Ranking the 10 Greatest College Basketball Stars of the 1990s
College basketball in the 1990s was filled with great teams and great players.
Every season was a battle, and the number of top quality athletes was unbelievable.
Here is a list ranking the 10 greatest college basketball stars of the 1990s.
One of the aspects that is worth noting about this group is how many of the best players hung around for three or even four years.
Here we go!
Player information provided by Sportsreference.com
The length of this Honorable Mention list is almost embarrassing.
But there were simply too many top-level players in the 1990s to not give them at least some consideration and recognition.
I know that will not make any difference if you see one of "your players" here.
But a top 10 list only has 10 available slots.
Elton Brand (Duke)
Raef LaFrentz (Kansas)
Antawn Jamison (North Carolina)
Vince Carter (North Carolina)
Richard Hamilton (UConn)
Ray Allen (UConn)
Keith Van Horn (Utah)
Ron Mercer (Kentucky)
Tony Delk (Kentucky)
Ed O’Bannon (UCLA)
Allen Iverson (Georgetown)
Corliss Williamson (Arkansas)
Alonzo Mourning (Georgetown)
Grant Hill (Duke)
Don MacLean (UCLA)
Jim Jackson (Ohio State)
Anfernee Hardaway (Memphis)
Chris Webber (Michigan)
Jalen Rose (Michigan)
Jacque Vaughn (Kansas)
Paul Pierce (Kansas)
10. Kenyon Martin (Cincinnati)
Very few college basketball players from the '90s were as ferocious as Cincinnati’s Kenyon Martin.
He was brutal on the boards and a savage shot blocker.
Opponents changed their plans when they saw Martin patrolling the paint.
He was nearly unstoppable his senior season, averaging 18.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots per game.
Martin was not only a Consensus All-American as a senior, but he also made a clean sweep of all of the National Player of the Year awards.
9. Glenn Robinson (Purdue)
Purdue’s Glenn Robinson was one of the most prolific scorers of the 1990s.
In two seasons in West Lafayette, The Big Dog put up over 1,700 points.
During his sophomore year, he averaged 24.1 PPG and received First Team All-Big Ten and Second Team All-American honors.
In his junior season, he was the nation’s leading scorer, averaging 30.3 PPG, while grabbing 11.3 rebounds per game. His 1,030 points set the Big Ten record for most points in a season.
For his superior performance, Robinson was selected as the Conference Player of the Year, a First Team All-American and the Wooden and Naismith awards winner.
8. Calbert Cheaney (Indiana)
Calbert Cheaney had four fantastic years at Indiana.
The 6’7” wing exploded onto the Hoosiers’ hoops scene, averaging 17.1 PPG as a freshman, and he never looked back.
Cheaney shot 55.9 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.
He scored a total of 2,613 points, and walked away as IU’s and the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer.
Cheaney was both All-Big Ten and All-American in his sophomore, junior and senior years.
He concluded his collegiate career by making a clean sweep of the 1993 National Player of the Year awards.
7. Mateen Cleaves (Michigan State)
Michigan State’s Mateen Cleaves was one of the most gritty and determined college basketball players in the 1990s.
He willed the Spartans to four years of Big Ten excellence, helping them win at least a share of three conference championships
Cleaves was a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year (1998 and 1999).
Cleaves was a three-time Consensus All-American (First Team: 1999; Second Team: 1998, 2000).
As a senior, Cleaves fought through a foot injury in the 2000 National Championship Game to help MSU win the school’s second NCAA men’s basketball championship.
6. Bobby Hurley (Duke)
If you are making a list of best pass-first point guards of all time, Duke’s Bobby Hurley has to be near the top.
He ran the show for the Blue Devils as they won back-to-back national championships in 1991 and 1992.
Hurley was the 1992 Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
As a senior, he was named a First Team All-American.
He finished his four years in Durham as the NCAA all-time assists leader with 1,076 dimes.
But Hurley's awards did not stop there.
In 2002, he was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary Team, naming him as one of the 50 best players in conference history.
5. Shaquille O'Neal (LSU)
LSU’s Shaquille O'Neal was a fantastic center with mind-blowing athleticism.
There was very little that Shaq could not do in the Tigers’ low post.
O’Neal averaged a double-double in each of his three seasons in Baton Rouge, with his best season being his sophomore year when he averaged 27.6 points and 14.7 rebounds per game.
It is no surprise that he blocked 412 shots in just three seasons. He averaged 5.0 BPG as a sophomore and 5.2 as a junior.
He was a two-time All-American (1991 and 1992) and he won the 1991 AP Player of the Year, the Rupp Trophy and UPI Player of the Year awards.
4. Christian Laettner (Duke)
Like him or not, Christian Laettner has an extraordinary collegiate hoops resume.
His training website bio states that he is the only player in NCAA history to start in four consecutive Final Fours.
He was a huge reason that Duke won back-to-back national titles in 1991 and 1992.
Laettner was named the ACC Athlete of the Year in both his junior (1991) and senior (1992) years. Only Phil Ford, Danny Ferry and Charlie Ward have likewise won the award two times.
He was selected as an All-American for his final two seasons in Durham, and he won nearly every 1992 National Player of the Year award.
"The Shot" did not make Laettner’s career. It just provided an exclamation point for his amazing years as a Blue Devil.
3. Stacey Augmon (UNLV)
UNLV’s Stacey Augmon was one of the top collegiate defenders of all time.
At 6’6”, he was one of the few players that could legitimately guard every position from point guards to power forwards.
Augmon’s defensive brilliance set the tone for the Runnin’ Rebels dominance in the late '80s and early '90s.
Without Plastic Man’s work on the defensive end, I’m not sure that Nevada-Las Vegas would have won the 1990 NCAA national championship.
Augmon was the first three-time NABC Defensive Player of the Year (followed later by Tim Duncan and Shane Battier).
2. Tim Duncan (Wake Forest)
Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan was one of the most versatile players in the 1990s and beyond.
In his four years in Winston-Salem, Duncan averaged a double-double, scoring 16.5 points and grabbing 12.3 rebounds per game.
He blocked a total of 481 shots (No. 4 in NCAA history).
Duncan was selected as the ACC Player of the Year as a junior (1996) and a senior (1997).
During those same two seasons, he was a two-time Consensus First Team All-American.
Duncan was a three time NABC Defensive Player of the Year.
He finished off his collegiate career by winning just about every National Player of the Year award.
1. Larry Johnson (UNLV)
Very few college players have played with the same level of force and intensity as Nevada-Las Vegas’ Larry Johnson. His game had all of the subtlety of a jackhammer.
Before lacing ‘em up in Sin City, Johnson was a two-time National Junior College Player of the Year.
After becoming a Runnin’ Rebel, Johnson unleashed his roundball rage on the NCAA for two more years.
As a junior, he did not waste any time leading UNLV to its first NCAA championship in a 30 point thrashing of Duke. One year later, the Blue Devils got their revenge, beating Johnson and the Rebels in the 1991 Final Four.
For his two years in Vegas, Johnson averaged 21.6 PPG and 11.2 RPG and shot 64.3 percent from the floor.
In terms of individual awards, he was a consensus All-American in both his junior and senior seasons.
During his final collegiate term, Johnson won most of the National Player of the Year awards.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!