Best College Basketball Players Who Never Made It in the NBA

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIJuly 24, 2012

Best College Basketball Players Who Never Made It in the NBA

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    Success in college doesn't always translate over into success as a pro.

    These college players were among the best in the country in college, but they couldn't bring their games to the next level, and had poor NBA careers.

    Some players simply peak in college, and these guys were among the players to do so.

    The very different styles allow some players to enter the ranks of the lite after poor college careers, and shun some college stars.

    These are those college stars.

Honorable Mentions

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    Wayne Simien

    Hasheem Thabeet

    Scottie Reynolds

    Mateen Cleaves

    Think you know another honorable mention? List them in the comments section below and the best will be added.

Greg Oden

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    Remember Greg Oden? He's the seven-footer from Ohio State who was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2007 NBA Draft ahead of Kevin Durant.

    He might also be the worst pick the Portland Trail Blazers have ever made.

    Oden has struggled with injuries during his entire career. He missed his first season in the league. Then he played 82 games over his second and third seasons with Portland before missing the last two seasons.

    All in all, he's averaging 16.4 games per season, playing just 20 percent of games. That's less than half of Shaq's free-throw percentage.

Christian Laettner

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    Christian Laettner wasn't just good in college, he was one of the best players in college history.

    He also didn't live up to expectations in the NBA.

    After being selected to the 1992 Dream Team right out of college, he was the clear weak link. That might have shaken his confidence, as he struggled throughout his NBA career.

    Laettner started off pretty well and averaged 12.8 points per game over his career, but other than that, he didn't do much.

    The Minnesota Timberwolves thought they had drafted a Hall of Famer (after all, he beat out Shaq for a spot on the Dream Team), but he did not live up to the hype.

    He's also the only player who made the Dream Team who isn't in the Hall of Fame.

Steve Alford

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    Steve Alford was a highly-touted recruit after winning the Mr. Basketball award for the state of Indiana during his senior season of high school.

    He then came to Indiana University as a homegrown prospect who averaged an impressive 18.5 points per game during his time as a Hoosier.

    When he entered the NBA draft he was a top prospect, and the Indiana Pacers felt pressure to draft him 11th overall. However, they decided to take a kid named Reggie Miller instead, which turned out to be the right decision.

    Alford never developed into an NBA player, and he averaged just 4.4 points per game over his professional career. And as you might know, Miller had a pretty good career.

Pervis Ellison

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    Pervis Ellison was a stud from his freshman year in college. He helped lead Louisville to the 1986 NCAA championship, including dropping 25 points and 11 rebounds in the final game.

    Three years later he was drafted first overall in the 1989 NBA draft, but he never lived up to that honor.

    While he did have two good seasons during the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons, his combination of poor play and knee injuries kept him from becoming a star, as he averaged 5.1 points per game in every other season.

    His knee injuries killed him, which is a big part of why he struggled in The Association.

Jay Williams

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    Jay Williams was a star at Duke during his three seasons with the Blue Devils, helping the Blue Devils to quite a bit of success.

    During his final two seasons, he averaged 21.5 points, 5.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.

    Williams was drafted second overall in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls, and the team had a high hopes for their new guard.

    However, a tragic motorcycle accident cut his career short after just one season in the league. He had a lot of potential, but he ended up being too injured to ever play in the NBA again.

Tyler Hansbrough

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    Tyler Hansbrough was a great college player. He dominated the paint and was crucial to North Carolina's 2009 National Championship.

    He averaged an incredible 20.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game over his four-year college career. He was a star at UNC, but that ended once his time as a Tar Heel ended.

    He is struggling in the NBA, and while he has improved in recent years, he is still averaging less than 10 points and five rebounds per game.

    Hansbrough was supposed to do much better in the NBA after being a lottery pick in 2009.

Shane Battier

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    Duke forward Shane Battier was a star during his last two years at Duke, including when he averaged 19.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a senior.

    But it all ended there.

    Once he went to the NBA he had a good rookie season, but after that he never averaged more than 10.1 points per game and has become a minimal role player.

    Sure, he won an NBA Championship with the Miami Heat this year, but that's been the highlight of his NBA career.

Danny Ferry

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    The versatile 6'10" forward enjoyed a great college career, improving every year until he averaged 20.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game over his last two seasons.

    Ferry was a highly touted recruit as a McDonald's All-American before being named an All-American twice in college and winning the National Player of the Year honors as a senior.

    However, Ferry's run of excellence ended with that award, as he struggled in the NBA. In 13 seasons he averaged double-digit points per game only once, and he was never a major factor in terms of rebounds or assists.

    Ferry just didn't have a game that was suited for the NBA, and he couldn't find a way to transfer his skills from one level to the next.

Michael Olowokandi

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    Michael Olowokandi looked like he could be a star coming out of college. He struggled in his first year before putting up modest numbers as a sophomore.

    However, he was able to leave college early and enter the NBA draft after blowing up as a junior, averaging 22.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.

    That's where his career essentially ended.

    He had two good seasons as a scoring in nine seasons as a pro. While he was a good rebounder who averaged over 6.5 boards per game over his career, that was all he was as a pro after being a stud in college.

Marcus Fizer

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    Marcus Fizer played well in college with Iowa State, averaging 18.9 points per game over his career. However, during his junior season he became a star, averaging 22.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

    After being the fourth overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft he was supposed to be a star as a pro.

    That didn't work out.

    He played just six seasons in the NBA, the last of which was spent almost entirely in the D-League.

    Fizer had a very short career due to a combination of injuries and a lack of productivity.

Ed O'Bannon

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    Ed O'Bannon was a star in college, and while most fans don't know who he is, UCLA fans will surely know who he is.

    O'Bannon suffered a knee injury in college that looked like it would end his hopes of being a professional basketball player. However, he made an incredible comeback, and averaged 20.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

    This showing proved that he wasn't done just yet, and he was picked ninth overall in the 1995 NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets, who hoped that he could help them make the playoffs the next season.

    However after just two seasons, O'Bannon's knee injury came back to haunt him, and his career nose-dived.

J.J. Redick

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    J.J. Redick was one of the best players in Duke basketball history, and he was one of the kings of the college basketball world at the time.

    However, since breaking Duke's all-time scoring record and just about every record involving points, free throws and three pointers, he's struggled in the NBA.

    In his six years in the NBA, he's averaging just over eight points per game, which is a far cry from his 26.8 points per game as a senior at Duke. He hasn't been nearly as dominant a force, and he has disappeared since being taken No. 11 overall in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic.

Adam Morrison

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    Adam Morrison was the other king of the college basketball world at the same time as J.J. Redick

    He averaged over 28 points per game as a junior at Gonzaga before foregoing his final year to enter the NBA draft.

    Morrison was taken third overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2006 NBA draft, but he hasn't played like a lottery pick...or even someone who was drafted.

    His 7.5 points per game in his career, and not playing at all in the last two seasons has made him essentially useless. He hasn't been able to live up to being drafted ahead of Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo.