This Louisville team has always hoisted the spotlight. They are always looked on to produce winning season, get the top recruits, and most notably be a contender in the NCAA tournament.
So far they’ve been somewhat consistent with what they’ve achieved and has earned the right to be called a storied program.
The state of Kentucky has been known for steady excitement as Louisville seems to always rack up winning seasons.
Before most of us were born, or to make it seem like it was a really long time ago, World War II was still in session. Louisville acquired Coach Bernard “Peck” Hickman.
Coach Hickman started the rich tradition by reeling off 46 consecutive winning seasons. Then followed John Dromo—he was the assistant coach under Hickman for almost 19 years and when he finally got a crack out of being Louisville’s head coached he racked up a 68-23 record in his four-year coaching period. Then on to Denny Crum who brought two national championships, and famous Rick Pitino.
This Louisville Basketball program has been to 23 Sweet 16’s, 11 Elite Eights, Eight Final Fours, and won two National Championships.
It was not the coaches that won all this, it were the players as well. The
Louisville players have raised this program to become the 18th winniest team in all College Basketball. Not to mention, has the 10th best winning percentage in college basketball history, to go along with their 18 All-American players.
So coming up with a list of the top 50 should not be hard right? I beg to differ; here are the top 50 players in Louisville basketball history.
Some may know him as Darrell Griffith, but to Louisville fans, he will forever be remembered as “Dr. Dunkenstein.”
There is only one reason for a name like that. Griffith was a 6’4’’ guard with tremendous leaping ability. In fact, his vertical leap was an outstanding 48 inches.
Being heavily recruited, he chose his hometown team Louisville and early on did not necessarily disappoint, but also did not live up to his high expectations.
Early on in his Louisville career he puts up stellar numbers but Cardinal fans wanted more. More than numbers and wins, they wanted a National Championship.
So his senior year he transformed into an all-around player.
He still had freak-ish hops, but added a better jump shot, defended better, and got friendlier on offense. Putting all that together you have arguably the best player in Louisville history.
Griffith in his senior year led Louisville to a 33-3 record, and their first ever National Championship. To go along with that, Griffith ended his career as the leading scorer in Cardinals history with 2,333 points. Not to mention, his 825 points in his senior season is still the best scoring season of any player in Louisville history.
Griffith ended his four-year career at Louisville with a National Championship, a two-time All-American, the all-time steal leader, and 1980 Wooden Award winner.
Before being allowed to play on the varsity team, Unseld was on the freshman team. One season there he averaged 35.8 points, and 23.6 rebounds while shooting just under 70 percent (68.6).
Leaving Louisville fans excited about what he could bring to the team.
If you based college basketball on three seasons, Wes Unseld would no doubt be the best player in Louisville history.
In his three seasons at Louisville he ranks No. 7 on the all-time scoring list, and his 1,551 rebounds is second all-time behind Charlie Tyra. Did I mention he only played three years of college basketball?
Although he is not No. 1 in any of those categories, his 20.6 scoring average, and 18.9 rebounding average ranks No. 1 for any Louisville player.
Unseld had an amazing career as a Cardinal, all three years he was nabbed as an All-American.
Not to mention his 45-point effort is still the best single game performance from any Louisville player.
In all three years he played the Cardinals hoisted a (60-22) record and despite not winning a National Championship he will always be a special Louisville player.
After Louisville he had a successful NBA career and has been named one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Unseld was later elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.
Ahh…we have the most celebrated player in Louisville history—“Never Nervous Pervis.”
In just his freshman year as a Cardinal, Ellison led Louisville all the way to the National Championship after his heroic efforts against Duke. Soon after, he was named the MVP after bringing the title to Louisville for the second time in franchise history.
He may not be known as the best player in Louisville history, but he can be labeled as the best freshman to ever play at Louisville.
In fact, there have been three freshmen to achieve so much– Carmelo Anthony, Arnie Ferrin, and Pervis Ellison.
All four-years he started for Denny Crum, and despite not making another National Championship he continued to improve his game and turned into an all-around player.
During his senior campaign he averaged 17.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assist.
After that impressive season, Ellison had high aspirations for the NBA. He was the highest draft pick ever to come out of Louisville. Ellison was selected No. 1 overall in the 1989 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings.
He finished his years at Louisville with 2,143 points, 1,149 rebounds, and 374 blocks. His 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds is still the most impressive stat because he is the only player in Louisville history to do so.
When you talk about Louisville greats’ Charlie Tyra name deserves to be in the discussion.
After a slow start as a freshman, his numbers started to pick up tremendously in his last three years.
The most impressive year would no doubt be his junior year in college. Not only did he lead the Cardinals to their first ever NIT tournament championship, he also averaged 23.8 points, and 22.2 rebounds per game.
Think this—Unseld scored 645 points in 28 games in his best season as a Cardinal. Tyra pulled down 645 rebounds in 29 games in his best season.
Tyra was the model player for Louisville—he was the first All-American the Cardinals ever had. Tyra is the leading rebounder (1,617), his 23.8 scoring average ranks first all-time, Tyra and a select few were the only players to crack 40 points in a game, while he holds the record for rebounds in a game with 38 and his 1,617 rebounds ranks 11th all-time in the NCAA.
Tyra was just too much for players back then and he will forever be remembered for his leadership and perseverance through his career at Louisville.
Tyra is just one of four players to get their number retired and it’s well deserved.
DeJuan Wheat did almost everything you asked for in a point guard.
Wheat could score the basketball efficiently. Whether it was from inside or outside the arc, there was only one mission and that was to score.
He was most comfortable spotting up for the three point jumper and that is usually where he killed the defense. This helped him become the all-time leader in three point field goals with 323.
The three balls were deadly but he was also aggressive and finished pretty well around the rim. He finished his Louisville career second on the all-time scoring list with 2,183 points.
To go along with his dominant offense was his basketball I.Q. More often than not you will witness a point guard trying to be too dominant in the offense. Not with Wheat, he knew he could score the basketball at will but never forced the action.
He took on the role as the complete floor general and it paid off in the end. Wheat ended his career as fourth on the all-time assist list with 498.
He finished his NCAA career as the only player to surpass these career totals: 2,000 points, 450 assists, 300 three-point field goals and 200 steals.
LaBradford Smith came into Louisville as one of the more celebrated players out of high school. In his senior year of high school, he won the Gatorade Player of the Year award, not to mention he was also nabbed as an All-American.
Smith was a great player from the start to finish. One of those players you’re grateful for having around all four years of college. Smith was very athletic, explosive, and can be put in the argument for most prolific scorer in Louisville history.
But not only did he score he did everything else as well. He ended his career dishing out 5.4 assist, and grabbing three rebounds per game.
After ending his career at Louisville he scored 1,803 points, career leader in assist—dished out the most assist in a season (226)—with 713 assist, and his 227 steals is second all-time.
You know how on most all-time list the defensive players usually get no love, and the offense players always steal the spotlight?
Well not on this list, Rodney McCray may not have been the best player but without him Louisville may not have won that National Championship in 1980.
McCray meant a lot to Louisville. He did everything right and made sure the defense flowed effectively. Every team could use those guys like McCray that can snatch down a lot of boards and defend the ball very well on the low block.
McCray is just one of four players that surpassed both 1,000 points and rebounds.
McCray was just the all-around team player that made sure everything went the way it was suppose to. He was the team captain on both the 82’, and 83’, Final Four teams and helped the Cardinals to a 109-26 record in his four year career.
Milton Wagner or simply Milt will forever be remembered for his heroics in the 1986 title run.
After a nasty injury in just his second game of the (1984-85) season, he was forced to take the medical redshirt and that seemed to be the good decision in the long run.
In his senior campaign Wagner averaged 14.8 points, along with 3.1 rebounds a game.
What makes him one of the greatest to ever put on a Louisville uniform? His offensive game was so crisp. Every time he had the ball in his hand you could expect him to find the hoop or help another teammate out. He was simply the definition of a prolific scorer.
His mentality and scoring ability was needed and it paid its dividends in the Championship game.
He ended his Louisville career fourth on the all-time scoring list, seventh in career assist, and seventh in career free-throw percentage. His numbers look something like this: 1,834 points, 432 assist, and 80 percent from the free-throw line (336-of-413).
You may know Derek Smith for his dunk over Jordan, or the talk about his son Nolan Smith keeping his fathers dream alive, or maybe the fact that he basically coined the term “high-five,” but to Louisville fans we will forever remember him for his efforts to help Louisville get passed UCLA in the National Championship game.
Derek Smith in his career at Louisville ranks fifth all-time on the all-time scoring list, not to mention he averaged 14.8 points in the year the Cardinals won the National Championship.
Smith was named Metro Conference Player of the Year in 81’, and was a three-time Metro Conference Performer (1980-82).
Derek Smith was the favorite of any Louisville fan and his career statistics
only benefited his popularity as he became a fan favorite.
So once the tragic incident that claimed the life of Smith, the Louisville nation could do nothing but look in disbelief and somber over there fallen star.
Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman was a 6’5’’ small forward out of East Chicago, Indiana.
Bridgeman was named Missouri Valley Conference player of the year, twice in both 74 and 75. He was also nabbed as a All-American in 75’ as well as guiding Louisville to the Final Four.
During the same season he averaged 16.4 points, to go along with his 7.4 rebounds per outing.
Bridgeman ended his three-year career at Louisville with 1,348 points, and 657 rebounds. In his three-years he helped the Cardinals to a 72-17 record, which included two Missouri Valley conference championships.
Reece Gaines was a 6’4’’ point guard for Louisville.
Gaines could handle the rock really well. Displayed some key footwork, was not the greatest but was always better than the opposition. Not to mention, he was possessed with the skill to shoot the basketball really well, although he was not that consistent.
Any player that can be a finalist for Player of the Year in college basketball has to be a special player, and that is exactly what Reece Gaines was.
In his Louisville career he was a double-figure scorer in 99 games. His 159 assist in his junior campaign was the fifth highest single season total at Louisville. Not to mention, that same year he scored 673 points which is the third most of any Cardinal Player all-time. In fact that year he averaged 21 points a game, which is the tenth time a Louisville player has done so.
Gaines started all four years and finished with 1,945 career points. He also finished his career in the top five in three-point goals (225), free throws made (456), and assists (475).
In each of Clifford Rozier years he continued to get better. He started off in a white and blue Tarheel uniform and played the worst year of his college career there.
He averaged 4.9 points to go along with three rebounds per game. If he was consistent with those kinds of numbers I do not think you would be seeing him on this list.
But just like any dedicated college player he continued to get better and better. After transferring to Louisville, Roziers number had seen an immediate impact. He averaged around 15 points and ten rebounds per game.
As he continued to get better, his numbers continued to rise. In just his second season playing for Louisville he averaged around 18 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks per game.
In that same season he was named a first team All-American. Not to mention, he was named Metro Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year two times in a row—(1993, and 1994).
Back in his time the rules stated that a freshman could not qualify for the varsity squad. Therefore it placed Alfred Beard on the freshman team and a much awaited debut.
Stepping foot on the biggest stage, Beard did not disappoint. In his career debut he scored 27 points—this still stands as the most points in any Louisville’s player’s debut.
In that same season he also set the single-game scoring record for a sophomore with 41 points against Bradley.
Offense was just a part of his game. Playing alongside Wes Unseld, rebounds were virtually impossible unless your name was Alfred Beard—he averaged just around six a game.
Very productive career for Beard, he was nabbed as a All-American in 1969’ and a two-time All-Missouri Conference selection.
Jim Price was a 6’4’’ point guard from Indianapolis, Indiana.
Although he only played three years in college, he made them all worth our while. Price was a two-time Missouri Valley conference selection and led Louisville to a 64-23 record.
Price was a very good scorer, but his jump shot had perfect touch. He was a good shooter from the field as well as from the line.
In his final season at Louisville he guided the Cardinals all the way to the Final Four with his mentality. In return, he was recognized as a All-Tournament player.
That season, Smith averaged 21 points per game. That is so astounding due to the fact the only other player to crack 20 per outing under Denny Crum was Darrell Griffith.
In his career he scored 1,490 points in three seasons at Louisville and his 652 points his senior season ranks among the best for single season scoring of all-time.
Crook was always the fan favorite because of the skills he brought to the game.
Herbert Crook was the starting forward for Louisville when they cut down the nets in 86’. He was also nabbed as the Metro Conference player of the year in 87’. He also got Louisville into the Sweet Sixteen.
He ended his career on a high note despite not winning the National Championship as the designated scorer. He ended with 1,723 points, which is around the range to be in the argument of best prolific scorer of all time.
Not only did he score the basketball, he could rebound the ball really well. He snatched down 6.2 rebounds in his career and 877 in his career.
You know how you can tell a guy is tough? Look at how many times he goes to the free-throw line. Crook was a tough guy and you know this because the more aggressive he was the more foul shots he would have. He ended his career in the top half for career free-throws made.
Billy Thompson was a 6’7’’ small forward that was also a part of the 1986 championship team.
In his freshman debut he managed to score 15 points against the Gators and that record still stands as one of the best freshman debuts in school history.
He was the leading scorer of the 1986’ team and statically a down season for him, but his game was even better.
He started working as more of a team player and allowed others to make plays as well as making plays himself. He was definitely one reason why Louisville cut down the nets.
Thompson ended his career with 1,685 points, 459 assist to go along with his 930 rebounds. His career scoring average of 11.6 points per game still ranks amongst the best in school history.
He will be forever known for his play at Louisville as well as being in a select group of individuals to win a NCAA championship then going on to win a NBA championship.
Lancaster Gordon could play either the point or shooting guard position and I did not really matter which one he played, he still outworked you. For example, against Tulane he managed to grasp seven steals, which happens to in the record books for most steals in a game behind Alvin Sims and Tick Rodgers.
Gordon was a great scorer in Louisville history and in his freshman season had to meet some expectations left from the championship team before him.
In his senior season he was nabbed as a second team All-American player, after a 24-11 overall record, and a Sweet Sixteen appearance.
He did not bring a national championship to Louisville but got close twice—in back to back seasons. In his whole NCAA career Gordon did not miss the dance and contributed to the success during his years as a Cardinal.
He ended his Louisville career 1,614 points, 365 assist, 192 steals and No.9 in career minutes played with 3,827. He has the right to call himself a career scoring leader—12.0 points per game in career.
Terrance Williams was a special player to Louisville.
Williams was an all-around player. He played all four years for Louisville and impressed the Cardinal fans every single minute on the court.
There are not many players in Louisville history that have grasped the right to say they’ve acquired a triple-double. Not only did he do it once, but twice in one season.
His versatility made him the great player he is today. He executes well on offense, and his large body allowed him to finish around the rim.
His defense was another aspect of his game. He had an all-around defense equipped with lateral quickness. Had the ability to block shots, get into the passing lanes and was a high energy guy.
He finished his Louisville career with two straight back to back trips to Elite Eight. On the way he acquired 1,565 points, 970 rebounds, 545 assist.
John Turner is the typical Louisville great. He lead the University to its first ever Final Four appearance and regional semifinals. Along with that, Turner was nabbed as All-American.
Although he only played three years at Louisville he name will forever float around the campus. In those three years he accumulated 1,451 points, and 919 rebounds. He was the leading scorer all three years he played and his 669 points in his senior still ranks atop of the all-time list for single season scoring.
Turner ended his career as the Mideast Regional MVP and will never be forgotten.
Wesley Cox was a special player that stayed around the program all four years.
Cox came in known for his great basketball skills after being notified as Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball.
Cox came in immediately and made an impact. He started off scoring 14.1 points, and grabbing 8.1 rebounds his freshman year. After a slight drop in his sophomore year—statistically—his numbers raised right back up his junior and senior year.
He ended his career scoring 1,578 points, 275 assist along with 832 rebounds
Bud Olsen is a member of the University of Louisville Hall of Fame, and it was no fluke that he made it there.
Olsen was a part of that 61’ team that made their first ever Final Four before stumbling to Ohio State.
Olsen stayed at Louisville for three years and accumulated some stellar numbers on his way. During his senior campaign he averaged 21 points per game—which is the seventh highest in school history.
He scored 1,192 points, along with 761 rebounds—that’s an average of 9.5 rebounds for his career. That makes his totals tenth best, and in the conversation with the best rebounding players in Louisville history.
Francisco Garcia was a mix-match ready to happen. Garcia is 6’7’’ but still played the shooting guard position and excelled.
Garcia wasn’t greatly athletic but did have enough upside to have the favorable matchup.
He had the ball-handling skills, the shot, and the smarts.
Sometimes you would see Garcia bringing the ball up the court and attacking the defense for the quick score. Or on many occasions, you would catch Garcia spotting up for the jumper. He had so much confidence in his jump shot that he didn’t care if he was contested, he would shoot right over your hand.
Garcia was more offense than defense though. He’s one of those players where he would rather play a zone defense versus man-to-man because he was a risk taker. Sometimes, he would go for try to make a play on the ball and put his teammates into an unfavorable decision.
Despite his average defense Garcia had a good three year stay at Louisville.
He ended his career with 1,435 points which is amongst the all-time scorers in three years.
Throughout his Louisville career, Felton Spencer played behind the All-American Pervis Ellision. Despite playing from the bench, Spencer made huge contributions to Louisville history.
When he finally got the chance to gain the starting position in his senior season, Spencer was great.
He averaged around 15 points and eight rebounds per game. If you combined both his freshman and sophomore seasons neither stat would add up to his senior statistics.
Spencer along with a bunch of other Louisville player cracked 1,000 points in his career and will be forever remembered for doing so.
He ended his career with 1,168 points, and 694 rebounds.
Marques Maybin was a 6’3’’ shooting guard from Clarksville, Tennessee.
Maybin wasn’t a great defender, didn’t have a feel for getting on the glass, but there was one thing he did very well and that was scoring the basketball.
Maybin was one of those guys you needed on the floor. The more minutes he played the more he produced.
Over his career his minutes started to pick up and every statistical category followed suit. In his final year at Louisville he posted career numbers. He averaged 17.7 points, and three rebounds per game.
Edgar Sosa’s Louisville career didn’t end like he wanted it to be yet still had great history with the program.
Sosa started off his career at Louisville with an immediate impact. He had magnificent tournaments and had some we wanted to forget. Sosa’s biggest problem was his consistency. One day you would see a aggressive Sosa, and another day you’d be questioning his playing ability.
Although he had a horrible ending to his good four year career, his name will never be forgotten.
Sosa ended his career with 1.363 points, 393 assist, and 200 three point field goals.
Everick Sullivan was one of the most exciting players to watch. His mind boggling dunks will always be remembered. I still remember watching a video of his reverse dunk against Florida State.
He could also shoot which he incorporated well when he couldn’t get to the rim. Sullivan was too much to handle for any team. They had to respect both his shot and drive and once you gave him one he took advantage.
It took him two years to reach full potential and once he did, Louisville had another contributor to their success.
Sullivan ended his career on a sour note but was productive. He ended with 1,583 points and will forever be remembered for his explosive dunking.
Allen Murphy was a 6’4’’ shooting guard for Louisville.
To begin his career Louisville knew they had a great scorer and a consistent player. Murphy throughout his career at Louisville continually got better. He consistently scored at the least 16 points per game in his career at Louisville.
Murphy was also very defensive. He could get down and defend the opposition’s best player. Murphy at the shooting guard position acquired 30 blocks in sophomore season at Louisville.
Not to mention, he was very tenacious on the boards. Throughout his career he acquired 454 rebounds to go along with his 1,453 points.
Murphy showed great importance to Louisville. In his senior season he was a part of that 1975 Final Four team. Was also nabbed as an All-American that same year.
In Rick Wilson’s freshman year at Louisville he had to play behind All-American Allen Murphy. He definitely benefited by that and gave Louisville his all for the rest of his career.
After his first chance at impressing the Louisville nation he averaged 14.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.5 assist per game.
After that performance the expectations were high for Wilson. He stayed consistent throughout his career and once his senior season came around he took off. Wilson averaged 17.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assist—an all-around effort that nabbed him as an All-American.
He ended his career at Louisville with 1,428 points, 534 rebounds, and 419 assist.
Jeff Hall was a 6’5’’ shooting guard that started on the 1986’ National Championship team.
Hall was the kind of player that accepted his role in the offense. He knew that not too many scoring opportunities would come playing alongside so many great players.
With that in mind his assist, field goal, and free-throw percentages all went up. Along with that he stayed consistent with his scoring, providing spark when needed.
He played 39 games that season—which is tied for most all-time—and 145 over his career, which happens to be the most all-time.
Jeff Hall ended his Louisville career with 1,294 points and one of the best free-throw shooters in Cardinals history. He shot 81 percent over his career.
In fact his 88 percent free-throw percentage during the championship season still ranks among the best in free-throw percentages—in a season—of all-time.
Don Goldstein was one of many players that helped Louisville to its first ever Final Four appearance in 1959. However, Goldstein was one player that made huge contributions.
During the NCAA Tournament that year he averaged 21.4 points and ten rebounds per game. With his leadership he was placed on the NCAA All-Tournament team that year, while earning All-American honors as well.
Not to mention, he pulled on one of the biggest upset of the tournament after defeating No.2 Kentucky 76-61.
Goldstein ended his career with 1,019 points and grabbed 838 rebounds, while leading them to a combined 53-29 record.
Taquan Dean the 6’3’’ shooting guard out of Red Bank, New Jersey. He was the answer to every prayer Louisville had.
Dean was the most prolific three-point shooter in Louisville history. In just his junior year of college he was already 69 three point field goals away from the most all-time.
In the same season Dean went off to hit 122 three point field goals, which ranks No. 1 all-time for three point field goals in a season. As well as being honored on the five-man NABC All-District 7 first team as a junior and was a third-team All-Conference USA selection.
In his senior campaign he was even better. Dean went on to hit 100 + three point field goals and claimed the record for most three pointers all-time—(361).
In his four year career he guided to a NCAA Final Four and a NIT Final Four. Dean also acquired a 99-35 record, to go along with his 1,657 points, 536 rebounds, and 304 assist.
Phillip Bond was the type of point guard you needed. He didn’t necessarily have to score the basketball for the opposition to feel his impact.
Bond was the perfect team player. His high basketball I.Q. allowed him to become the ultimate floor general.
Bond was always looking to set his teammates up. Most of the time when players receive the ball there in automatic attack mode—well with Bond it was way different. He was looking to get the ball in the tight spots and his vision allowed him to see the whole floor and make the right passes.
He perfected the point guard position at Louisville and grabbed some records on the way. He has the most assist in one NCAA tournament with 36, holds the record for most assist in a game with 14, and ended his career with 528 assist which ranks No. 2 all time.
Jack Coleman was 6’7’’ center for Louisville through (1946-49).
In his last season at Louisville he led the Cardinals to their first ever National title—1948 NAIB Championship.
He led the team in both scoring and rebounding in his three year stay at Louisville. his rebounding statistics are unknown but he finished scoring 1,114 points.
Nate Johnson begins his Louisville on the right track.
After averaging just around ten points and five rebounds a game in his freshman season, he was presented as Conference USA Freshman of the Year. Not to mention, Johnson was also on the All-Freshman team.
He was also a part of that years Elite Eight squad but failed to get there for the rest of his career.
Once his senior season came around he was his statistical averages all rose above expectations. He averaged 13.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assist per game. He was also named to the Conference USA All-Third Team.
He ended his Louisville career with 1,513 points and 655 rebounds.
Kenny Payne was a part of the 1986 National Championship team. His role was coming off the bench, something like a learning season. Payne was trying to learn something from the better players on the court.
After two learning season, Payne was on his own and ready to show Louisville he could play some basketball.
In his last two seasons combined he scored 854 points, that’s more than both of his previous seasons combined. His rebounding increased as well—he was almost up to six game—compare that to his 1.7 average his freshman year.
Kenny Payne ended his career with 1,083 points and 476 rebounds. Payne is also among the leaders in career three point percentage—shot 40 percent over his career. Not to mention, in the 88-89 season Payne’s 42 percent three point shooting ranks among the best of all-time.
Chuck Noble was a 6’4’’ guard/forward that contributed to the first ever NCAA Tournament trip. In three seasons at Louisville, Noble totaled 1,281 points and his career scoring average of 15.1 points per game ranks among the greatest of all-time.
He will forever be known for his accurate 40 foot one hand set shot, as well as being the player to lead the Cardinals to their first tournament berth.
Chuck Noble has his share of Louisville history. His 36 points against Kentucky Wesleyan is No. 8 all-time in single game scoring and his 1,428 field goal attempts is No. 6 all-time.
Okay let’s go into the time machine and rewind all the way back to 1980 where Louisville and UCLA was squaring off for the National Championship.
Let’s say Jerry Eaves wasn’t present in the game, who would have made that magnificent stop on Kiki Vandeweghe?
Jerry Eaves will forever be known for securing their first ever National Championship with his defensive tactics.
A year later he was named to the All-Metro Conference team and finished off his career on a successful note. Jerry Eaves ended his career at Louisville with 1,250 points and 287 assist.
Charles Jones a 6’8’’ standout forward that arrived in Louisville after the National Championship. Nobody look on him to produce as much as the previous players but he was still look on to produce a workload.
Jones was specifically known for the amount of dunks he put down over his career. Jones put down 89 dunks in his career which ranks inside the top ten of all-time. Jones was also proficient with his offense and you could tell by his career field-goal percentages—he shot 55 percent over his career at Louisville.
You’ll also see Charles Jones names in the record book for recording ten blocks and seven blocks in one game. Not to mention his 208 blocks in his career ranks No. 2 all-time.
Jones did it all and in his year Louisville career he re-wrote the record books. He ended his career with 1,124 points, 813 rebounds, 208 blocks, and 160 steals.
Greg Minor went down in Louisville history as one of the better defensive guards. Minor was only his last name because nothing was Minor about his game.
In just his three year career he managed to get his share of the record book and keeping Louisville alumni and friends happy. In his debut against Howard he managed to score 16 points which is third best all-time for any players Louisville debut.
He was also a great spot up shooter. He comfort zone was behind the arc and he shot the ball well. In his career he attempted 259 three point shots and made 36 percent of them, which is currently ranked ninth all-time.
Minor ended his career 1,199 points, 533 rebounds, and 228 assist.
Bob Lochmueller was a 3-year starter for Louisville and led them to both the NCAA Tournament as well as the NIT.
Lochmueller was the model scorer. Was the first option on offense and never failed to disappoint. During his second year at Louisville he scored 19.0 points a game which still ranks among the best single season scoring averages of all-time. Not to mention, over the year he continued his dominant scoring and ended his career scoring an average of 15.0 points per game—that’s sixteenth all-time.
Bob Lochmueller ended his career at Louisville with 1,218 and was later named to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dwayne Morton was a 6’7’’ forward that played exceptionally well for Louisville in his three year stay.
Morton was the player you got the ball to when you needed a basket, kind of like a “go to player.” Over his career at Louisville he managed to score 15.0 points per game, which ranks amongst the top scorers in Louisville history.
Morton was deadly behind the arc. Morton attempted 241 three pointers in his career and nailed 111—ranks No. 9 all-time—of them. His 46 percent three point shooting still ranks No. 1 all-time in Louisville history.
Morton finished his career with 1,428 points, 398 rebounds, and 11 three point field goals.
Ron Thomas was a 6’6’’ forward for Denny Crum.
His role on the team was simple, be the ultimate paint protector—and that he did. Thomas holds a share of history after snatching down 22 rebounds against North Texas which is among the most for any conference game. He has been the closest in the last thirty years to breaking Charlie Tyra’s rebounding record 1971-72 season—13.5 average, 420 rebounds.
Ron Thomas only played two seasons at Louisville but in both seasons he was the leading scorer for the Cardinals.
Roger Burkman was also another key component to the Cardinals championship run.
During that season Burkman was a very defensive guard and his 67 steals still rank No. 6 all-time for most in a season. Not to mention over his career he has 170 steals which ranks No. 8 all-time.
After his career at Louisville he was inducted into the Indiana Hall of Fame.
Larry O’Bannon was a 6’4’’ small forward that had one heck of an ending to his career.
After a horrid first two seasons, O’Bannon made huge contributions over his last two. Think this—in his first two seasons combined he scored 252 points. While in his junior year he scored 310 and that wasn’t exactly his greatest year.
In his senior season he was able to contribute so much of his improvements to the Louisville attack and it guided the Cardinals all the way to the Final Four.
He ended his career with 1,138 points, 307 rebounds and 194 assist.
Keith Williams was just another successful point guard in Louisville history. He started 110 games in his career, which ranks No. 9 all-time.
Williams came in after the second National Championship in school history.
He never averaged over double-digits in his career but impacted the game in another way. In his senior season, Williams dished out 162 assist, which ranks No. 4 all-time.
His 482 career assist also ranks No. 4 all-time. His 12 assist against Brigham Young in 88’ still ranks amongst the best in single-game assist of all-time.
Keith ended his career with 1,036 points and a share of the record books.
Jerry King was a 6’5’’ shooting guard that went down for his offensive ability.
Over his career at Louisville he averaged 14.4 points and scored 1,189 points in three years. He was also a good rebounder pulling down an average of 5.6 over his career, not to mention he pulled down 469 rebounds from the guard position.
King is one of the many players to grab some of Louisville’s history and will forever be remembered for his offensive abilities.
Alvin Sims was one of the better dunkers in Louisville history.
In his career at Louisville he was able to throw down 123 dunks which ranks second all-time behind the All-American Pervis Ellison.
Sims doesn’t only dunk he was also assertive on the defensive end. His nine steals against Va. C’Wealth ranks among the best for most steals in a game, all-time. Not to mention, his 83 steals after the 95-96 season still ranks No. 3 all-time.
Sims ended his career with 1,057 points and 217 steals.
Ricky Gallon drew the most attention not only because of his hair but most players wanted to challenge him in the paint. Gallon made sure he protected the paint and made sure everything was hard for the opposition.
In his career he blocked 159 shots, which ranks among the best of all-time.
Gallon also got on the glass pretty well. In his career he grabbed 777 rebounds which average out to 6.6 in his career.
Gallon finished his Louisville career with 1,355 points and a taste of this Louisville record book.
Larry Williams was a good player in Louisville history. In his time he was fighting to keep the grace in Louisville, but right after he left the program won the National Championship.
He could score and rebounds, the two qualities you needed back in his time. He snatched down 7.6 rebounds in his career to go along with his 11.4 points.
After giving his all to this program he ended up scoring 1,293 points and 855 rebounds.
Jerry Smith is one of the better defensive guards in Louisville history. He could knuckle up on the oppositions hot-hand and sometimes hold them well under their average. His 177 steals is among the best for most steals all-time.
To go along with his defense, he was equipped with a nice three point stroke. He ended his career with 210 three pointers, which ranks amongst the top of all-time.
Smith was just a guard you needed around your program for all four years.
Smith ended his career with 1,203 points, and his share of NCAA Tournament runs.
G - DeJuan Wheat
G - Darrell Griffith
G - Milt Wagner
F - Charlie Tyra
C - Wes Unseld
G - LaBradford Smith
G - Butch Davis
G - Derek Smith
F - Rodney McCray
F - Billy Thompson