The 100 Greatest Players in SEC History Part III

Jim FolsomContributorFebruary 25, 2011

The 100 Greatest Players in SEC History Part III

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    OK people. Here it is. The final installment of the 100 Greatest SEC players. Here are the links to the first two for you newbies.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/548811-the-100-greatest-players-in-sec-history-part-i

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/588107-100-greatest-basketball-players-in-sec-history-part-ii

    Now as you may have noticed, I went over 100. I just couldn't seem to narrow it down. I probably left off some guys you will rip for not including and I would probably agree with you.

    With that in mind, maybe some of you could start a removal list and we can work on getting it to 100.

    I will start the ball rolling and kick off a guy who is one of my favorite all-time Orlando Magic players, Jeff Turner. OK there's one.

Georgia Bulldogs

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    Here are the ten greatest players in Georgia Bulldogs history:

    1. Dominique Wilkins: The Human Highlight Film as he was dubbed was most definitely Georgia's greatest player. He averaged 21.6 points-per-game and was named SEC Player of the Year in 1981. He went on to become an NBA Superstar, leading the Atlanta Hawks to several playoff appearances. Had he had a Scottie Pippen to go with him, he may have been in the conversation with Michael Jordan for Greatest Player of all time.

    2. Sundiata Gaines: Gaines was a pretty good ball player in his career at UGA, but he earned his reputation in one fantastic weekend for the Dawgs in 2008. A six-seed with a losing record, Georgia ran the table at the SEC Tournament to gain the NCAA automatic bid. In that tournament, most of which was held at Georgia Tech because a tornado hit the Georgia Dome during the first round, UGA had to win two games in one day. Led by Gaines, the Tournament MVP, the Dawgs were able to win four-straight elimination games to get the bid.

    3. Bob Lienhard: Georgia's all-time leading rebounder with 1,116. He also holds the single season UGA rebounding record with 396. He also holds the single-game record with 32.

    4. Vern Fleming: Left school as the Dawgs all-time leading scorer. Went on to a fine 12-year NBA career with the Indiana Pacers.

    5. Willie Anderson: Anderson left Georgia and was named to the 1988 US Olympic Team. He earned a bronze medal in those games. he was then drafted by the Spurs and made the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1989. He played with the Spurs until 1995.

    6. Litterial Green: Georgia's all-time leading scorer with 2,111 points. Drafted in the second round of the 1992 NBA Draft by the Bulls. He went on to play three seasons with the Orlando Magic.

    7. Alec Kessler: Played with UGA from 1987-1990. Became the all-time leader with 549 made free throws in his career. He left school as UGA's all-time leading scorer with 1788 points.

    8. Shandon Anderson: Willie's younger brother. Went on to win an NBA ring with Miami in 2006. He was drafted in the second round of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Jazz. His best season was with the Rockets in 2000 when he averaged 12 points per game.

    9. Jarvis Hayes: A two-time First Team All SEC Selection, Hayes led the SEC in scoring in 2002. He played in the NBA until 2010, most recently with the Nets.

    10. Travis Leslie: A current UGA player who will likely get a look by the NBA. He is a great athlete with a lot of upside. If he gets his jump shot a bit more consistent he could be a great one.

Tennessee Volunteers

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    Here are the ten greatest players in Tennessee basketball history: Thanks to Big Vol Daddy for your assistance.

    1. Bernard King: A four time NBA  All-Star (1982, 1984, 1985, 1991), he was a two time All-NBA First Team (1984, 1985). finished career with 19,655 points, 5,060 rebounds, and 874 games played. He is one of two Vols to have his jersey retired. The other is Ernie Grunfeld.

    2. Ernie Grunfeld: The other half of "The Ernie and Bernie Show", Grunfeld left UT as the school's all-time leading scorer with 2, 249 points. He went on to play nine years in the NBA and is currently the GM of the Washington Wizards.

    3. Allen Houston: A two-time NBA All-Star (2000, 2001), won the gold medal in the Olympic Games at Sydney. finished career with 14,551 points, and 839 games played. He left school as UT's all time leading scorer.

    4. Chris Lofton: In the 2006-07 season Lofton led the conference in scoring, with 20.8 points-per-game, and was named the SEC Player of the Year. On December 19, 2007, Lofton passed Houston to become first on Tennessee's list for most three point field goals made.

    5 Dale Ellis: Won the NBA's most improved player Award in 1987, An NBA All-Star (1988). finished career with 19,004 points, 4,201 rebounds and 1,209 games played.

    6. Wayne Chism: UT's all-time winningest player. He led the school to its first Elite Eight appearance last year when he averaged 13 points and seven rebounds per game.

    7. Dyron Nix: Nix averaged 21 points-per-game in his senior season and was selected in the second round of the 1989 NBA Draft.

    8. C J Watson: His best season came during his senior year where he averaged 15.3 points, 3.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds. He earned Second Team All-SEC honors.

    9. Tom Boehrwinkle:  Played for the Bulls, On January 8, 1970, Grabbed a Bulls record 37 rebounds.

    10. Scotty Hopson: Currently averaging over 16 points-per-game for the Vols, was also a key player in the Vol's most successful NCAA run last year

Florida Gators

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    Here are the greatest players in Florida history:

    1. Corey Brewer: In my mind, the greatest player in UF history. He was the do-everything guy on two National Championship teams. He was a lock down defender (ask Aaron Afflalo), he could shoot the three or take it to the hole. He was names the Most Outstanding Player of the 2007 NCAA Final Four. He recorded the first triple-double in Gator history.

    2. Al Horford: If Brewer is the Greatest player in Gator history, Al Horford and Joakim Noah run a very close second. A bit undersized at center, Horford made up for this with a nice mid-range jumper. He used this to lure Greg Oden out from under the basket in the NCAA Championship Game in 2007 so that Noah and Chris Richard could score on offensive rebounds. He ended his Gator career with over 1000 points along with four of his teammates from that year.

    3. Joakim Noah: The heart and soul of the two National Championship teams at Florida, Noah could also play a little ball. He was a fiery competitor and loved to rile up the opponents fans with his chest thumping and yelling. But the man was also a monster on the boards and broke the record for blocked shots in a title game...in the first half! He was named MOP of the 2006 Final Four.

    4. Taurean Green: Ran the point to perfection and could also knock down a jumper. His teammates all ended up scoring over 1000 points so he made sure they all got their shots. Green himself scored over 1000 points too, this despite not playing much his freshman year.

    5: Lee Humphrey: A deadly accurate three point shooter, Humphrey holds the NCAA Tournament record for three pointers. Nowhere was he better than at the Final Four. He broke open tight games in the early second half with three point barrages that sent teams home in tears. Ask George Mason fans about Lee Humphrey. Or UCLA or Ohio State fans for that matter. He was the best three point shooter I've ever seen.

    6. Neal Walk: One of the best college players in the country in the late 1960's, Walk averaged 20.8 points and 15.3 rebounds during his career. As a junior in 1968, he became the school's first ever All-America player when he was named to the second team. That year, he led the nation in rebounding with 19.8 per game (494 rebounds in 25 games) and finished tenth in scoring with 26.5 points per game as the Gators had a record of 15-10. In 1969, his senior year, he was the only major college player in the nation to rank in the Top Ten in both scoring and rebounding as Florida had a record of 18-9. A three-time All-SEC (Southeast Conference) selection, Walk set 22 school records during his career. He is still UF's only retired jersey.

    7: Mike Miller: Miller was Billy Donovan's first big recruit. He was brought in from Mitchell, South Dakotah and Kansas was none too pleased. Miller led the Gators to the Sweet Sixteen in his freshmen year, narrowly missing the Elite Eight with a one point loss to Gonzaga. In his sophomore year of 2000, he hit a buzzer-beater to beat Butler in the first round of the NCAAs, and UF parlayed it into a run to the Final Four where they eventually lost to Michigan State in the Title Game.

    8: Udonis Haslem: Along with Miller was in Donovan's first big recruiting class. He also played a significant role in the Gators '99 and '00 Tournament runs. Haslem stayed at UF for four years and became the school's no. 3 all-time scorer with 1782 points. He became the first gator to play in four NCAA Tournaments.

    9: Matt Bonner: Bonner played for Florida for four years and scored 1570 and grabbed 778 rebounds. A big who can shoot the three, he has made a nice living in the NBA where he has a Championship ring won in 2007 with the Spurs.

    10: David Lee: Lee led the Gators to the school's first ever SEC Tournament Championship in 2005. He was named  to the SEC All Freshman Team his first year and second team All-SEC his junior year. He was drafted in the first round of the '05 draft by the Knicks. He is currently with Golden State.

    11: Andrew DeClerq: The star center on the Gators first Final Four Team in 1994, DeClerq went on to play for ten NBA seasons with several teams.

    12: Chandler Parsons: A fourth year Gator who is currently a favorite of the Rowdy Reptiles and may win this year's SEC Player of the Year award. Parsons came in as a freshman to a team depleted by the early exits of the junior class of '04 and graduation of Chris Richard and Lee Humphrey. He was part of a no. 1 rated recruiting class in '07 that included Alex Tyus, Adam Allen and Nick Calathes. Calathes bolted after two years to play in Europe and Allen sustained several knee injuries and was not able to play much. Parsons then took over as the star. He does it all. He scores, rebounds, and dishes with the best.

Kentucky Wildcats

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    Here is where it really gets tough. How do you narrow Kentucky down? I can think of 25 great ones off the top of my head. Oh well, here goes.

    1. Dan Issel: scored 2138 points in his UK career. Issel has UK's second highest single game total of 53 points. He is a basketball Hall of Fame inductee after a stellar NBA career with the Denver Nuggets and ABA career with the Kentucky Colonels.

    2. Pat Riley: You may have heard of him. An All-American on the 1966 NCAA runner-up team, I think he went on to play and coach some pro ball. Won some titles and now he's retired in South Beach? I'm not sure Riley has enough fingers for all of his Championship Rings.

    3. Cliff Hagan: One of UK's first super stars, Hagan once scored 51 points in a game. He was drafted by the Celtics who later traded him to the Hawks with Ed Macauley for the draft rights to a guy you might remember, Bill Russell. In fact, the Hawks beat the Celtics for the NBA Championship in 1957 before the Celtics went on their 11 titles in 13 years run. Hagan was a five time NBA All Star as the Hawks won five Western Conference Titles in the late 50s and early 60s.

    4. Frank Ramsey: One of Hagan's running mates, he was also drafted that same time by the Celtics. He stayed with them for nine years and walked away with seven NBA rings. Ramsey and Hagan also won the 1951 NCAA Tournament and were unbeaten in 1953.

    5. Louie Dampier; a teammate of Riley's on the '66 team known as Rupp's Runts, Dampier was a two-time All-American and three-time All SEC player in his three seasons. He then played all nine of the ABA's seasons with the Colonels and after the merger with the NBA in 1976, played three season with the Spurs. If the ABA can be credited with giving us the three pointer, then Dampier should get most of the credit. He hit over 500 of them for the Colonels in a three year stretch including 199 in 1968-69.

    6. Kevin Grevey: a two time All American and three time All SEC player, Grevey led the Cats to the 1975 NCAA Championship Game where they lost to UCLA in John Wooden's final game. He scored 34 points and was named to the All Final Four team. Grevey teamed with Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes to win the 1978 NBA Championship with the Washington Bullets. The Bullets made it back to the Finals in 1979 where they lost to the team they beat in 1978, the Seattle Sonics.

    7. Jack Givens: He scored 2038 points in his Kentucky career including 41 in the 1978 NCAA Championship Game victory over Duke. He was named the MOP for the Final Four, his second Final Four appearance in his four years at UK.

    8. Rick Robey: Givens' running mate on the 1975-78 teams, Robey chipped in 20 points and 11 rebounds in the Duke game and later became the third pick in the NBA Draft. He went on the play eight seasons in the NBA mostly with the Celtics where he was one the 1981 World Championship team.

    9. Kenny Walker: "Sky" Walker a two time All American and a four time All Sec player, Walker led the Cats to the 1984 NCAA Final Four. He later went on to the NBA where he won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1989.

    10. Jamal Mashburn: In only three years became the fourth-leading scorer in UK history. He was named First Team Alll American after his junior year and declared for the draft afterward. He averaged over 19 points per game in his 12 year NBA career.

    11. Tayshaun Prince: Two Time All SEC including SEC Player of the Year in 2001, Prince has gone on to a very successful NBA career with the Pistons. He was a key play in the Pistons 2004 NBA Championship run.

    12. Keith Bogans: A four-year starter at UK, he was a member of the 2003 Cats squad that went 16-0 in the SEC and then won the SEC Tournament. They went al the way to the Elite Eight before being knocked out by Dwayne Wade and Marquette.

    13. Chuck Hayes: Bogans running mate on the '03 he finished his UK career seventh all time in rebounds, eighth in steals and ninth in blocked shots. He is also tied for first all time with 110 consecutive starts.

    14. Jodie Meeks: A prolific shooter, Meeks holds the single game scoring mark with 54 against Tennessee in the Thompson Bowling Arena on a nationally televised game on ESPN in 2007.

    15. John Wall: He only played at UK for one year, but what a year it was. He was the best player in college basketball as a true freshman running the point for a UK team that went 35-3 while winning the SEC regular season and Tournament Titles while advancing to the Elite Eight. He was then the number one pick in the NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards and is currently starting at point guard for them.