The 100 Greatest Basketball Players in SEC History, Part I
Let's get this out of the way right now. This is impossible to determine. There is no way to compare players from the 40s to guys who play now. The game has gone through too many drastic changes. The top 100 players in SEC history have probably all played within the last 40 years. Well, except for maybe Pete Maravich.
This list is going to be compiled by going to individual teams and taking the great players in that team's history. Of course the 10 greatest in Kentucky history are probably better than the 10 best in Ole Miss history, but it is probably fairly close. Where UK beats the other schools are players 11-1000.
So what I have done is tried to come up with the top 10 or so players from each school other than Arkansas and South Carolina because they haven't been around long enough. Some schools I had trouble coming up with 10 so I will fill in the blanks with extra UK and UF players because there were a lot of those.
I am going to do this in two parts. First I will do the SEC West and then later the SEC East. Since the East has UK the West may not quite have 50 players but there will be 100 when added together.
I'm sure many of you will call me all kinds of names over this list but here goes.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Here are the 10 greatest players to lace them up for the Tide.
Bob Andrews: Drafted by the Lakers in the 11th round in 1965.
Latrell Sprewell: Drafted in the first round by Golden State. Named to four NBA All Star games. Led Tide to two Sweet Sixteens and three SEC Tournament Wins.
Jerry Harper: Drafted by the New York Knicks in the third round in 1956. All SEC three times.
Leon Douglas: Drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the first round in 1976 (fourth overall). All SEC four times.
T.R. Dunn: Drafted second round by Portland Trail Blazers in 1977. Went on to play 14 seasons in the NBA.
Wendell Hudson: Former All American. Drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bulls in 1973.
Derrick McKey: Drafted in the first round by the Seattle SuperSonics. Played 15 seasons in the NBA. Led Tide to the Sweet Sixteen in 1987.
Robert Horry: Member of seven NBA Champions. Earned the nickname "Big Shot Bob" for his many clutch shots in the playoffs. Teammate of Sprewell on the Tide's three SEC Tournament Championship teams and two Sweet Sixteen teams of the late 80s.
Antonio McDyess: Drafted in the first round by the Los Angeles Clippers (second overall). Has been in the NBA for 15 seasons.
Jim Farmer: Drafted in the first round by the Dallas Mavericks in 1987. Member of the Sweet Sixteen team.
Here are the greatest Auburn basketball players of all time. Don't look for any of the current Tigers to be here.
1 Charles Barkley: One of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players at their 50th anniversary. Chuck was a rebounding machine. Nicknamed "the Round Mound of Rebound", he led Auburn to rare appearances in the SEC Tournament finals and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 1984.
2. Chuck Person: The Rifleman, known for his deadly outside shooting led AU to the SEC Tournament Championship in 1985. They were the first SEC team to win four games in four days at the SEC Tournament. He was the No. 4 pick in the draft by the Pacers in 1986.
3. Rex Frederick: Averaged 14.3 rebounds per game and is the all time leader for Auburn in that category. He also holds Auburn's top two single season rebound totals with 325 in 1958 and 322 in 1957. Also holds the single game rebounding record with 27.
4. John Mengelt: He hung 60 points on arch rival Alabama on February 14, 1970. This Valentine's Day Massacre is a school record. "Crash" also played for 10 seasons in the NBA and scored over 6,000 career points.
5. The fifth Tiger to have his jersey retired is Chuck's little brother Wesley Person. Person played 11 seasons in the NBA and scored over 8,000 career points.
6. Chris Porter: Named SEC Player of the Year in his junior season, Porter led the Tigers to a Sweet Sixteen berth in 1999. His career ended badly though. He was suspended for taking money from an agent in his senior season. But still a great player and should be recognized.
7. Mike Mitchell: Drafted by the Cavs in the first round in 1978, Mitchell was the only man to lead the Spurs in scoring for a season while George Gervin was with them. He played for 12 seasons and scored over 15,000 points. He also averaged 20 points per game in his career.
The Arkansas list is not as long because they have not been in the SEC as long as the other teams. But in the early 90s the Hogs were a beast. They went to Final Fours and won the 1994 National Championship. Three standout players from those teams were:
1. Todd Day: a four-year letterman ('89,'90,'91 and '92). At Arkansas, Day broke Sidney Moncrief's career mark for scoring with 2,395 points during his four-year career. Day was a member of the All-Southwest Conference Newcomer Team as a freshman, a member of the Arkansas unit that reached the NCAA Final Four as a sophomore and a John Wooden First-Team All-America selection as both a junior and senior.
In his final college season, he powered the Razorbacks to the Southeastern Conference title in the school's first season in the league. His scoring average (22.7 ppg) was the third highest in school history. (Wikipedia)
2. Scottie Thurman: Hit the biggest shot in Arkansas history when he hit a high-arching three with :53 left in the 1994 National Championship win over Duke. He also helped lead the Hogs back the the National Title Game the next season.
3. Corliss Williamson: Played at Arkansas for three years and was All-SEC in all three. Finished his career with over 1,700 points and played in two NCAA Final Fours. The Hogs won the National Title in his sophomore year and lost in the Championship Game his junior year.
LSU is one of the more storied programs in the SEC. They boast of the No. 1 greatest player in SEC history and also perhaps the No. 2 player. And some might argue they also have the No. 3 player as well.
1. Pete Maravich: The greatest player in SEC history. And there is no argument here. Even the most die hard Kentucky fan will agree on this one.
Pistol Pete changed the game. He brought no look passes and crazy looking layups into the game. He could also fill it up. Had there been a three-point shot in his day, he may have scored 100 points in a game. His stats are unbelievable. Still the NCAA's all time leading scorer, he averaged 44.2 points per game. John Havlicek called him the "greatest ball handler of all time."
2. Shaquille O'Neal: In Shaq's two years at LSU he was so dominant that he was routinely triple teamed. That's right, triple teamed. I don't know how LSU ever lost a game. He was so frustrated by this he jumped to the NBA after his sophomore year because at that time the NBA did not allow zone defenses. He was the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Orlando Magic and led the fledgling franchise into prominence.
After four years and an Eastern Conference Championship, he signed with the Lakers where he teamed with a young Kobe Bryant to win three NBA titles. He then left L.A. to team up with a young Dwayne Wade to bring a title to Miami. He is currently the oldest player in the NBA.
3. Chris Jackson