeles Clippers and emerged as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate.

    Crawford has never been selected to an All-Star game, but he's one of only nine active players currently averaging at least 15 points and three assists per game while also converting on 85 percent or better of his free throws for his career.

    If you're not impressed, consider that only eight other players in league history (minimum four seasons) have retired posting such marks.

    Pretty good for an unrelenting volume shooter if you ask me.

Michigan: Rudy Tomjanovich

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    Years Pro: 11

    Career Per-Game Stats: 17.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks on 50.1 percent shooting 

    Back in the day, Rudy had game.

    Rudy Tomjanovich spent 11 seasons in the NBA and was selected to five All-Star games. He was a great rebounder for his size and averaged fewer than 14 points per game just twice in his career.

    Admittedly, Tomjanovich's player exploits often seem to get lost behind his stints as a coach, but he was a fine talent back in the 1970s.

    In fact, Rudy is still one of only 17 players in NBA history to retire averaging at least 17 points and eight rebounds on 50 percent shooting for his career.

    A Hall of Famer like Louisville's Wes Unseld?

    No, but a great player all the same.

Michigan: Glen Rice

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    Years Pro: 15

    Career Per-Game Stats: 18.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.3 steals and 0.0 blocks on 45.6 percent shooting

    I miss Glen Rice.

    Rice shot threes before hoisting up deep balls was cool. He attempted 3.9 treys per game and connected on 40 percent of them for his career. He's currently 14th on the NBA's all-time three-point shooting list in three-pointers made (1559).

    Over the course of his career, Rice was selected to three All-Star games, all of which came in succession during his three-year stint with the Charlotte Hornets.

    You remember the Charlotte team I'm talking about. Back when the Hornets weren't in New Orleans and on the verge of being called the Pelicans. And before Charlotte's NBA team (Bobcats) embodied horrible.

    Anyway, Rice remains the only player in NBA history to retire with an average of at least 18 points and shoot 40 percent or better from behind the arc. Ray Allen is on pace to join him as the second.

    Kudos, Michigan.

Michigan: Jalen Rose

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    Years Pro: 13

    Career Per-Game Stats: 14.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.3 blocks on 44.5 percent shooting.

    Everyone could still use a little more Jalen Rose in their life.

    As we continue to watch him criticize the stat geeks on ESPN, we can't help but remember how intense a player Rose was.

    Not Marshall "I'm Really a Psychotic Thug" Henderson intense. Actually intense.

    He was known to hand out the occasional cheap shot (sup, Kobe), but his two-way prowess helped solidify his status as one of the most underrated players in the game.

    Like Jamal Crawford, he was never selected to an All-Star team, yet that hardly matters. He won the NBA's Most Improved Player award in 2000 and is one of only 15 players in league history to retire with averages of at least 14 points, three rebounds and three assists per game while also shooting better than 35 percent from deep.

    Call me a stat geek and bring me before Rose himself, that's pretty darn impressive.

Michigan: Chris Webber

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    Years Pro: 15

    Career Per-Game Stats: 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks on 47.9 percent shooting

    I miss Chris Webber just as much as I miss Glen Rice. Maybe even more.

    It's not jut because C-Webb reminds me of a time when the Sacramento Kings could be watched without wanting to tear out your eyes and Crazy Glue your forehead to your palm. No, he was just awesome.

    Webber, surprisingly has just five All-Star selections (four appearances) to his credit. But that's not what matters. Leading the Kings to six consecutive playoff berths, that's what matters.

    As it stands, Webber remains one of just four players in NBA history to have at least 17,000 points, 8,000 rebounds, 3,500 assists, 1,200 blocks and 1,000 steals.

    If you find yourself not wanting to repeat all that, you can feel free to say he's put himself in the company of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. They both get the point across.

    In an effort to blow your mind even more, Webber is the only player in NBA history to at least average 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block per game for his career.

    Mind. Blowing.

     

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